Gilda Radner
By: Jason Grote | Categories: HiLo Heroes

radner-gilda

My heart still skips a beat when I look at old Rolling Stone photos of GILDA RADNER (1946-89), an early childhood crush and, then as now, one of America’s greatest comediennes — and it still breaks when I think of her death from ovarian cancer at 42. Whether it was her malapropisms as Emily Litella, her primordial nerdiness as Lisa Loopner, or her general non sequitur insanity as Roseanne Rosannadanna, Radner breathed life into post-Nixonian/pre-Reaganite archetypes that will be forever indelible from our collective memory of the 1970s. The mind reels when thinking of her acting debut: the 1972 Toronto premiere of Godspell, starring Radner, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, and Martin Short. If I had a time machine, that would surely be my first stop.

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HUMORISTS at HILOBROW: Michael O’Donoghue | Jemaine Clement | Andy Kaufman | Danny Kaye | George Ade | Jimmy Durante | Jack Benny | Aziz Ansari | Godfrey Cambridge | Eric Idle | David Cross | Stewart Lee | Samuel Beckett | Joanna Lumley | Jerome K. Jerome | Phil Silvers | Edward Lear | Tony Hancock | George Carlin | Stephen Colbert | Tina Fey | Keith Allen | Russell Brand | Michael Cera | Stan Laurel | Ricky Gervais | Gilda Radner | Larry David | Chris Pontius | Dave Chappelle | Jimmy Finlayson | Paul Reubens | Peter Sellers | Buster Keaton | Flann O’Brien | Lenny Bruce | Sacha Baron Cohen | Steve Coogan | PG Wodehouse | A.J. Liebling | Curly Howard | Fran Lebowitz | Charlie Kaufman | Stephen Merchant | Richard Pryor | James Thurber | Bill Hicks | ALSO: Comedy and the Death of God

READ MORE about members of the Blank Generation (1944-53).

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Jason Grote is a playwright, television writer, and librettist. His best-known play is 1001, a deconstruction of the tales of the Arabian Nights. He wrote for season one of Smash, and is currently a writer for Mad Men.