My Talk Show Heroes: The Late Show With David Letterman: Joe Pesci Talking About Goodfellas in 1994

Joe & Dave- Two All-American Guys
Joe & Dave- Two All-American Guys

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review Plus

Here you have a Hall of Fame comedy duo here in David Letterman. One of I believe the top five or so best late night talk show hosts of all-time and a hell of a standup comedian as well. And Joe Pesci, whose one of the best improvisational actors of all-time. Who can make serious characters look like comedians and make the funniest people you’ll ever see seem even funnier. Because again like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro to use as examples, he’s not only a great improvisational actor, but he has a great sense of humor as well. A great comedian who perhaps has never done standup comedy in his entire career other than giving awards speeches.

Dave and Joe, are talking about Goodfellas here. Which is one of my top 2 Italian Mafia movies of all-time. I go back and forth between Goodfellas and Casino. Donnie Brasco, is also one of my favorites. But Goodfellas is a movie that is not just based on a true story and about Italian mob families in New York, but if you talk to the real-life characters that these actors played, like Henry Hill the character that Ray Liotta played they would tell you that Goodfellas is a true story. And it was like seeing themselves in real-life in that movie. Joe Pesci, played mobster Tommy DeVito and he probably has the funniest part in that movie.

Joe Pesci, like Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Cary Grant, Burt Reynolds, are actors/comedians that don’t need scripts. At least to be funny they can turn their character into themselves and you tell them who the character is and what they’re doing in the movie and they’ll not only play it, but add their own flavor to the role and especially add a lot of their humor to the role. They can make simple lines and scenes look hysterical. De Niro, with his facial expressions and the way he delivers lines and perhaps adds his own material. Pesci, by taking a crazy, or funnier character and making that person look like the funniest and craziest person in the world.
My Talk Show Heroes: Late Night With David Letterman- Joe Pesci in 1994

Movie Clips Classic Trailer Vault: Lenny 1974: A Comedian Who Pushes The Limits of Free Speech

Lenny 1974
Lenny 1974

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Lenny Bruce, was a comedian who used humor to talk about everyday American life. And part of how Americans lives is how we interact with each other even in the most personal of ways. Including, marriage divorce, family and yes, even sex. All he did was talked about how Americans lived, but he did it in public. He said things in the public that right-wing culturally conservative establishment who perhaps thought we were a Middle Eastern fundamentalist country and not a Western liberal democracy, didn’t believe Americans should be allowed to hear or say.

As I mentioned yesterday had Lenny came out 10-20 years later, he probably never spends a day in jail for his act. At least outside of the Bible Belt. He actually had a significant criminal record as a thief and dealing with drugs, but when it came to his comedy act he was arrested for literally using adult language in public. Which is clearly unconstitutional under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. He wasn’t libeling people, he was inciting violence, he wasn’t calling for violence to come against anyone. Even the cops who arrested him for using adult language. He was simply using adult language in public as part of his comedy routine.

People tend to think of political correctness as censorship against language that may tend to offend certain groups of people. And that is true obviously, but political correctness in the 1950s and early 1960s was used against people who used language that lets say the most religiously conservative of Americans not only find offensive, but immoral. And when that language is used they believe the people who say those things should literally be arrested. Today political correctness is used against comedians and other commentators who say negative things even if they’re true against minority groups in America. Lenny Bruce was a victim of 1950s and 1960s right-wing political correctness fascism.