Happy birthday, Albert Brooks - VIDEO
Albert Brooks turns 60 today.
Brooks is mostly known for his films (Defending Your Life, Modern Romance), but he was also a favorite guest of folks like Carson and Letterman back in the '80s. He never quite gained the notoriety of some of his contemporaries, but his reputation as a "comedian's comedian" and a little something called "actual talent" has kept him out of obscurity -- and deservedly so, because he's one of the smartest and funniest people working today, even if he is a few steps outside the limelight.
Younger folks know him best for his various guest roles on The Simpsons, one of which I've posted below along with an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman (in two parts).
Brooks was one of --if not the only-- guest star on The Simpsons who was allowed to ad lib a lot of his own dialogue, which I think speaks volumes for his ability as a writer, actor and comedian. A lot of funny people have appeared on The Simpsons, but I think very few would be afforded the kind of freedom Brooks has been. He also appears in the Simpsons Movie, which premieres this Friday.
I especially love the Letterman clip, because Letterman really seems to be enjoying himself. It's less of an interview and more like two making each other laugh. I've watched it all the way through and can't recall if Brooks was even pitching a movie, but I don't care. Some people are funny performers, but Brooks, as evidenced in his many late night appearances, is a genuinely funny person whether he's performing or just hanging out.