PHIL, JACK AND DICK
Here's a bite-size clip of an old Dick Cavett show with Jack Benny and Phil Silvers as guests. The two are obviously fond of each other and, as always when Benny is a guest, you don't get that electric 'who's going to top who?' thing that often happens when multiple comics are on stage. Benny was famous among other comics for being an uncommonly generous audience. Indeed, Silvers does most of the talking as Jack sits by, languidly listening. But look out. When Benny does intrude, it's perfectly timed, unexpected, and winds up getting the big laugh. This stuff was an art for these guys and Benny's true genius was in his 'artlessness'...you didn't see it coming and often there didn't even seem to be anything there until he found it, which often had to do with his sense of timing. Speaking of which, Mel Brooks referred to Benny's timing as 'dangerous'. A perfect way to put it--now when you watch him you'll see how truly, scarily long he was willing to draw things out and how accurate he was when finally he would let the other shoe drop...
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 10:40 AM