Steve Martin not wild, not crazy…

Brilliant reader MFA commented on the Steve Martin reference:

My daughter and I still mist up at the Steve Martin backyard basketball scene in “Father of the Bride”. Not taking away from the Spencer Tracy Elizabeth Taylor version.

Here’s the clip:

Argh, this is heartbreaking. Was there really a version of me who would once have seen this as overly sentimental? Because now I can barely see the screen thanks to the dust that just flew into my eyes. Parenting…what saps it turns us into.

Watching the middle-aged Martin play this character is fascinating to contrast with the young-man joke I analyzed in Episode One of the Restless Mind Show. (You’ll have to listen to the episode to hear which Steve Martin bit it was.) In the clip here there’s no bluster, no bravado…just a very human guy. Playing a dad.

Steve Martin’s own relationship with his father is agonizing – that part of his memoir alone is worth a read if you haven’t heard about it before. I don’t think it takes psychiatrist’s license to think that Martin’s Wild and Crazy Guy period was his way of blocking all that out. And when he set that persona aside and starting playing the teary-eyed dad, he must have had a deep well of longing to draw upon. A son’s wish for the father-son relationship he hadn’t had.

Powerful stuff coming from unexpected corners. Thanks for the tip, MFA!

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What’s the Greatest Joke Ever? Sneak Preview of an Exciting New Podcast!

Hello, friends! Just a quick note to let you know that The History of Literature podcast takes its regularly scheduled departure this week… and it’s such a departure, we’re calling it by a whole new name! (It’s a branding thing.)  In any event, it goes by the name of The Restless Mind Show and it will be available on Monday.

We’re using the same feed, so subscribers to The History of Literature will get this show automatically.

Why are we doing this? Don’t ask. It’s just how we’re doing it.

The first episode takes a look at different kinds of funny. What do Steve Martin, Will Ferrell, and Chief Wiggum have in common? Why  are they funny? Why was Kafka hysterical? We’ll take a look!