Saturday, October 16, 2010

Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame, The (1994) (TV)

Two hours of goodness from the same folks that brought us the First Annual Comedy Hall of Fame.

TV WEEKEND; Self-Mockery, Sincere Kind Of Flattery
Published: October 28, 1994

As award shows go, George Schlatter's "Comedy Hall of Fame" has the distinct advantage of not daring to take itself too seriously. Jonathan Winters, one of last year's inductees, insists the somewhat clunky-looking award makes a great doorstop. George Carlin, in this year's charmed circle, uneasily notes that the event is "the kind of thing comedians should make fun of." They do, albeit gently and sometimes sentimentally, on tomorrow's "Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame" on NBC.

Joining Mr. Carlin on the list of inductees are Sid Caesar, Bob Hope, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Pryor. The presenters include Brett Butler, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and Phil Hartman, formerly of "Saturday Night Live" but still doing his best-of-the-lot Clinton impersonation. Opening the show, Kelsey Grammer, who plays a psychiatrist on "Frasier," pointedly notes that "even a bad psychiatrist could make a fortune in this room."

There are odd couplings. Bob Newhart, for instance, gets to present Richard Pryor's award, as Robert Townsend wryly explains that "Bob and Richard grew up in the 'hood together." Mr. Newhart insists he was the obvious choice because he and Mr. Pryor "work so much alike." The show-stealing cup goes to wily Ms. MacLaine, who, to the tune of "If They Could See Me Now," sings a laugh-and-a-tear tribute to all the comics facing hecklers, getting old, watching young hotshots take over but, somehow, always managing to get the last laugh. That's the standing-ovation cue. The evening ends on a Catskills note with Milton Berle telling a Zsa Zsa joke. You were expecting Oscar Wilde? SECOND ANNUAL COMEDY HALL OF FAME NBC, tomorrow at 8 P.M. (Channel 4 in New York) Directed by Gary Halvorson. Written by Buz Kohan and George Schlatter. Christine Clark, associate director; Maria S. Schlatter, producer; Bob Keene, production designer. Produced by NBC Productions in association with Broadway Video. Gary Necessary, executive in charge of production; Mr. Schlatter, executive producer.

The Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame (1994) (TV)
Cast: Brett Butler, Red Buttons, Sid Caesar, George Carlin, Kelsey Grammer, Phil Hartman, Bob Hope, Jon Lovitz, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Paula Poundstone, Richard Pryor, Rob Reiner, Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers, Sharon Stone, Robert Townsend, Dick Van Dyke, Jonathan Winters

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