Bob Elliott died this week at 92. He was one half of the comedy team of Bob and Ray, sometime competitors with my father’s radio comedy team of Klavan and Finch. If my father was one of the progenitors of the kind of Morning Zoo radio exemplified by Howard Stern and others, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding’s more subtle, intellectual style was a forerunner of the quiet irony of comics like Seinfeld and David Letterman. In truth, Letterman’s best comedy was virtually a creation of Bob Elliott’s brilliant son Chris Elliott. [Update: I’m informed by those who should know that this is unfair to the many talented writers who worked with the young Letterman, and maybe to Letterman himself. That makes sense and I accept the correction. Like Andrew Breitbart, I was always a big fan of Chris and may have assumed too much.]
If you doubt Bob and Ray’s influence on comedy, first take a look at this wonderful “interview” with the president of Slow Talkers of America:
Then watch this trailer for Disney’s new animated feature Zootopia, opening next month:
Great stuff. Nice going, Bob Elliott. Rest in peace.