Harry Anderson: We Like Him But We’re Not Cool

We Love Ya, Harry

The Los Angeles Times (or as we call it in the hip world of news, “The L.A. Times”) features Harry Anderson post-Katrina.

As many loyal readers of Quinlan’s Inside Magic (or as they call it at The L.A. Times, “That Site”) know Mr. Anderson left the world of Hollywood for the only other place where there could be more parties, more booze, and more fun. 

The French Quarter welcomed Mr. Anderson as a prodigal son.  However a prodigal son would welcome someone, the Gospel wasn’t clear on that detail — it was more of the father and that indignant goodie-goodie brother welcoming the prodigal son back into the fold with a ring, new cloak, and fatted calf.

We digress but have done so in a manner to assure a higher ranking in Google when one is searching for “magic tricks and fatted calf.” 

Right now, our sister’s site is a top that search result but only because of the rude comments folks leave on her message board about her legs.

But just as Mr. Anderson returned to New Orleans, we shall return to the point of our story. 

The Big Easy — New Orleans not our sister — felt at home with a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously, has geniune talent, thinks on his feet, and smokes unfiltered Camels.  (And really, our sister isn’t that big — her ankles swell when she’s nervous.)

And if you’ve ever tried to shove a Camel through the eye of a needle, you know how much easier it it is without a filter.

Because The L.A. Times is cool and written for cool people who think they’re cool, it begins its trite throw-away article on a guy we really respect by explaining he was a bomb on stage during a recent appearance.

See, that’s because he’s not in L.A. where the cool people are. 

The writer diagrams and analyzes Mr. Anderson’s well-established (and we think funny) opening line. 

“That’s a lot of hoops for a one-liner, and in a crowd of 80, one man chuckled quietly. But that’s OK. With decades of magic and comedy behind him, Anderson, 53, isn’t trying to win over a crowd, not these days. He’s trying to help save New Orleans.”

The feature goes downhill quickly from the first critique. 

It points out Mr. Anderson is trying to bring together those affected by Katrina to rebuild the city and culture.

Well, that sounds cool.  So maybe the L.A. Times thought they were cool people.  Nope.

They are “a motley collection of advocates wearing tattoos, nose rings and plumed houndstooth hats.”  They are “a legislature of the strange and the dispossessed, and Anderson is the presiding officer.”

But see, it’s not like we should respect Mr. Anderson, says the L.A. Times.  No, his work is not to help others but himself. 

“Through it all, he’s trying to discern the future of a business empire that would only fly in New Orleans ? his club, his variety show and his two shops, the one with a statue of a guy in a lobster suit and the other decorated with the framed…

We Love Ya, Harry

The Los Angeles Times (or as we call it in the hip world of news, “The L.A. Times”) features Harry Anderson post-Katrina.

As many loyal readers of Quinlan’s Inside Magic (or as they call it at The L.A. Times, “That Site”) know Mr. Anderson left the world of Hollywood for the only other place where there could be more parties, more booze, and more fun. 

The French Quarter welcomed Mr. Anderson as a prodigal son.  However a prodigal son would welcome someone, the Gospel wasn’t clear on that detail — it was more of the father and that indignant goodie-goodie brother welcoming the prodigal son back into the fold with a ring, new cloak, and fatted calf.

We digress but have done so in a manner to assure a higher ranking in Google when one is searching for “magic tricks and fatted calf.” 

Right now, our sister’s site is a top that search result but only because of the rude comments folks leave on her message board about her legs.

But just as Mr. Anderson returned to New Orleans, we shall return to the point of our story. 

The Big Easy — New Orleans not our sister — felt at home with a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously, has geniune talent, thinks on his feet, and smokes unfiltered Camels.  (And really, our sister isn’t that big — her ankles swell when she’s nervous.)

And if you’ve ever tried to shove a Camel through the eye of a needle, you know how much easier it it is without a filter.

Because The L.A. Times is cool and written for cool people who think they’re cool, it begins its trite throw-away article on a guy we really respect by explaining he was a bomb on stage during a recent appearance.

See, that’s because he’s not in L.A. where the cool people are. 

The writer diagrams and analyzes Mr. Anderson’s well-established (and we think funny) opening line. 

“That’s a lot of hoops for a one-liner, and in a crowd of 80, one man chuckled quietly. But that’s OK. With decades of magic and comedy behind him, Anderson, 53, isn’t trying to win over a crowd, not these days. He’s trying to help save New Orleans.”

The feature goes downhill quickly from the first critique. 

It points out Mr. Anderson is trying to bring together those affected by Katrina to rebuild the city and culture.

Well, that sounds cool.  So maybe the L.A. Times thought they were cool people.  Nope.

They are “a motley collection of advocates wearing tattoos, nose rings and plumed houndstooth hats.”  They are “a legislature of the strange and the dispossessed, and Anderson is the presiding officer.”

But see, it’s not like we should respect Mr. Anderson, says the L.A. Times.  No, his work is not to help others but himself. 

“Through it all, he’s trying to discern the future of a business empire that would only fly in New Orleans ? his club, his variety show and his two shops, the one with a statue of a guy in a lobster suit and the other decorated with the framed skeletal remains of a cat named Fluffy.

“Anderson’s charisma and an unusual skill set ? magic and comedy, along with picking pockets, piercing his arm with long needles and playing Beethoven on a recorder through his nostril ? helped give him a serendipitous career.”

Serendipitous means lucky, we think; not planned, not probable.

Why wasn’t Mr. Anderson on Night Court for 9 years? Wasn’t he also on Cheers and Dave’s World?

Sure, but he was “playing variations of the same character.”  He should have turned down those very successful roles to play characters not sought by the major networks.  Perhaps he could have been a disgruntled feature writer for a major metropoliltan daily — no, that would be too depressing. 

The story ends with Mr. Anderson in a quandry as to whether he’ll remain in New Orleans:

“I’ll give it a shot. But I don’t know that a year from now I’m going to be here. Nobody does,” he said. “There are going to be some changes, and whatever happens, this city is never going to be what it was. In the meantime, if you don’t get involved, it will all be swept out from under you. So I’m doing what I can.”

We often wonder where the condescending, self-important writers of tomorrow are breeding. After all, we won’t be here to fill that niche forever. 

This article gives us hope. 

Okay, it doesn’t bring hope that Mr. Anderson will remain in his new home or the people of New Orleans will be heard in their apparently unreasonable demand to return their lives to normalcy as promised.

But we know, in our darkened heart, there are writers out there with the kind of dogged determination necessary to make a perfectly good story about an important issue nothing more than a diatribe against those who are different or outside the in-crowd. 

As our sister often slurs, “if you can’t make fun of strangers, who can you make fun of?”

We’re going to go bite someone to get this bitter taste out of our mouth but first we’ll have to put our dentures back in.

   

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