I’m so so so sad Carl Reiner has passed over. His impact on TV, film, and comedy was legion and it was legendary. He worked with everyone from Neil SImon to Lily Tomlin to Steve Martin to Ruth Gordon and made them all funnier–better, really. His CV included Your Show of Shows, All of Me, and Where’s Poppa?–tons and tons of waggish staples. Even in his 90s he was still showing up on screen in the Ocean’s 11 franchise and on page as an author. Even yesterday he still shone such a bright light that he was tweeting what we all thought about 45. Not to mention that Mel Brooks will feel SO ALONE.
Their model of male love–their decades-long commitment to each other and to laughter–hurt my heart in the greatest way. They represented the very best of my tribe (the Jews!) by understanding that being tough and smart didn’t preclude being silly, soft-hearted, and socially just. Really, I wanted Mel and Carl to become the 2,000 Year Old Men. Or at least to live to see Trump leave the White House in handcuffs. (If you’ve never listened to The 2,000 Year Old Man, do yourself a favor and download it. Growing up I listened to it every day after school and it never failed to crack my shit up.)
In work he joyously played second fiddle–even in his masterwork, the Dick Van Dyke Show, modeled after his own family life in New Rochelle, he ceded the central role to Van Dyke whom he generously deemed a “better actor.” Top billing never mattered as much to him as top form because he knew to love long and love well. Thus he remained happily married to the brilliant Estelle from 1948 until her 2008 death. Thus he spawned the brilliant Rob Reiner and a long line of other comical, kind humans. Thus he died at 98 in top form, true to form.
Carl Reiner was a mensch. He was a mitzvah. He will be missed.