He’s why I’m here. On this website. This quote of his is one I have adopted as well,
“I couldn’t wait for success so I went ahead without it.”
When I was a small child, I would watch Jonathan’s TV show. While I did not understand all the jokes, I understood enough to fall over laughing. And when he was handed a prop to improvise with, I was mesmerized. What magic! What amazing feats of instant brilliance. I wished I could marry him. But I was only 7. And he was already married.
One evening he made a joke about being “horny.” I asked my parents why they were laughing so hard and what “horny” meant. Well, they did not tell me. I was slightly miffed with Jonathan for telling a joke that was over my head. But I got over it.
I would be hungry for appearances of Jonathan. When they came, it was like one of those magical rain showers that cause flowers to instantly bloom and butterflies and hummingbirds to fly about your garden afterward. His gifts were a feast for my soul.
When I learned that I could do similar things in improvisation workshops, well, hons, I ran as fast as I could. I was good at it too! Though timing was not good for me to figure out how to overcome a harsh industry’s rejection of funny women. This is what makes people like Phyllis Diller, Moms Mabley, Totie Fields, Joan Rivers and the like, rare gems with nerves of steel, bodies by Fisher, tongues by Gillette. And my heroes.
I would never have thought to try this without having seen Jonathan Winters over my lifetime and seeing the joy and playfulness and sheer pleasure that danced over his entire being as he worked. He’s inspired so many others. What a gift he was to us.
Now he’s gone. Bye Daddy Jonathan. Lucky angels.