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Pachy's avatar

Will you join me in sending a fond farewell to comedian Bob Elliot?

Asked by Pachy (18592points) February 4th, 2016

The recently departed deadpan comic Bob Elliot, father of goofy comic-actor Chris Elliot, was exactly half the great comedy team of Bob and Ray. Extremely funny and popular, B&R never achieved super-stardom. But for decades they had a large and faithful following, and Lord their radio, TV and commercial work was great, both funny and sweet, though probably more appealing to those of us of “a certain age” for whom today’s often mean-spirted comedy is a bit grating.

As a young man working in NYC during B&R’s radio heyday, I (or rather my recorded voice) turned up on their local show in the form of a testimonial commercial I had done for my then-employer, the New York Herald Tribune. I didn’t hear it myself, but friends told me the pair had a field day poking gentle fun at my Texas drawl.

If you’re not familiar with this wonderful team (Ray died in 1990) or if you’d like to remind yourself how funny they were, listen to one of their classic bits called Slow Talkers of America, which I keep on my iPod.

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10 Answers

filmfann's avatar

Bob and Ray were hysterical! Masters of comic timing and social mockery. Definitely underappreciated!

stanleybmanly's avatar

Bob and Ray were idols of mine when I was growing up and remain so in my old age. I think they are the wittiest 2 man comedy team to ever confront a microphone. They’re absolute icons and irreplaceable

ibstubro's avatar

I have to admit that I saw notice of Bob’s death, looked at recent pictures and a brief bio, and determined he was before my time.

Well, his prime was before my time, but his comedy certainly wasn’t. I noticed this question (failed to ask it myself), saw a bit on NPR, and started to remember bits that Bob had done, and clips of Bob and Ray that I’s seen.
Geniuses. I wish Bob’s passing had started more of a revival…they’re just as funny today. Prairie Home Companion revived part of the Komodo Dragon bit this week, and by then I recognized it.
I even remember seeing him and Chris together.

If there’s an afterlife, I’m certain that the Bob and Ray reunion was a low-key affair. :-)

Pachy's avatar

Well, even a mere four people make a great Bob and Ray fan club.

In the slow words of Harlow P. Whitcomb, president of the Slow Talkers of America…

“Thank… each… of… you… for… joining… me…”

ibstubro's avatar

The Komodo Dragon bit is more true with every passing digital age sound bite.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The thing so extraordinary about Bob & Ray was that they were acknowledged universally as the absolute best by everyone in both the comedy and broadcast business. But for the life of me I can’t understand why it is that they never garnered that megabuck bling and sensationalist hype. They just sort of chugged away in the background. I play their bits at my wife and kids, and get comments like“clever” and “what’s the big deal?”. It just shows how differently we all must be stacked.

Pachy's avatar

@stanleybmanly, I think perhaps their sweet, understated humor was either a bit before or after it’s time except in the ears of their most loyal followers. That said, the advertising stuff they did was hugely popular.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think the routines they put out might be a great deal more sophisticated than someone casually listening is likely to pick up.

Pachy's avatar

Totally agree. Take Slow Talkers of America. I still laugh all the way through every time I listen to it, but a lot of people would find it boring, if they listened to it at all.

ibstubro's avatar

The Smother’s Brothers were big when I was a kid, and, as I remember it, they were Bob and Ray updated for TV.

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