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Sid Caesar, His Writers, Some Mothers


Sid Caesar’s death last week made me think of the comedy sketches in “Your Show of Shows.” The writers of his show were top-notch. I came across a backstage story when I was working on my book, WRITING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE and used it in the epilogue. Here it is below.

I grew up in a house in which there was great respect for the word. And humorists had the last one. It is only fitting that I give them the last words here.

On a PBS Special about Sid Caesar’s YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, one of the writers told a story about the time he brought his mother there. After watching the first sketches, he asked her what she thought.

“That Caesar is amazing,” she said.

“Ma, I worked on that sketch,” the writer told her.

She went on. “What a talent Caesar is!” In the next sketch, Sid used several different languages. When it was over, the writer’s mother was again in awe. “That man,” she said. “There is no end to his talent.”

“I wrote that sketch,” the son told her.

But she wasn’t done. “Caesar can make jokes. He can do languages, A fabulous talent.”

The next sketch was a musical number. Same thing. “Look at how he dances and sings,” said the mother.

“I wrote that one, too, Ma.”

“That guy Caesar can do anything,” said the mother.

It went on like that for the entire show. When it was over, the writer went backstage to tell Sid what a great job he did and to share the story about his mother. Sid listened. “You know,” he said, “my mother was here just a few minutes ago, too. I asked her what she thought of the show. You know what she said? She said, “Boy, you must have some writers.’”

WRITING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE-Nancy Davidoff Kelton (Writer’s Digest Books, 1997)

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