So in Arizona, there’s yet another “religious freedom” bill (gay discrimination bill) passed by the legislature that Governor Jan Brewer will have to veto this week. And, the conservative Kansas Senate killed a similar measure recently. The Sochi Olympics are over and being gay and having kids while being gay is even more illegal in Russia. Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Nets, becoming the first openly-gay active NBA player. And, Uganda, is…well..off the hook, with their anti-gayness.
Lots to be concerned about and also thankful for. But what I’m thinking about today is the death of a legend: A man that made me laugh so hard.
Harold Ramis was 69 years old and if you don’t know his name, you can be forgiven this once. Harold Ramis was a comedy writer, director and actor and his portfolio of work is just as prolific as Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, if not more so. Maybe as an actor he was best known as Egon Spengler, one of the Ghostbusters.
He wrote four of the American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest Movies: Ghostbusters (1984) at #28, Groundhog Day (1993) at #34, Animal House (1978) at #36 and Caddyshack (1980) at #71. He wrote three others, Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981) and Back to School (1986), that were also nominated, but didn’t make the list. Maybe some others you might have heard of that he acted in, directed, and/or wrote: Vacation, The Office (he directed 4 episodes), As Good As It Gets, Analyze This, Analyze That, and SCTV.
The comedy world was mourning his passing on Monday, with statements from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Seth MacFarlane, Chevy Chase, Jimmy Kimmel, among many others. Rainn Wilson from The Office called Ramis, “The Buddha of Comedy.”
“We didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog,” said President Obama about Ramis’ work, hailing him as one of America’s “greatest satirists.”
Harold Ramis was nothing short of a comedy legend and if laughter truly is the best medicine, he was this country’s Surgeon General.