78e: Buck Henry / The Grateful Dead
Buck Henry's Monologue
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen -- Buck Henry!
Buck Henry: Well, thank you very much, it is WONDERFUL to be back here. It's wonderful to be back for, I don't know, the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth -- whatever time it is that I'm doing it. [ the audience applauds ] And, uh -- these are the BEST people to work with in the world. Now, I'm not saying this, not because I've been here so many times, but because they are... they are dear friends of mine and I am in awe of them. And the fact that they recognize that I am someone that can come back time and time again, in order to entertain you, has nothing to do with that feeling on my part. It's simply my recognition, I think, that perhaps I lend a comedic sense to this show that is not easily gotten.
[ SUPER: "Sometimes when Buck does his monologue, we run words under him. This is called a "crawl"; it gives the audience something to think about while Buck is talking." ]
Buck Henry: I mean, you have comics who come on the show, and they tell jokes, they're aiming to make you laugh -- and you have comedians, actors who do comedy, comedy actors who perform. They do things that are immediately recognizable as mirth-provoking, as laugh-giving. My technique is somewhat different. I -- I don't want to lean on this, but I think the point is that I think funny. I think funny, and I can -- I believe I can recognize a humorous sitation when I see it. And I think that's my value to the show.
[ SUPER: "We had planned on writing a crawl for Buck earlier this week, but somehow something always seemed to come up. Besides, we were still exhausted from the last show with Steve Martin. We really pushed ourselves last week, but then, Steve is so great, it's worth all the effort." ]
Buck Henry: Even here now, just talking to you, obviously, I think it's possible for you to sense the humorousness in the situation of my simply telling you about comedy. Now, it's not that I -- I present myself as an expert any more than the people that do these things.
[ SUPER: "It's different with Buck. There's not all that pressure to do a "great show". He's not one of those perfectionists. He's low-key. Very low-key. For us, a Buck Henry show is sort of midway between a show and a week off." ]
Buck Henry: I think you have to understand that what I do is unique only in that it is ME doing it. It's not -- it's not that just anybody can stand here and do it. They have to understand that, each week, someone different comes out here and present to you a point of view, persona, a mode of behavior, if you will. I -- I could analyze it at some length.
[ SUPER: "Of course, next week the pressure starts all Carrie Fisher hosts. We're really excited about Carrie, and we've already started work. Some of us have seen STAR WARS six times this week! True! It really holds up. Watch." ]
[ footage from "Star Wars", as Buck continues to talk up in the left corner of the screen ]
Buck Henry: There are comics, as I've said... there are comedians... there are comedic forms of behavior... and, of course, there is a fourth type -- a clown. Now, the clown we can go into later -- that is a whole different comic aspect. That's a kind of person who does something that doesn't fit into the other categories. And I think the thing to understand is that each of these people, in their own way, can find a method for you to respond to something specific, something particular that they do, but something you can recognize as part of -- what can I call it? -- the, uh, human condition. Something that WILL keep you interested, AS you've been interested through my entire speech here tonight.
[ dissolve back to Buck alone on stage ]
Buck Henry: And it's not just because you're waiting for something to happen, it's not because I use tricks -- I don't.
[ SUPER: "OK, what do you think of this idea for the Carrie Fisher show:
STAR WHORES -- Carrie plays a hooker from outer space." ]
Buck Henry: I'm simply appealing to you, as human beings, talking to you as one person to another, so you can understand exactly -- [ the audience cheers at the above joke ] Exactly! That's exactly what I'm talking about! That kind of response! And I understand it, and I appreciate it!
[ SUPER: "Or, how about this:
CAR WARS -- It's like Star Wars only they drive cars." ]
Buck Henry: In the same way that you understand and appreciate what I'm trying to say to you.
[ SUPER: "Or, STAR BORES -- It's about celebrities who are really boring.
Actually, that would have been a nice one for Buck." ]
Buck Henry: Because there is no difference between entertainment and education and information. We're all part of the same subject, part of the same thing, and -- well. I just don't know what else to say about this, except that you've been very patient and very wonderful to listen to everything I've had to say on this subject. I hope you've learned, uh -- as much as I've learned from you. In the futire, when we're all here together again, I know we'll be able to talk more about this, and be able to deal with it on EVEN deeper levels! You're a fine, intelligent group.
[ SUPER: "If you liked any of the ideas for the Carrie Fisher show, or have some of your own, write to:
Ideas for Carrie
New York, N.Y.
We don't know the zip, but you can get it from the Post Office." ]
[ the audience applauds ]
Buck Henry: Thank you, uh -- we'll be right back after THIS message.