|Ted Greenberg’s Top Five Taxi Entertainments
Categories: Taxi Cabs
Posted: December 6, 2011
by Ted Greenberg
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As the writer/performer of the only Off-Broadway comedy show with a free cab ride home, I’m often asked my opinion about the portrayal of taxi drivers and taxis in movies and on television. As a taxi cab driver, I, of course, have a strong opinion on the matter.
Here’s my list for my Top 5 Taxi Entertainments:
1) Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese’s 1976 dark film about a former Vietnam vet turned taxi driver (Robert De Niro in a groundbreaking role) inspired me to get my hack license in the 1980s. From the moment I saw this classic film, I was in awe of how the film captured Gotham’s haunting allure, especially the night scenes.
2) Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Pedro Almodovar’s zany 1988 film features one of the most outrageous taxis in the history of the world. With a whimsical cab interior that’s equal parts Liberace and Lady Gaga, I’m not sure why anyone would ever get out of this vehicle. Last year, a musical stage adaptation of the film opened on Broadway. My childhood friend and David Letterman co-writer David Yazbek wrote the show’s music and lyrics and received a Tony Award nomination for Outstanding Score. And, the production’s taxi driver (Danny Burstein) was as hilarious and riveting as Guillermo Montesinos was in the film.
3) Night on Earth – Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has great hair. Great white hair. The Mascot and I are NOT jealous. Not jealous at all. Mainly because he also makes really great films. His 1991 effort Night on Earth follows five cab drivers in five cities – New York, Paris, Helsinki, Los Angeles and Rome. While I wouldn’t mind having Beatrice Dalle as a passenger (she is fantastic as a blind Parisian), I’m a New Yorker at heart. Just like Jarmusch.
4) Taxi – Having been nominated twice for the Andy Kaufman Award, how can I not love the iconic TV show that starred the comic genius alongside Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Danny De Vito, Tony Danza and the late Jeff Conway?
5) Friends – On the famous comedy TV show, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) was bequeathed a yellow cab by her grandmother. The cab was featured in the show on occasion, including a visit to Phoebe’s mom in season 3. Her mom was played by the inimitable Teri Garr, who turned in comic gold performances in Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom and Tootsie and was a regular guest on the David Letterman show while I was a writer there. Here’s a video of Garr’s 1987 visit to Letterman:
What’s your favorite taxi featured in a film, TV show or play?
Tags: Andy Kaufman, Beatrice Dalle, Danny Burstein, Danny DeVito, David Letterman, David Yazbek, Friends, Guillermo Montesinos, Helsinki, Jeff Conway, Jim Jarmusch, Judd Hirsch, Lady Gaga, Liberace, Lisa Kudrow, Los Angeles, Marilu Henner, Martin Scorsese, Mascot Greenberg, Mr. Mom, New York City, Night on Earth, Paris, Robert De Niro, Rome, Taxi Driver, Teri Garr, The Andy Kaufman Award, Tony Danza, Tootsie, Top Five Taxi Entertainments, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Young Frankenstein