Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Never The Twain

Wil Ferrell's a reasonably funny guy who's had a pretty successful career, but does he deserve the Mark Twain Prize for American humor? Like Tina Fey last year, maybe they should wait another couple decades with so many more deserving in front of him.  (Or is the whole thing designed to create a TV show that younger people will watch?  Or is it based on availability, and Charlie Sheen was busy?)

Here are the previous winners:

1998 – Richard Pryor
1999 – Jonathan Winters
2000 – Carl Reiner
2001 – Whoopi Goldberg
2002 – Bob Newhart
2003 – Lily Tomlin
2004 – Lorne Michaels
2005 – Steve Martin
2006 – Neil Simon
2007 – Billy Crystal
2008 – George Carlin
2009 – Bill Cosby
2010 – Tina Fey

Except for Fey, all these people had lengthy careers (over half their lives) doing great and even cutting edge work and succeeding in different media.  Should Ferrell be getting this while, say, Woody Allen and Mel Brooks go empty-handed. (Okay, maybe Woody wouldn't show up, but Mel would be tough to get off the stage.)  How about Carol Burnett?  You want to go younger--i.e., not of retirement age--how about Jerry Seinfeld or Robin Williams?  You want to go with Ferrell's age group?  How about Ben Stiller or Louis C.K. or Chris Rock or Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who just conquered Broadway)?

Or how about something different, like a cartoonist, or a novelist?  Or New Vaudevillians (is that phrase still used?) like Bill Irwin or Penn and Teller?  Even among SNL people what would be wrong with Bill Murray or Eddie Murphy?

I understand they've got to pick somebody, and at least Ferrell has done good work. But maybe they should have thought about it a bit longer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's an every ten years thing.

2:51 PM, October 26, 2011  

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