Tom Davis, the nine-time nominated and two-time Emmy award-winning writing partner of Sen. Al Franken, has died.
Tom Davis, a writer who with Al Franken helped develop some of the most popular skits in the early years of "Saturday Night Live," died on Thursday at age 59.http://hosted2.ap.org/...
His wife, Mimi Raleigh, said he died of throat and neck cancer at his home in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City. He was diagnosed in 2009.
The New York Times:
In 1975, Mr. Davis, brilliant at improvisational comedy, and Mr. Franken, a whiz at plotting funny sequences, became two of the first writers on a new show called “Saturday Night Live,” which has lasted 37 years. (The two should actually be called one of the show’s first writers: they accepted a single salary of $350 a week. Each, singly, was called “the guys.”)http://www.nytimes.com/...
Mr. Davis never lost the quirky, original voice that helped shape the show, and in his last months he referred to death as “deanimation.” He deanimated on Thursday at his home in Hudson, N.Y., at age 59. The cause was throat and neck cancer, his wife, Mimi Raleigh, said.
With Mr. Franken and others, Mr. Davis helped create the clan of extraterrestrials known as the Coneheads, who attributed their peculiarities to having come from France.[...]
He and Mr. Franken were so close that Mr. Franken named his daughter Thomasin Davis. But the two broke up as a team in 1990 as Mr. Franken tired of his friend’s drug abuse. They reconciled a decade later, and Mr. Davis obliged his friend by publishing his all-too-candid autobiography [Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL from Someone Who Was There] only after Senator Franken was elected. In his book, Mr. Davis wrote, “I love Al as I do my brother, whom I also don’t see very much.”
In addition to his wife and his brother, Robert, Mr. Davis is survived by his mother, Jean Davis.
Sen. Al Franken and SNL producer, Lorne Michaels share their thoughts on Davis' passing:
Franken, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 to represent Minnesota after a long career in show business, remembered Davis as "a great friend, a good man, and so funny" and he called his death "a sad day for all of us who loved Tom."http://uk.reuters.com/...
In a statement, Franken said he had spoken with Davis' mother on Thursday "and she recalled fondly all the laughter that would come from the basement when Tom and I first got started in comedy."
Lorne Michaels, the creator of "Saturday Night Live," credited Davis with helping to get the long-running show off the ground.
"He was there from the beginning," Michaels said in a statement. "No one saw things the way that Tom did. He was funny, he was original and he was always there to help, no matter the hour. And I always trusted his laugh. I can still kinda hear it."
Jim Downey, a longtime writer for "Saturday Night Live" who began working with Davis in 1976, called him "a loyal friend, a generous and supportive collaborator, and utterly unthreatened by the success of talent of those around him."
"His old pals have known for some time that this day was coming, but still it's hard to accept that he's now no longer out there, somewhere, thinking those crazy thoughts that no one else would think."
One of the recurring sketches Davis helped create on the show was "Theodoric of York." It starred Steve Martin and was about a barber surgeon who relied on bloodletting to cure any ailment.http://uk.reuters.com/...
Theodoric of York (Season 3, Episode 18.)Full transcript of skit here: http://www.allthingsnow.com/...
Joan: You charlatan! You killed my daughter, just like you killed most of my other children! Why don't you admit it! You don't know what you're doing!
Theodoric of York: [ steps toward the camera ] Wait a minute. Perhaps she's right. Perhaps I've been wrong to blindly folow the medical traditions and superstitions of past centuries. Maybe we barbers should test these assumptions analytically, through experimentation and a "scientific method". Maybe this scientific method could be extended to other fields of learning: the natural sciences, art, architecture, navigation. Perhaps I could lead the way to a new age, an age of rebirth, a Renaissance! [ thinks for a minute ] Naaaaaahhh!
An excerpt from Tom Davis and Al Franken's classic parody of political ads:
Tagliani for Congress Committee (Season 4, Episode 3.)A transcript of the entire skit can be found at the link: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/...
Announcer: The following is a paid political announcement by the Tagliani for Congress Committee.
[ dissolve to Al as Tagliani, seated at desk ]
Pete Tagliani: Hi! I'm Pete Tagliani! I want you to help me unseat Winfield Adcock in the upcoming Fifth Congressional election, so I can go to Washington to slash taxes! Now, HOW am I gonna slash taxes? By making the FAT CATS pay their fair share! Now, I have here... [ he holds up a folder ] Winfield Adcock's 1968 tax return! A year in which he earned over $400,000... but paid... [ he looks ] twenty-six cents in income tax. Now this FAT CAT is RIPPING you off! And I say it's time we send a man to Washington... who's gonna work for the hardworking taxpayer like you! And I say... I'm that man. So vote for me: Pete Tagliani. You'll be glad you did!
[ fade to black, come up on "ADCOCK: He Hates High Taxes" screen ]
Announcer: The following is a paid political message by the We Need Adcock Committee.
[ dissolve to Tom as Adcock, seated in chair ]
Winfield Adcock: Hello. I'm Congressman Winfield Adcock, your reprsentative from the Fifth District, and this year I'm running for re-election. Already, my opponent, Pete [ purposefully mispronounced ] Tag-li-o-ni... has stooped to the lowest level of mudslinging, by accusing ME of financial misconduct. [ reaches for a folder marked EVIDENCE ] Well, I have here... documented evidence proving my innocence. It is indeed surprising to hear charges -- SCURRILOUS charges -- such as these, coming from a man who's himself of low moral character! Mr. Tag-li-o-ni controls all of the city's massage parlors and porno houses, a position he's gained through his lifelong connections with the mob and the recording industry! I say vote for me, Winfield Adcock! I hate high taxes!
[ fade to black, come up on Tagliani reading a law book, with SUPER: "TAGLIANI: Honesty and Integrity" ]
Pete Tagliani: [ he looks up ] Hi! I'm Pete Tagliani! My FAT CAT opponent, Winfield Adcock, has accused me of having ties with organized crime and the recording industry! Yuo know, charges of immorality seems strange coming from a man who is himself an ADULTERER! Now, I have here... pictures of my opponent engaged in sexual relations with my sister-in-law! [ reveal photo slides of Adcock naked in bed with woman ] My sister-in-law, Angelina Tagliani -- who, by the way, is happily married to my brother, Mario Tagliani. Now, do we want this SCOUNDREL embarrassing us?! Perhaps running around NUDE in the House of Represenatives? I don't think so! So vote for me, Pete Tagliani! You'll be glad you did!
Al Franken as Mick Jagger and Tom Davis as Keith Richards on Solid Gold.