Sid Caesar On Comedy

(Above: Imogene Coca and Sid Caesar in ‘Your Show of Shows.’ Source: Wikimedia)

Sid Caesar: On the Language of Comedy, a 30-minute documentary about the pioneering television comedian, premieres Friday, July 19 at 10:30 pm ET on channel 13 in New York, online at thirteen.org, and via the Thirteen Explore app.

It will then air Monday, July 22, at 10:30 pm on sister New York metro area over-the-air channels 21 and NJTV, and again on channel 13. Air dates in other PBS markets were not announced.

The film consists of a one-on-one conversation with Caesar (who died in 2014 at age 91) in which he provides insights into the art of sketch comedy and social satire. There are also clips of memorable performances from such programs as Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour.

The “writers room” for Caesar’s shows proved to be a farm system for some of the greatest comedic minds of the past 70 years, including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen. Below, Mel Tolkin, who went on to write for All in the Family, describes the “very, very rough” competition among the writers:

Unfortunately, full episodes are hard to come by via streaming, although you can find classic sketches and even the occasional complete show on YouTube. Below is an entire Caesar’s Hour program from 1954 with guest Peggy Lee:

Several compilations are also available on DVD, including The Best of Your Show of Shows and The Sid Caesar Collection.

For more information on Sid Caesar: The Language of Comedy, visit thirteen.org/schedule.

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About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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