Remembering Phyllis Dillerby Tyler Woods on Aug. 21, 2012, under Life
They just don’t make female comedians like they used to. Oh yeah I think Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, and Kathy Griffin are all funny and they make me laugh. However, when I was young a growing up, comedy was different. Female comedians had to be funny to make it in a man’s world of comedy and there were a handful of female comedians that could make you laugh and yesterday we lost one, and it got me thinking…
Sadly, all the great people I grew up with are starting to fade away and die. It’s all good, they say all the good ones die young, but not in the case of Phyllis Diller. She was 95 and I heard she was still funny. Today we mourn the loss of one of the greatest female comedians. Diller was a household name.
She based her comedy routine on being an everyday mundane housewife. She wore ridicules outfits and a hair doo that looked like she stuck her finger in a light socket. She had a “husband” named “Fang” that she made fun of and she talked about the everyday life of a housewife. The twist was, she made it funny and she had an infectious laugh that would stick in your head like glue. Even better she used that trademark laugh to laugh at her own jokes.
She could get away with one-liners that would go over most people’s head today. One-liners like “I don’t like to cook; I can make a TV dinner taste like radio,” or “I put on a peekaboo blouse. Fang took a peek and booed.” You have to admit, this is funny. She pulled off what so many people cannot do today, make you laugh without a swear word. She was good clean fun. To me, she was right up there with other great comedians such as Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Gracie Allen and Gilda Radner.
Diller’s career spanned over 50 years and included specials with Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan Show, and she hosted a TV talent show called “Show Street”. She then went to star in a comedy “The Pruitts of Southampton” but it was soon renamed ”The Phyllis Diller Show”. In 1968 she did a comedy-variety series called “The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show.” She was witty, she was outrageous she was the homemaker gone mad. That is what she had her audience believe, and the audience believed it till the day she died.
I remember seeing her on the show Laugh In and she always held this cigarette in a slender cigarette holder, said one-liners, and did her signature laugh and yelled “sock it to me.” For a while, Diller showed up everywhere on TV. She was just funny to watch and other comedians worked hard to imitate her.
I personally will miss Phyllis Diller. It is that ever reminder that the greats are going, and we are left to try to create new greats, but for me, so many of these great people, simple cannot be replaced, just remembered.