Q: Wenn ist das Nunstuck git und Slotermeyer? A: Sid Caesar
August 6, 2009 11:45 PM   Subscribe


 
... in reality, he only spoke English and Yiddish.
posted by not_on_display at 11:46 PM on August 6, 2009


oh man
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
(rolls on floor laughing)
(dies)
posted by dunkadunc at 11:54 PM on August 6, 2009


Oh man. On a more serious note, I probably would have bought the Italian had I heard him doing that on the street, but it almost physically hurt to listen to the 'German'.
On the other hand, if German is a lot of V, Sch, and Ach noises, Americans sound like "ARR ARR ARR" (generally with a whiny valley-girl delivery) which was how I could always pick out Americans when living in Austria. Americans pronounce their R's like pirates, I swear.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:09 AM on August 7, 2009


The best part of the second clip is watching Drew Carey getting utterly pwnt by someone a million times more talented.
posted by thack3r at 12:12 AM on August 7, 2009


That foreign language gibberish shtick isn't doubletalk.
Doubletalk is where you someone asks you a question, and in your answer you slip in occasional nonsense words undetectably. The goal is to seem to be genuinely trying to help, but you leave the listener dazed and confused as they can't quite follow what you're saying. It crops up here and there in WWII era comedies, but I think was a popular past-time in that era.
posted by w0mbat at 12:33 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've never seen Sid Caesar before. The man looks like the bastard offspring of Mel Brooks and George Carlin
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:41 AM on August 7, 2009


That Who's Line clip is hilarious. Well, at least Cid Caesar and Colin Mochrie were hilarious.
posted by Roman Graves at 12:57 AM on August 7, 2009


Sid there is basically awesome at imitating European languages. Non-European, not so much, but then presumably he's had a lot less exposure to them.

Great clips.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:18 AM on August 7, 2009


The best part of the second clip is watching Drew Carey getting utterly pwnt by someone a million times more talented.

I'm pretty sure Carey knows he's the least-talented improv guy on that show. I mean, he's set himself up as the barely-participating host on purpose, right?

I don't see this as a slam against him. He knows what he does well, and generally sticks to it.
posted by rokusan at 1:20 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


He snack platt.
posted by chillmost at 1:25 AM on August 7, 2009


Is this really the only post about Sid Caesar that has ever graced Metafilter? I'm gonna have to get to work.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:03 AM on August 7, 2009


Lost art? It was the most obvious aspect of Bruno.
posted by bardic at 2:26 AM on August 7, 2009


I mean, he's set himself up as the barely-participating host on purpose, right? ... He knows what he does well, and generally sticks to it.

more like... he took a show with a long history of having a non-participating host, and set himself up as the host that insists on being on stage.
posted by scrowdid at 4:03 AM on August 7, 2009


On the other hand, if German is a lot of V, Sch, and Ach noises, Americans sound like "ARR ARR ARR" (generally with a whiny valley-girl delivery) which was how I could always pick out Americans when living in Austria. Americans pronounce their R's like pirates, I swear.

Can someone please find a video of a non English speaker doing this with English?
posted by empath at 4:14 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh, that was awesome. I didn't expect it to be so cool, but there's just...something about the man, I guess. Charisma, or whatever he needs to make that *deeply fucking funny*.

Drew Carey, on the other hand, really kinda sucks.
posted by kalimac at 4:19 AM on August 7, 2009


Holy crap. Sid Caesar is still alive?
posted by pracowity at 4:44 AM on August 7, 2009


While in college I was churchy. And I used to go around telling people that I spoke Armenian. I chose Armenian, because, in the area where I lived, there was no chance of encountering someone who actually spoke it. One time, I was asked about Armenian hymns. I taught the choir to sing a song that was repeating nonsense syllables. It was introduced at a service as a traditional Armenian hymn.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:45 AM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've never seen Sid Caesar before.

This statement distresses me greatly. TwelveTwo, we need your help more than ever!
posted by cavalier at 5:50 AM on August 7, 2009


Oh I do so love Sid Caeser; wish I could watch these videos at work.

In his biography, Where Have I Been?, he describes being a little kid and trying out his "foreign" doubletalk on groups of immigrant workers--he'd do his "Italian" around the Italian guys and it would always take them a little bit to "get it." Anyway, I love Sid Caeser. I love him so much.
posted by Neofelis at 5:50 AM on August 7, 2009


Can someone please find a video of a non English speaker doing this with English?

There were a few AskMe's about this.

Here's one video I found after a quick search. You can also try YouTube for imitation English or fake English.
posted by starman at 6:06 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I love me some Sid Caesar. Genius.
posted by schleppo at 6:36 AM on August 7, 2009


There's a disturbing lack of the Sid Caesar Show and Your Show of Shows on DVD. We just netflixed the Best of Sid Caesar CDs, but if there was ever TV series that demanded the full-season-release treatment, those are it. (The Best of Sid Caesar series contains too-short interviewlets/introductions to the selected sketches from a variety of the writers including Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Carl Reiner, Mel Tolkin, and I think there was 1 from Woody Allen, too.)

There were one or two doubletalk sketches on them, but they tried to focus on each of the different common styles of sketch - pantomime, parody, slapstick, satire, plain ol' funny.
posted by julen at 7:13 AM on August 7, 2009


This fake English video is pretty good. Apparently, watching a couple of those fake English videos, we Americans are really. Cool.
posted by interrobang at 7:43 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn... I was working on a "Fake English" FPP after seeing some of those AskMe questions a couple of weeks ago. Note to self: Never procrastinate on any FPP, no matter how obscure the topic, because it will inevitably get posted within a month of thinking of one.

