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Jonathan Winters: On the Ledge (1987)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jonathan's Father
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Jonathan's Mother
...
Interviewer
Fred Asparagus ...
Additional Improviser
Ian Bernard ...
Additional Improviser
Brian Bradley ...
Additional Improviser
Gil Christner ...
Additional Improviser
Joey Gaynor ...
Additional Improviser
...
Additional Improviser
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Quotes

[to a man wearing dark glasses and a fez]
Jonathan Winters: Not only are you handicapped through blindness, but you're a shriner!
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User Reviews

A Disappointing TV Special
26 April 2002 | by (Denton, USA) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Winters On the Ledge is a television special Jonathan made in 1987. Completely improvised, this special co-stars Robin Williams, Phyllis Diller, Milton Berle, Martin Mull, and Michael Richards - all in mostly unfunny skits.

The premise is: Jonathan sits up on the ledge of 38-story apartment building and taunts the members of a parade going on below. Then we jump to Jonathan's "father" (Berle sitting in front of a TV, smoking a cigar) complaining about how much he disapproves of Jonathan's humor. We then see various flashbacks and skits which all feature Jonathan in some character or another.

I am a huge fan of Jonathan Winters, but this special just isn't very funny. I don't blame J.W. for this because he is really a very talented man, and you can see him trying here. I do, however, blame the director (Peter Ferrara) for throwing a bunch of comedians and actors (some of who are not AT ALL talented in the art of improvisation) into empty, unrelated, mish-mashed vignettes and presenting it as entertainment.

Winters' brand of extemporaneous humor is very delicate; if it's not presented properly, the viewer loses appreciation for the jokes. And if Winters doesn't have someone (or something) good to play off of, the result isn't always funny. I get the impression from watching this special that the director just threw Jonathan onto a few already-made sets, added some big-named stars, pointed the cameras, and strung together whatever they came up with.


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