Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Albert Brooks

The NY Times had an interview with Albert Brooks on Sunday to promote his recurring role on the new season of "Weeds" on Showtime. In it, Brooks laments the fact that he doesn't get called to do more movie roles, but says he's working on a new idea for himself.

I'm a longtime fan of Brooks, from his "Comedy Minus One" standup album to the movies he wrote and directed -- I may have seen his comedy "Modern Romance" more than any other movie in my life, and still can't walk past a roulette wheel in the casino without thinking of Julie Haggerty chanting "22, 22, 22" in "Lost In America" -- to his acting in other people's projects, like "Broadcast News."

I look forward to seeing him work again, which is why I was so disappointed in his last movie, "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World." After seeing a screening last year, I immediately called my friend Mark Evanier (also a Brooks fan) to tell him how depressed I was at seeing an Albert Brooks comedy that contained exactly zero laughs.

Here's a happier, and much funnier memory from Brooks' career.

When he did "The Tonight Show," he always brought something original to do from the guest chair (rather than in the center-stage standup spot). In this clip from 1983, Brooks shows off his new method for doing impressions of such celebrities as Burt Lancaster, Clark Gable, and Curly Howard. What makes this even better is Johnny Carson's reaction. He's not just playing along, he's enjoying the hell out of Brooks, even to the point of falling out of his chair with laughter...