Ernie Kovacs was one of the great innovative comedians of the last century. In the years of his career he had to be because he operated during the McCarthy Era when a whole lot of subjects were taboo in terms of satire. As one of Kovacs's contemporaries Sid Caesar said, comedians with all the restrictions of early television had to be creative.
What was going just as Kovacs was hitting the big time both in his career and his courtship of Edie Adams, he was going through a nasty divorce with his first wife. He won the custody fight and that was unusual for a father to do that back then, still his wife took his two small daughters and fled with them to parts unknown. Kovacs spent thousands trying to locate them.
Just as Jim Carrey was able to channel Andy Kaufman in his film, so did Jeff Goldblum do with Kovacs. I am old enough to remember Ernie Kovacs from film and television and Goldblum was great. Melody Anderson was a fine Edith then Edie Adams and Cloris Leachman was fabulous as Ernie's mother from hell. Now I know where they got the inspiration for the grandmother character in Malcolm in the Middle.
If that wasn't enough the real Edie Adams got to play Mae West who Edie back in the day did a devastating impersonation of. I never did find out what Mae thought of it, but here she kind of channeled Mae the same way Goldblum channeled her late husband.
For a nice behind the scenes look at one of our great American comic geniuses definitely see Ernie Kovacs: Before The Laughter.
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