I’m not sure that I can make a meaningful connection between Groucho and Elvis (apart from the fact that they both died 25 years ago this year) but if there is one, I reckon it’s got to do with the epic generosity of the performer – of the entertainer – that they share and that always humbles me. Great comedians – funny people in general – remind us of our humanity, our incompleteness – and also of the the possibilities.
The best thing I’ve read about Groucho and the whole Marx Brothers phenomenon is Simon Louvish’s Monkey Business. An unpretentious read grounded in Louvish’s obvious admiration for the brothers, focused on the documentary record and never afraid to chuck in some of the brilliant original material. Groucho was a complex and worldly figure whose work gets better with time – perhaps his Century’s most important popular entertainer. He was also the funniest man that ever lived (if you ask me).
So, over there, on the right, above the Cage-o-gram, I’m introducing the ‘Groucho-gram’ – an occasionally-updated Groucho quote. Actually, now that I think about it, the other really good Groucho book I can think of is a beautiful collection of his letters to his daughter Miriam called Love, Groucho that would give any father something to aspire to.
(Audio clips courtesy Why a Duck?)