09.17.09

Henry Gibson 1936-2009: In His Case, I Loved Illinois Nazis

Posted in The World Of Entertainment at 12:04 am by

[Gibson, offering the sort of Knute Rockne moment any number of teams could use.]

The truly subversive comedian is the rarest sort of funny.  Anyone can tell a political joke.  Anyone can tear down the rich and famous.  Audiences talk about “taking chances,” or how “edgy” such comics are,  forgetting it’s the comic’s Constitutional right to do it “ and there’s, too.  The truly subversive comic actor never lets you know they’re doing it.  Henry Gibson was one of those.  Gibson died today, 73.  Whether delivering his straight-faced beat poetry on Laugh-In, playing right-wing old school country star Haven Hamilton in Nashville,  a neo-Nazi in The Blues Brothers, or the nasty drunk ridiculing William H. Macy in Magnolia, Gibson was hilariously unsettling.  Check out the Nashville link, which someone posted on Youtube as if Gibson (who wrote the Haven Hamilton songs) meant it.  Gibson held everything back, giving his characters a puffed up, petty smugness, perfectly offset by his height and deluded sense of grandeur.  When directors knew how to get it out of him, he walks away with some pretty big movies.  As for the above clip, well, this is a sports blog, and while it might not say much that he walked away with an episode of Wonder Woman … well, of course he did.

3 Responses to “Henry Gibson 1936-2009: In His Case, I Loved Illinois Nazis”

  1. David Roth says:

    Great, strange voice performance as Adolf Eichmann in Keith Gordon’s adaptation of “Mother Night,” too. What a weird, impressive career that guy had.

  2. hoopinion says:

    As great as he was in Nasvhille, I think his brief, creepy turn in The Long Goodbye was even better.

  3. Ben Schwartz says:

    I said: “Audiences talk about ‘taking chances,’ or how ‘edgy’ such comics are, forgetting it’s the comic’s Constitutional right to do it – and there’s, too. ” I meant, and “their’s, too” as in the audience’s right to denounce people.

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