Has the death of Harold Ramis left the world a less funny place? MSNBC's "Morning Joe" explored the issue this morning, as NBC News political director Chuck Todd led the show in a discussion of how grievously unfunny the New York Times obituary of Ramis was. Chuck Todd is an expert on what is and is not funny. Here, for devoted students of comic technique, is a transcript of Todd's remarks:
CHUCK TODD: Can you imagine what Harold Ramis would say, that the New York Times called him an "alchemist"?
CHORUS: [Laughter] Yeah-ha-ha!
CHUCK TODD: I mean, that's, only the New York Times, like, they can somehow make comedy less funny.
CHORUS: That's good, Chuck, that's good.
CHORUS: That's right.
CHUCK TODD: I mean, Ramis would have been absolutely, like, he'd be roaring about how the Times, uh, was talking about him this morning.
CHUCK TODD: I tell you, my great memory of Animal House for me is that was the first movie I ever saw on Betamax
CHORUS: Oh yeah.
CHUCK TODD: It was like you know, my parents rented it and I was like, oh, man—
CHUCK TODD: —I can't wait and, Betamax, think about watching that sucker on Betamax, I thought I had seen, Animal House was like, the greatest discovery, I just thought, ohmygod.
CHORUS: You remember those buttons, they were so heavy, like to stop it, you had, you had to have like, two hands to push the button down to hit stop
CHORUS: Our family—
CHUCK TODD: Well and then just to get that whole thing in—
CHORUS (pantoming video-cassette insertion, with sound effects): Errrrrrrrrr—kk-kkick!
CHUCK TODD: —and then push it down, it would pop up, and push it down.