Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Fred Willard

My first exposure to all around funny guy Fred Willard was from his appearances on the uncategorizable variety show Real People, which ran on NBC from 1979 to 1984; little did I know then that not only had he been a fixture in American comedy since 1963, but would continue to be watching him to this day...

PhotobucketWillard's first big exposure came through his involvement with famed comedy troupe The Second City; he auditioned for the ensemble alongside fellow legend Robert Klein. Willard's first television break came from sitcom pioneer Norman Lear, who cast him in Fernwood 2 Night, opposite longtime friend Martin Mull. He also hosted Saturday Night Live in 1978, the night the musical guest was Devo. He later guest-starred on Roseanne, playing Martin Mull's husband with his usual dumb, deadpan aplomb.

Lately, when not trading barbs with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, Willard has an enviable position in the company of players lucky enough to work with Christopher Guest, whose films - This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind - are winners all.
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