One of the True Greats is Gone: Sid Caesar dies at 91


Comedic great Sid Caesar passed away yesterday at the age of 91.  If you have never seen his comedy, you missed out on a brilliance that was truly dazzling.  A talented musician and gifted performer, Caesar mixed highly intellectual comedy with an incredible ability to pantomime, act, and draw laughter on virtually every subject he expounded upon.  He worked with the all-time comedic giants, including close friends Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Nannette Fabray, Steve Allen, Howie Morris, and just about anyone you can name from the early and classic days of live comedy television.  His Your Show of Shows was a 90 minute sketch comedy show that is as funny sixty years after its broadcast as it was when first aired.  His award-winning comedy sketch, which is a close-up of his face (and in which he does not utter a single word) as his wife (the beautiful Nannette Fabray) comes home from a shopping trip and explains the great bargains she has gotten on her dresses and minks, ends with a tear running down his cheek.  He was admired and emulated by virtually every comedic actor of note that followed him.

The Dick van Dyke Show, a situation comedy from the 1960s which starred Carl Reiner as the acerbic star of the fictitious Alan Brady Show, was based on Caesar’s talented group of comedy writers from Your Show of Shows, with Alan Brady loosely parodying Caesar’s own personality.

Caesar starred on Broadway and had dozens of movies to his credit, none more memorable than his starring role in Stanley Kramer’s 1963 comedy epic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad. Mad World.   He was a Coast Guard Veteran of World War II, and the son of Jewish (Polish and Russian) immigrants, who got his performing start as a saxophonist in the Catskills.

He and his brand of intellectual humor will be missed.   So long, Melville Crump, DDS.


Filed under Around the web, girls, history, Humor, Personal, Uncategorized, veterans, war

2 responses to “One of the True Greats is Gone: Sid Caesar dies at 91

  1. He was a major star in the firmament of comedy, during it’s golden age. Sid Caesar was not only funny himself, he could teach others to be funny. He taught Carol Burnett how to be funny, for which he will always be blessed. He produced humor that we could relate to, and did not need to ” work blue ” as they used to say. Ninety percent of today’s comedy is blue as can be, either smarmily implied, or very overt. As a result, it isn’t very funny to anyone other than an adolescent, or one with adolescent tastes. The school of humor he developed, with Carl Reiner, gave us shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Bob Newhart Show, all heavily influenced by Caesar. There are no shows like those today. Look at what we are offered, the likes of Two and a Half Men, and Two Broke Girls. Half hour smarmathons. We will not see his like again.


  2. someoldguy

    I vividly remember Caesar’s skits with Imogene Coca on Your Show of Shows. They were so funny that the memory of Coca’s incredibly expressive face alone can crack me up after sixty years. Caesar could do facial comedy very well indeed but Coca was the real expert.

    Of course Sid Caesar understood the essentials of verbal comedy as well – timing and delivery with material decidedly third place. Although the material was never lacking one wonders what one of today’s ‘comedians’ would do with it other than embarrass himself.