Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Calvert DeForest, 1921-2007

Just heard on the news that Calvert DeForest, the guy that played Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's late night shows (you know - back when Dave was actually FUNNY) passed away today after a long illness.

DeForest's old appearances on Late Night used to crack me up. It was obvious that he had no idea what the hell he was talking about half the time, yet could milk laughs out of even the silliest concepts. Who can forget the fake commercials for "Larry 'Bud' Melman's Toast-On-a-Stick", or the nonsensical ones for "Melman Bus Lines".

There was one old Late Night where Dave put "Larry" in the basement of the Port Authority Bus Terminal to greet "travelers" as they arrived in New York City. Of course, only COMMUTERS come in the bottom floor...well, the results are intentionally and unintenrionally hilarious. Watching "Larry" hand out hot towels to weary travelers in Port Authority. Classic.

Another gem was putting "Larry" in a huge bear suit and sending him out in the street to hug people. The results were about what you could expect on the streets of NYC. Every second that ticked by was a potential train wreck waiting to happen.

DeForest's last appearance on Late Show was in 2002 on his 81st birthday.

Little known fact: Calvert's paternal great uncle, Lee DeForest, was a radio pioneer who in 1906 invented the Audion tube, also known as the triode, which made large-scale broadcasting commercially feasible - and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

Rest in peace, funny man. You'll be missed.

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