I had some time this morning to write a blog posting but couldn’t decide on a topic. Then I picked up the newspaper and read of the death of Bob Elliott, the “Bob” of the comedy team of “Bob and Ray” and suddenly there was nothing else to write about.
I know that some (many?) of you have never heard of Bob and Ray but that is your loss and thanks to the internet you can listen to their routines and may become a fan like so many millions.
Bob and Ray were originally radio comedians. There radio programs from Boston and later from New York were not scripted but were full of ad libs. Their dry, quiet, understated humor full of satirical slaps at everything from politics to soap operas and everything in between is unforgettable. Their characters: from Wally Ballou, the “on the scene” reporter who would always begin his transmissions by starting a second or two early (“-ly Ballou in Times Square) to Mary McGoon, the home economics expert with horrible recipes to the McBeeBee twins who spoke the exact same words a split second apart to Dean Archer Armstead, the agricultural expert who mumbled so horribly that you couldn’t understand a word were absolute gems.
Bob and Ray became popular before I was born but they continued to perform well into the 80s and appeared regularly with Johnny Carson, David Letterman and once memorably with Saturday Night Live’s Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman (you can see a clip below). If you don’t have much time, start at 7:35) Their dry, deadpan humor was in some ways of another era but it still is a riot today.
Not much else to say. It was already an end to an era as Ray Goulding died in 1990 but reading the obituary this morning brought back so many memories and I’ll be driving around the next few days listening to the cds of Bob and Ray that I’ve collected over the years.
A sad morning? Yes, but with many, many smiles.