I guess I'll just dump what I found here now that it's been brought up:

Thought Experiments on English from a Foreign Perspective
Fake English News

"Can You Speak Fake English?" responses from:
A German speaker
Another German speaker
A Spanish speaker
Another Spanish speaker
A Japanese (?) speaker
More

More Spanish
One incorporating a lot of brand-names (like one AskMe response suggested English sounds like)
Fake English song
Interpretation from a Japanese anime
John Cleese's take on doubletalk (WMV) - starting at 8:43

Related: Simlish, the nonsense language created for the Sims series of games.
A Simlish recording session
Lots more
"Simlish versions" of English songs
posted by Rhaomi at 8:38 AM on August 7, 2009 [17 favorites]


w0mbat : Doubletalk is where you someone asks you a question, and in your answer you slip in occasional nonsense words undetectably.

I'm guilty of doing something a bit like this to my coworkers. We work in a troubleshooting environment, so it's common to rely on people around you to provide answers to technical questions, and this sort of communal knowledge tends to expand beyond the boundaries of work related information. I have a lot of eclectic interests and as a result, I have a bunch of people asking me strange questions about some pretty diverse topics.

Occasionally, I like to fuck with them.

"Oh yeah, LED flashlights are great, they last a really long time and give a good output, but you have to be careful, because since it's a diode, they can go into a photonic lock where they are drawing power in such a way that they can't be turned off. This can be bad because it can overload the lockgate circuit and this will lead to certain kinds of batteries, like Lithium ones, to slip into a polarizing phase state. When this happens they expand and can't be removed from the body of the light. Huge pain in the ass to fix that."

This is, of course, only done to people who really couldn't care less about the subject being discussed anyway. It makes it much funnier if the person getting the information will never need to check and see if the nonsense told to them was true.
posted by quin at 9:00 AM on August 7, 2009


Sid's amazing. I'd like to see him on stage with Reggie. "The Old Man and The Fro Show?"

(Warning: video contains cheesy "comedy jazz.")
posted by functionequalsform at 10:35 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this magnifient post. The third clip is really the one where you get to see all the dialects Sid Caesar can do, and so convincingly. Of course, he was able to work on so many other levels of humor as well -- as anyone familiar with his old shows can attest to. Caesar is one of the most underappreciated geniuses of comedy America has produced -- for reasons that remain a mystery to me. Thanks for julen's comments to remind us also well of the many brilliant comedic writers and comics who got their start working for him.

He is one of only a very small group of truly brilliant minds (like Jackie Gleason, Norman Lear, James L. Brooks, et al) that revolutionized television comedy forever. The 88-year old Sid Caesar should be celebrated now, before he is gone, not when it's too late -- and the inevitably stale, nearsighted obits come out, and the tabloid-show interns get around to looking at old Your Show of Shows excerpts for the first time.

The fact that very few people realize this (or even give a damn about it) is yet another sad reflection of our still-shallow, instant gratification "McCulture".

Besides all of that, Caesar is just hilarious.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:36 AM on August 7, 2009


My dad loved Sid Caesar, and one of the stories he never tired of telling was about the time Caesar dangled Mel Brooks out of an open 8th floor window (story begins halfway down page 135).
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:43 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And of course, The Onion's take:

I Bet I Can Speak Spanish

Hello, amigos! El soy quando agunto! Ella balloona balunga espanyo!

Did that sound Spanish to you? I bet that means something. And guess what? I've never had one lesson. It's just that I have a natural gift for Spanish. I was able to pick it up all by myself, "outside the system," if you will.

posted by Rhaomi at 1:31 PM on August 7, 2009




The best part of the second clip is watching Drew Carey getting utterly pwnt by someone a million times more talented.

A deaf monkey who's had a lobotomy could pwn Drew Carey. It doesn't take much; the man is useless when not scripted. (When he is scripted, he can be funny as hell).

To completely own his ass with such surgical precision, however, takes a master.

That Who's Line clip is hilarious. Well, at least Cid Caesar and Colin Mochrie were hilarious.


Mochrie has been the only consistently funny thing about that show since he first appeared on the original. Indeed, the original contained more blazing talent in its worst episode ever than the entire corpus of the American version. Mochrie excepted, because fuck that man is funny.

As an aside, I met him at YYZ once. And I made him laugh. It's possible that he was just being charitable, but fuck, I will carry that moment with pride for the rest of my life.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:02 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


In 1994 I got to know Sid a bit because my then-boss married Howie Morris. Well, as much as you could get to know him. Frankly, he's not a particular amiable fellow. After a while I started avoiding him. Anyhow, I heard many, many tales of his heydays of bad behavior from witnesses, and one story stood out to me.

It's well documented that Sid had various serious ego/drug/anger management issues, and all of these used to make it very difficult when he would travel overseas. His brain/ego was just fucked up. So he would go out to eat and try to order food and speak to people in his fake German/French/whatever. Naturally, these people couldn't understand him. Nobody could... he wasn't really SPEAKING anything. So he would get livid. Caused scenes. Apparently there were times where it got very ugly. By all accounts I heard, people hated traveling with Sid Ceasar.

I just have this clear mental picture of him yelling gibberish at these poor people as they stared, confused... wondering why one of the most famous men in the world (at that time, the president's speeches were broadcast *around* the schedule of Your Show Of Shows) totally going postal on them because their language skills weren't good enough to switch around and match his fabricated version. He was the poster boy for people believing the world revolves around them.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:36 PM on August 9, 2009


« Older Automatic Pancakes   |   Flying to the Edge of Space Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments