SNL Writer Tom Davis dies

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by joyceface, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. joyceface

    joyceface Queen of Everything VIP

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/arts/television/tom-davis-saturday-night-live-comedy-writer-dies-at-59.html?ref=obituaries


    In 2004, contestants on “Jeopardy!†were stumped by the clue “He was the comedy partner of Al Franken.â€
    [​IMG]
    Associated Press

    Al Franken, left, with Tom Davis in the 1970s.


    Tom Davis, that comedy partner, sighed as he watched. He was so inured to playing second fiddle to Mr. Franken, now a Democratic senator from Minnesota, that he called himself Sonny to Mr. Franken’s Cher.
    But the fact is that Mr. Davis helped shape Mr. Franken’s comedy, and vice versa, from the time they entertained students with rebellious, razor-edged humor at high school assemblies in Minnesota.
    In 1975, Mr. Davis, brilliant at improvisational comedy, and Mr. Franken, a whiz at plotting funny sequences, became two of the first writers on a new show called “Saturday Night Live,†which has lasted 37 years. (The two should actually be called one of the show’s first writers: they accepted a single salary of $350 a week. Each, singly, was called “the guys.â€)
    Mr. Davis never lost the quirky, original tone that helped shape the show, and in his last months he referred to death as “deanimation.†He deanimated on Thursday at his home in Hudson, N.Y., at age 59. The cause was throat and neck cancer, his wife, Mimi Raleigh, said.
    With Mr. Franken and others, Mr. Davis helped create the clan of extraterrestrials known as the Coneheads, who attributed their peculiarities to having come from France. He and Dan Aykroyd collaborated on Mr. Aykroyd’s impersonation of Julia Child, in which the television chef cuts herself and bleeds to death after grabbing a phone to dial 911, only to find it’s a prop. As she collapses she bids her audience “Bon appétit!â€
    In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Aykroyd spoke of Mr. Davis’s “massive contribution†to the show, characterizing him as “very disciplined†and able to herd less focused writers toward something concrete. “There was no frivolous waste of time,†he said.
    Mr. Davis was present at the creation of Irwin Mainway (played by Mr. Aykroyd), head of a company that made “Bag o’ Glass†and other dangerous toys. He midwifed Theodoric of York, a medieval barber-surgeon, played by the guest host Steve Martin, who believed bloodletting cured everything. A famous sketch about a drunken President Richard M. Nixon stumbling around the White House conversing with past presidents’ portraits and spouting anti-Semitism? Mr. Davis and Mr. Franken wrote it.
    They flirted with the margins of taste: a sketch about the Holocaust was rejected, but others about child abuse and the murder of lesbians made it onto the air.
    In the early years of “Saturday Night Live,†Mr. Davis and Mr. Franken also appeared as a comic duo. One Franken and Davis routine was “The Brain Tumor Comedian,†in which Mr. Franken, his head bandaged, tried to tell jokes but kept forgetting the punch line. Mr. Davis fought tears as he implored the audience to applaud.
    Mr. Davis shared three Emmys for his writing on the show and another for “The Paul Simon Special†in 1977.
    Thomas James Davis was born in Minneapolis on Aug. 13, 1952, and attended the private Blake School, where he and Mr. Franken bonded over comedians like Jack Benny and Bob and Ray. Their announcements of school events at the morning assembly were peppered with sarcasm, and soon they were performing at a local comedy club.
    After graduating, Mr. Franken headed for Harvard, while Mr. Davis chose the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., because, he said, he had heard that it had a foreign study program in India, where he hoped to smoke opium. (They did, and he did.)
    After a year of college, Mr. Davis returned to Minneapolis to work in improvisational comedy. And after Mr. Franken graduated, the two convened in Los Angeles to do stand-up and caught the attention of Lorne Michaels, the creator of “Saturday Night Live.†Mr. Michaels summoned them to New York, where he negotiated with the writers’ union to offer the two a single apprentice job.
    In a recent interview, Senator Franken said he and Mr. Davis had complemented each other, with Mr. Davis bringing his improvisational experience to the act and Mr. Franken contributing his skill at structuring a routine. Mr. Davis’s humor had a sardonic, even cynical, sting, Mr. Franken said, but retained “sweetness and a Minnesota outlook.â€
    Mr. Davis lived a defiantly unconventional life. In his 2009 memoir, “Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL From Someone Who Was There,†he wrote that he first used LSD while watching “2001: A Space Odyssey†at a Minneapolis drive-in. At the peak of the Vietnam War, he decided to join the Marines, he said, then decided against it after undergoing a revolution in consciousness at a Jimi Hendrix concert.
    Mr. Davis worked for “Saturday Night Live†from 1975 to 1980, and again from 1986 to 1994. In addition to writing, he produced shows in his second stint. He also collaborated with Mr. Aykroyd and Bonnie and Terry Turner to write the film “Coneheads†(1993). (The “Conehead†characters, he wrote in his memoir, were inspired by a trip Mr. Davis and Mr. Aykroyd took to Easter Island, famous for its towering stone statues.) With Mr. Franken he wrote and starred in the film “One More Saturday Night†(1986).
    Mr. Davis retired in the mid-1990s but returned to “SNL†as a writer as recently as 2003.
    He and Mr. Franken were so close that Mr. Franken named his daughter Thomasin Davis Franken. But the two broke up as a team in 1990 when Mr. Franken tired of his friend’s drug abuse. They reconciled a decade later, and Mr. Davis obliged his friend by publishing his all-too-candid autobiography only after Senator Franken was elected. In his book, Mr. Davis wrote, “I love Al as I do my brother, whom I also don’t see very much.â€
    In addition to his wife and his brother, Robert, Mr. Davis is survived by his mother, Jean Davis.
    In his last two years, Mr. Davis helped a friend write a book about Owsley Stanley, famed for handling sound for the Grateful Dead and supplying the group with LSD. He searched out objects like old barn doors and stones with which to make largeculptures. And he worked with Mr. Aykroyd on a script for a possible “Ghostbusters III†film.
    As in his comedy, Mr. Davis said, “I’m improvising.â€
     
