The best way to make contact with an audience is by doing something that they do every day. A husband asking his wife, "Tell me what I said that was so wrong?" is not only universally understood and painfully funny, it is as germane to the husband-wife relationship today as it was fifty years ago, and as it will probably be a thousand years from now. A lot of men don't understand women. And a lot of women don't understand men. That's where the fun begins.
Charlie and Doris Hickenlooper, played by me and Imogene, were a mismatched couple who reflected the anxieties and frustrations of newlyweds. Charlie was the everyman, looking to get by, make a living, and live a quiet, enjoyable life. Doris was high strung, ambitious, aggressive, slightly neurotic, and always trying to improve or change the always put-upon Charlie.
Each installment of Your Show of Shows started off with a Hickenloopers sketch. We thought that it was good to do a recurring weekly piece about a married couple. Pieces reflecting what happened at home drew the audience in. It was like shaking their hands. Opening the show with a smaller sketch allowed us to top it with something else. The beauty of the Hickenloopers sketches was that most of the time we were able to combine comedy with pathos. We were able to take real situations, draw the audience in, and then bend and twist the premise, so that they would see their own lives made fun of.
In those days most men got married right after the war, when they were twenty-three or twenty-four. They had gone through the war. You were no longer showering with five hundred guys or getting on a chow line. If the beans slipped into the jello it was all right. They appreciated their own apartments and their wives. Unlike the service, you were in charge when you got married, or at least you thought you were.
We showed couples how they felt, that they weren't alone, and just how ridiculous they could be. The audience understood the comedy and they believed it, because either they were going through similar situations themselves or at least thinking about it. Believability was critical. If they didn't believe us, they wouldn't care.
Pub date: 01/04/05
Price: $15.00/20.95 Canada
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
8 pp. b/w photos
Carton Quantity: 32
Selling Territory: W