Separating the art from the artist: Is it always possible?

CensoredAlso

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Exactly. That's one of the reasons why TV sitcoms were so wacky and outlandish during the 60s: that was a rocky decade in American history in terms of things like war, civil rights, bucking the establishment, assassinations and such - sitcoms during that time were a form of refuge from all of that, particularly fantasy shows like BEWITCHED and I DREAM OF JEANNIE.
Very, very true! I always think it's funny when people demand "dark stories for dark times." To me that often indicates their lives are probably quite comfortable and they want dark stories just so they can look deep and not too spoiled. If your life is truly difficult, you don't need stories to explain why.

I know it's far from that simple, and it's not true of everyone, but it's just an attitude I've observed.

"The poor know all about poverty and only the morbid rich would find the topic glamorous."--Sullivan's Travels (1941)
 

Drtooth

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I was one of those people literally crying when I heard the news. But the way I see it, comedy isn't the opposite of sadness. We use comedy to combat the sadness and address the ills of society. Plus, his work was so vibrant, it feels like he's still alive when I watch it. I mean he had an artistic legacy that was larger than his human life, if that makes sense.

Which is something I agree with completely. But even trying to go into a Mork and Mindy episode thinking that and the whole "he would have wanted us to laugh" mindset and I actually get more depressed. I don't know why it's just him specifically. I usually get the whole behind the clown mask bit, but there's something just...incredibly depressing about this case that just gets to me. Maybe it's the fact that it was suicide and he pretty much robbed his fans of him, maybe it's the fact that he was facing a terrible illness that at best can be maintained. Maybe it's even the fact that for years before he died he was one of the movie stars that was collectively put in the "irrelevant joke because he starred in a few bad movies" pile (which is another rant for another day). There's just something there that I haven't passed the "this is depressing" stage yet. I'll get over it in time, but for now it's like Inside Out and Sadness touched all the Robin Williams memory orbs. Just waiting for Joy to get off her butt and turn them yellow again.

Now, I heard this interview with Patton Oswald on Youtube about Galligher and how Patton was amazed that he went from happy, goofy hippy like purposely so bad it's good comedy to crazy, hateful, and bitter in his old age. And while there's a huge discussion there, what really made me think was when Patton asked the rhetorical question of will it happen to me, and does this happen to all comedians. There must be intense pressure to be funny that causes comedians to snap or get weird. Maybe that's it.
 

CensoredAlso

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Maybe it's even the fact that for years before he died he was one of the movie stars that was collectively put in the "irrelevant joke because he starred in a few bad movies" pile
Oh God, that I agree with you 100%. I hate how self importantly jaded the public can get. The whole "has been" thing, I swear some people never leave 6th grade. It's like they all want to be studio executives. Or arm chair critics. Either way, they want to prop themselves up by putting others down.

Now, I heard this interview with Patton Oswald on Youtube about Galligher and how Patton was amazed that he went from happy, goofy hippy like purposely so bad it's good comedy to crazy, hateful, and bitter in his old age.
Lol, is it bad that I'm reminded of that speech about old age from Rocko's Modern Life?

Rocko: Mean old bugger, I hope I never get old and crotchety.

Random Old Man: You got a lot to learn there, young fella.

Rocko: Yeah like what? How to be rude and nasty without even trying?

Random Old Man: Well you are gonna be old one day junior, if you're lucky. And then you too are gonna feel the heartbreak of a prune diet, or lost memories or the pain and loneliness of losing a loved one. Maybe then you'll understand why old timers aren't always the bright ray of sunshine you find yourself to be, eh boy?
 
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fuzzygobo

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Another wrinkle in Robin Williams' tragedy. The more successful he became as Mork, the harder it became for him to shake that image. Just a year after Mork, he had to stop in the middle of his stand-up act because the audience kept shouting him down with chants of "MORK! MORK! MORK!"
If you want to see a glimpse of his true genius, just prior to Mork he was on Richard Pryor's short-lived variety show. There was a handful of young unknown comics, and they had a few minutes to do standup or improv. You KNEW he was going to be big. But Mork was a mixed blessing. Made him a household name, but then he couldn't move outside that narrow box.
Even though the last season was not up there in the ratings, he loved just having his idol Jonathan Winters on the set. If Winters wasn't there, I wonder if Robin's depression would've triggered faster.
 

D'Snowth

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That happens to a lot of actors, and it depends on the individual themselves as to how they feel about being defined by that one role. In some cases, I know Werner Klemperer didn't mind people remembering him as Colonel Klink because that role gave him more exposure and recognition on a wider scale as opposed to being one of those character actors whose face you knew but not their name; similarly, Barbara Eden has admitted that if she's going to be tied to one role that people remember her as then she's glad it's a unique and special character like Jeannie. Conversely, on the other hand, someone like Elizabeth Montgomery spent years working hard to shed her image as sugary-sweet Samantha Stephens, and she hated being asked to twitch her nose, so she did a lot of dramatic TV movies with really serious and heavy issues to show people she had more grit and guts to her.
 

Pig'sSaysAdios

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That happens to a lot of actors, and it depends on the individual themselves as to how they feel about being defined by that one role. In some cases, I know Werner Klemperer didn't mind people remembering him as Colonel Klink because that role gave him more exposure and recognition on a wider scale as opposed to being one of those character actors whose face you knew but not their name; similarly, Barbara Eden has admitted that if she's going to be tied to one role that people remember her as then she's glad it's a unique and special character like Jeannie. Conversely, on the other hand, someone like Elizabeth Montgomery spent years working hard to shed her image as sugary-sweet Samantha Stephens, and she hated being asked to twitch her nose, so she did a lot of dramatic TV movies with really serious and heavy issues to show people she had more grit and guts to her.
Even Harrison Ford has struggled with just being Han Solo and Indiana Jones to most people.
 

D'Snowth

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Even Caroll Spinney made the mistake of when he and Oscar were on Dinah Shore's talk show with Richard Dawson and having Oscar rib him about being on HOGAN'S HEROES.
 

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A friend of mine made a good point about this recently.

You have the right to enjoy what you want and no one, not even the artist behind it, can take that away from you.
 

scooterfan360

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I got to thinking recently about Bill Cosby and his alleged sexual assault controversies, and it made me wonder: is it still right to enjoy his past work and laugh at his jokes given all this? And does some of the stuff in his infamous "Pound Cake Speech" from 2004 suddenly become irrelevant now?

No celebrity has had a spotless record of public behavior; look at many of the guest stars on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show for some examples. And I can like some celebs as people but can't stand the work they do, and vice versa. But what does make Cosby so different from the others, and why does the public have to be so unforgiving for the stuff he did in the past (as they often are)? If Chris Brown can get away with beating up Rihanna and come out stronger for it, then why can't Cos?
you know I can't ever look at cosby the same way again.
 
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