'Whatever is happening in society will be represented by the comedians': Remembering Carl Reiner

  • Carl Reiner died of natural causes on Monday at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 98.

    Carl Reiner died of natural causes on Monday at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 98. Associated Press, 1977

 
Daily Herald staff report
Updated 6/30/2020 2:24 PM

Back in 1979, Daily Herald film critic Dann Gire participated in a news conference with Carl Reiner and Steve Martin.

The event -- to promote the release of the movie "The Jerk," Reiner's first movie directing Steve Martin -- was transmitted by satellite from California to reporters in Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Dallas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Gire got to ask one question: "Where is comedy going now?"

Reiner's answer resonates more than 40 years later.

"You have to look at the times," said Reiner, who died this week at age 98. "Whatever is happening in society will be represented by the comedians. If we are in a repressive society, there will be a certain kind of comedy. If we are in a depression, we will have another kind of comedy. Right now when the situation is really, really bad, then comedy is king. We need our jesters to say, 'Hey it's all right. We're going to make it.' Comedians are commentators who point to the emperor wearing no clothes, or the fact that people are starving. They do it their way, and they do it in such a way as to not be arrested. A lot of activists carry banners and march and throw stones. Comedians have that social sense, but they are cowards. They use their mouths, their angularity of looking at things and they say things."

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