|The Funniest Mothers…
Posted: May 10, 2012
by Ted Greenberg
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The most important holiday on the calendar is this Sunday — Mother’s Day. Not to offend anyone of a particular religious persuasion — Christmas, Yom Kippur and so many other holidays are important, but we wouldn’t celebrate any of them if we hadn’t been born.
And when it comes to comedy, our mothers help us develop our senses of humor and laughter. From the time we are born, we follow our mothers’ cues, listening to their suggestions and watching their verbal and physical tics to understand the world. What is funny. What to eat. What to avoid (hot oven). Moms seriously get us to laugh, play and have fun.
Granted some mothers are funnier than others. Anne Meara, mother of Ben Stiller, is one of my favorites. Whether on TV shows Rhoda, The Paul Lynde Show, ALF or even Sex and The City as Steve’s mom, she always brings a heartbreaking sense of comedy — that fine line between sadness and humor. I absolutely loved her in the 1996 film The Daytrippers as the gung ho mom who helps her daughter spy on her supposedly cheating husband. A great film to watch with your mom on the special day.
I’d like to also give a shout out to Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy, and the late, great Lucille Ball for pulling double duty — entertaining the masses and being moms. Whoopi took home the Academy Award for her comic turn in the weepy movie Ghost, which has just opened as a musical on Broadway. She is also known for her comedy specials, hosting The View and for her eponymous TV show. She infuses her roles with verve and spontaneity. Who can forget when her Ghost character — Oda Mae Brown — must part with a very large check that she’s obtained with the help of Patrick Swayze’s dead character — a ghost who has come back to warn his fiancee she’s in danger? Whoopi uses every ounce of aching regret and pouts as she signs the large sum over to a group of nuns.
As a former Groundlings member, Melissa first came to my attention as the cook on Gilmore Girls. She was always a breath of fresh air on the the lovely, yet mannered Connecticut-set show. McCarthy, though, really proved her comic muscle in Bridesmaids, which was one of my favorite films of 2011. As the super butch friend, she stole many scenes and the videotape that rolls during the credits further solidifies her comic chops. Her comic foil in the film is her real life husband and father of her two children — Ben Falcome. It’s worth another viewing.
It’s hard to imagine where or what sitcoms would be without Lucille Ball. An innovator and honestly comic genius, she created a persona — Lucy — that still reverberates through modern shows. Slightly ditzy, well meaning, yet guileless, Lucy was always utterly watchable and funny. She was able to find joy in the silliest domestic situations. And for that I am grateful. Her kids were often featured in her shows.
Mother’s Day is only a few days away so don’t forget to get your mom a present — card, flowers, candies, tickets to a show — or take her to the movies, to dinner or out dancing. Or better yet, get your Mom laughing. Comedy shows like mine (Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer) are a terrific way to lighten the mood and show mom just how much you love her.
Tags: comedians, mother's day