I would respect you like CRAZY
January 5, 2013 11:21 AM   Subscribe

For Vanity Fair's Comedy issue, the groundbreaking improvisational comedy duo of Mike Nichols and Elaine May sit down (but don't quite sit still) for their first joint interview in decades.
posted by Horace Rumpole (8 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Growing up I probably checked out my local library's copy of An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May a dozen times. I didn't quite know what comedic timing meant back then, but I knew there was something that differentiated Nichols & May from most other comedy teams. As a grade schooler I didn't quite get all of the jokes, but I knew they were funny just by the delivery.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:59 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

He eventually dropped out of school and moved back to New York to study with Strasberg, while May stayed in Chicago, where she was acting and trying to develop a film treatment based on Plato’s Symposium in which everyone was drunk. (“That’s the only way it makes sense,” she explained.)

I would love to see that get made.
posted by ovvl at 12:02 PM on January 5, 2013

Horace, I respect you like crazy for posting this.

If anyone wants to check out some more of them, "Mike Nichols and Elaine May Examine Doctors" is up on archive.org. My favorite is track 11, "Physical".

/It also seems that my crush on Elaine May has only increased over the years.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:03 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love this interview. The second the article came out, I sent a link to my older brother. As kids, we listened to Mike Nichols And Elaine May Examine Doctors over and over and over and over... I still have it in my small collection of cherished records leftover from the old days. We used to occasionally do bits of some of the routines, or just refer to certain lines as short-hand. And as we got older, we shared the dawning understandings (of culture, gender roles, the shifting nature of humor, etc.) that came from paying attention over time to the last track (where they're improvising a piece about the son of the doting Jewish mama who reveals to his mother that he wants to become a nurse. A NURSE! Aaaahahahahaha!)
posted by theatro at 1:38 PM on January 5, 2013

Aces. Thanks, Horace.
posted by Diablevert at 4:12 PM on January 5, 2013

I find the picture of them with JFK a little disturbing -- Kennedy is not thinking about comedic genius. He has the laser focus of "How can I tap that?"
posted by anothermug at 6:01 PM on January 5, 2013

This is fantastic. I especially loved this
(Nichols:) “The degree to which you’re peculiar and different is the degree to which you must learn to hear people thinking. Just in self-defense you have to learn, where is their kindness? Where is their danger? Where is their generosity? If you survive, because you’ve gotten lucky—and there’s no other reason ever to survive except luck—you will find that the ability to hear people thinking is incredibly useful, especially in the theater.”
posted by Mchelly at 10:59 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

You know, I'm surprised I hadn't noticed these two popping up so often: Nichols directing The Graduate, May directing Ishtar, and so on. I hadn't known they were a duo.

To YouTube!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:38 PM on January 8, 2013

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