I golfed this afternoon at a benefit tourney for Gilda's Club. The organization that helps cancer patient's families is named after the late comedienne, Gilda Radner.
It got me thinking. There are so many comedians that have passed away. From Groucho Marx, to Richard Pryor, to John Belushi. So many of the best are dead.
Here now, my weekly list of the top 11 comedians that have passed on. But understand, this list is totally subjective, and just because Andy Kaufman isn't on the list doesn't mean I don't think he wasn't hilarious.
11- George Carlin (So cerebral. He was brilliant. Some of the stuff he said incensed me, but the man was comedy gold.)
10- John Candy (From the moment he hit my radar as the guard at Walleyworld, to the day his tragically short life ended... Candy was sweet.)
9- Mitch Hedberg (Never really understood his comedic command until I moved to Minnesota, his home state. Wow!)
8- Phil Hartman (So many turns on SNL. Especially as an impersonator. Fantastic. Did you know he co-wrote Pee Wee's Big Adventure?)
7- Johnny Carson (Ridiculously quick on his feet. In his genre, there have been no better.)
6- Sam Kinison (Right when I was exposed to this madman, he passed away. I've since checked some of his stuff out on You Tube. So irreverent, but so funny.)
5- Chris Farley (He crafted some of the most indelible characters of my generation. Someone who so cashed in on his physicality. Awesome.)
4- Rodney Dangerfield (From the Triple Lindy to dancing on the golf course to Journey's "Any way you want it"... he simply took over the screen. 4th place...still no respect.)
3- Moe Howard (The true genius behind my favorite comedy troupe. I even had the pleasure to meet him weeks before he died.)
2- John Ritter (Three's Company was so over the top formulaic and cheesy, but the more I watch it, the more I realize how unbelievably gifted this man was.)
1- Charlie Chaplin (No brainer. So ahead of his time, and still to this day, his work is timelessly epic.)