  2. chuk

    chuk Well-Known Member

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  3. Rupert Pupkin

    Rupert Pupkin That Ass is Attached to Daniela Lopez Gold

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  4. Morrisb

    Morrisb Well-Known Member

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  5. chapped

    chapped Well-Known Member

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    go night funny man
     
  6. Snotty

    Snotty My Snothand be strong!!! VIP Gold

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    With any luck, Franken will follow soon................
     
  7. ZevonFan

    ZevonFan VIP Extreme Gold

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    I was a big fan of the original cast and writers of SNL. It was such a phenomenoe way of programming. Those were the golden days of that show. Davis had a lot of talent and died too young.
     
  8. dr retarded

    dr retarded New Member Banned User

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    Too bad it wasn't his erstwhile partner...
     
  9. Magnificent Mr. Hole

    Magnificent Mr. Hole Well-Known Member

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    :rolleye:
     
  10. Winston Ono

    Winston Ono Well-Known Member

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    Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.
     
  11. Mr Doodle

    Mr Doodle Active Member

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    Fuck everyone who hates Franken with a hot iron brand. RIP Tom Davis, pioneer in sketch comedy.
     
  12. Vdrummer35

    Vdrummer35 Well-Known Member Banned User

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    1975 was a great year because of snl & franken & davis.
    don't forget the movies they did too, "trading places" etc..
     
  13. PI Nate

    PI Nate Disenfranchised since 1984... Gold

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    He was a funnyman, :rip:
     
  14. AcquiringSignal

    AcquiringSignal Girthy VIP

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    I'm tryin' to care but nothins happenin'.
     
  15. Winston Ono

    Winston Ono Well-Known Member

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  16. dr retarded

    dr retarded New Member Banned User

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    I wish Al Franken rode a Bulgarian bus.
     
  17. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

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    Oh, so you like douchebags who get up and scream on the floor of the Senate?
     
  18. CAPTAIN KIRK

    CAPTAIN KIRK New Member

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    Yup great stuff. Fucking thing sucks nowadays..
     
  19. Magnificent Mr. Hole

    Magnificent Mr. Hole Well-Known Member

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    Lots of Senators do that.
     
  20. SalsMasterShake

    SalsMasterShake Mouthpiece VIP

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    RIP to a witty and truly funny guy who bit the bullet too young.

    I remember Al & Tom's skits they'd do on SNL, and one in particular where Al announced they were gay, against Tom's wishes, and Tom and his wife were outraged. The kid started yelling, "I hate you, Dad!" over and over.

    It was totally uncomfortable yet hilarious at the same time (I think I was 13 when I first saw it).
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012