Do you remember me? Along with my late husband, Charles MacPhee, I wrote a column for Our Town called “Family on the Aisle.” For seven years we, who never agreed on anything, wrote his/her reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. When we began, the paper was The Manhattan Pennysaver. Ed Kayatt wanted a bit more sophisticated name, and it was my mother who christened the paper Our Town. Flash forward. In the interim, I have written and directed several plays, taught many theater classes and am now approaching what they call the autumn of my years. Spring was better.
Pandemics aside, we could all use a good laugh. We New Yorkers don’t give up so easily and we often find chuckles in the most unusual places. Sometimes I fancy myself on the corner of 86th and York approaching all eligibles, whispering seductively, “Looking for a good laugh honey?” Well, it’s not a laugh a minute anymore but when it does happen, it’s orgasmic and I am grateful for the afterglow. So, send in the clowns, send in the comics and the cacklers. We need you.
Sam Gross, author and New Yorker cartoonist and dear friend, never lets me down. At 88 years old he is, thankfully still working on his sometimes irreverent and always funny illustrations like the blind Fifth Avenue panhandler with his “sleeping” dog at his feet sporting a sign that tells us, I AM BLIND AND MY DOG IS DEAD. Have you seen the one of the little legless frog on wheels begging in the French restaurant? The point is, at the moment Sam Gross is in the hospital with pneumonia making people laugh. I visited him in rehab and spent almost two hours howling with laughter as he related an experience of having his schmekel washed by a nurse/nun and which he could now cross off his bucket list.
Through the years, I have always depended on the kindness of comics. During my childhood, my father would read me the “funny papers” when I was sad. And as I grew up, my mother would berate me saying, “Everything is a joke to you. You’re just like your father.” Well, thank God for Sidney Fox, Sam Gross and all the other crazies who get us through this not-so-funny life, which I was once told by a 105 year old friend, comes to us in three stages: youth, middle- age and You Look Wonderful. To paraphrase the great Edward R. Murrow, Good night, good luck and good laughs.