Monday, November 19, 2012

The Merv Griffin Show with guests David Burns, Lainie Kazan and Colonel Sanders (1966)

You may have noticed that some of the old timers speak about this cat David Burns in reverence. He was prolific in Broadway revues and widely respected - and now I know why. Watch him in action, tearing apart The Merv Griffin ShowFirst, reflections from those who know: 

Jack Carter: Davey Burns, a great comedian. Davey Burns was a great comic from Broadway. He was like a Jewish version of WC Fields. Oh, Davey Burns was a brilliant character. He didn't live very long, but he was funny. He was like a... you can't describe him! He was one of a kind. Davey Burns. Who would remember that?

Michael McKean: A great, great comic actor. 

Irwin Corey: Davey Burns was a poor man's W.C. Fields. He was very, very funny. 

Pat Carroll: David Burns was one of the funny men of the theater. He was a naughty, naughty man. He would do dreadful things. Oh, he was very bad and a very funny man. Great to work with and marvelous to watch. He always made me laugh. 

Tommy Moore: Davey Burns was indeed a wildman. A friend of mine was in Hello Dolly with him. After the show, when people would come to compliment him in his dressing room, he would say, "Excuse me for a moment, I want to freshen up with some toilet water." He’d leave the bathroom door open, lift the toilet seat, and wildly splash himself with water, come out dripping wet, and continue the conversation as though nothing happened!

Orson Bean: I loved Davey. Davey had a foul mouth. He was so charming, he could get away with anything. I didn't find him foul, I found him hilarious. When we were in Men of Distinction the mayor came backstage with his wife, a stout lady of a certain age. He grabbed her and he kissed her and he said, "You crazy cooze! Leave this son of a bitch! Run away with me!" She was like Margaret Dumont, flattered and appalled in equal amounts. 

Neil Simon: Davey Burns had the funniest foul mouth I ever heard. He came into rehearsal ten minutes late and apologized in a mock British accent, "I beg your pardon everyone. Please forgive me. I was in the lavatory having my cock sucked by the most charming cleaning lady." Pert Kelton would throw up her arms and say, "Oh, Davey, you are disgusting." To which he replied indignantly, "Some cleaning woman I never met is sucking my cock and you call me disgusting?”


Bobby Wall said...

It would be great if the above poster, Clarkx, could write more of his personal dealings with Burns.

greg6363 said...

I second Bobby Wall's question, especially since Burns has been dead for over 40 years..

Anonymous said...

Well, read Neil Simon's anecdote above. That was in rehearsals for "The Music Man." This was way back in 1957. He didn't care if women or children heard the graphic sexual talk. If he could get a cheap, easy laugh from someone, that's all he cared about. Trust me on this: He wasn't "all there" to begin with.

Is there anything witty or clever about his comment in that anecdote? Would you say that to your mother? Would you want an ass like him to say it to your mother?

Justin said...

Where in Neil Simon's comment did he say that children (or Burns's mother) were at the rehearsal when Burns made that joke.

And I do believe that women have been known to engage in sexual activities so I doubt that Pert Kelton, or any other woman, were traumatized by Burns's remarks.