All of us little kids of 1950s Detroit, where he got his first break on a local lunchtime TV show, loved him. Now, watching some old Youtube videos from those days, I see that he was basically a Borscht Belt comedian cracking himself up doing old shtick, lots of it with a blue tinge that flew way over our heads. Well, what did we know? Except that he took a pie in the face better than anyone, and that the Soupy Shuffle cracked us up.
It feels pretty silly to end a week that was focused mostly on John Brown and crucially important historic events by plunging into nostalgia over a dead Vaudevillian and how his generation that my generation grew up laughing at is now mostly gone, but what can I say? Consistency is one of my virtues, except when it's not.