Editor’s note: This chronicle of the best work of the great comic writer and actor Harold Ramis was originally published on Feb. 25, 2014, after Ramis’s death at age 69. We’ve republished it in honor of what would have been the actor’s 77th birthday; he was born on Nov. 21, 1944.
Harold Ramis, the comedy genius who died yesterday at age 69, was the head writer of the brilliant Canadian sketch comedy show Second City Television (SCTV) before going on to co-star in “Ghostbusters” and then write and direct “Caddyshack” and “Analyze This.”
The premise of SCTV was that it was a low-rent local television station in the fictional city of Melonville. Some of us consider it one of the most inspired television comedy shows ever. Here a few of Ramis’s classic bits.
And after the jump, a couple of SCTV classic bits, showcasing Ramis’s writing and the acting of the immortal John Candy as Johnny La Rue and Eugene Levy as Sid Dithers (not to be missed).
Mort Finkel: “Do-It-Yourself Dentistry”
Moe Green: “You’re Dead. Now What?”
“Match Unto My Feet” visits a family seder
(Perhaps the greatest SCTV sketch of all. Apologies for the poor sound quality. Stick with it if you can.)
More after the jump:
“Curtis Edgit, Plainclothes Mountie”
Moe Green: “Essentials of Bookkeeping”
“Sci-Fi Galaxy Theater” Features Ramis as Dr. Bradley Omar in the opening. Ramis reappears at 5:35 in “Words to Live By.”
“A Fistfull of Ugly”
Starring Ramis as the Sheriff
Now here’s Ramis as writer: some skits featuring other SCTV greats.
Eugene Levy as Sid Dithers, the station’s shop steward and least competent actor: “Sid Dithers, Private Eye”
John Candy as Johnny La Rue, SCTV featured personality: “Johnny La Rue’s Discount Deprive-O-Rama Sensory Deprivation Tank”
J.J. Goldberg is editor emeritus of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).
Harold Ramis’s 10 greatest comedy bits