Let’s pour a little off the top in memory of Flip Wilson.
His NBC primetime variety show in the early ’70s was a huge hit, and occasionally it was quite hip. You’d see cutting-edge comedians such as Richard Pryor and George Carlin, but also titans of old-school show biz like Jack Benny and Lucille Ball.
There are some tasty bits floating around on YouTube. Blogger’s Video Bar pulled up the sampling you see in the upper right corner.
The Muhammad Ali clip seems to show off Flip’s quickness as an ad-libber. But the black-and-white clip is a special treat – a 1965 “Tonight Show” appearance in which Flip absolutely kills Johnny Carson (with a very old joke).
For more of Flip Wilson’s laidback ’60s nightclub act, click here to hear a routine called “The Bat.”
UPDATE (06/16/07): The Muhammad Ali/“Geraldine” clip is here. The black-and-white Johnny Carson clip is here.