I met Jonathan Winters 27 years ago. I thought he was the most brilliant and original comic I had ever met.
Winters created the persona of the wild kid grown to adulthood. In addition, his ability to transform into different and recurring characters became a staple of the SNL sensibility. Robin Williams, Steve Martin, and Jim Carrey, are among today's comics influenced the most by Winters' quick wit, but all owe some development to his manic and vivid imagination.
The world should know more about Winters. Below is an article from Laugh Factory Magazine where I interviewed him at his home. This article was written in 1986 and further demonstrates Winters' genius mind and comedic talent.
This is one special talent that the world should remember.
Here are some highlights of the interview. The full article can be found here.
On his influences:
"I'd have to go back to James Thurber. Writers, more than performers....Laurel and Hardy...The Marx Brothers...W.C. Fields...Chaplin...Peter Sellers."
On what makes him laugh:
"Network decisions make me laugh....I see things on a daily basis that are funny to me. I see the fun side to a lot of tragic things."
On comedy and characters:
"I always deal with reality. And comedy, if it's done right, always does deal with reality. Once you've got a realistic base, then you can go off in any different direction."
On how he'd like to be remembered:
"I'd rather be remembered through a book, it doesn't take up much room, like a tombstone....
Hopefully they'll be some film around that somebody'll go to--an hour with Jonathan Winters, maybe 15 minutes...But I think more so through a book or my artwork. Those things don't take up a lot of room and the statements are there."