Playhouse 90: The Comedian (1957)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Drama  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |  
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Rod Serling wasn't telling whom he based the leading character of his TV play The Comedian upon, but sharp-eyed viewers could detect traces of everyone from Milton Berle to Red Buttons. Mickey Rooney stars as a top-rated television comedian who is all love-and-kisses when before the cameras but a flaming mass of vitriol towards his coworkers. Rooney's beleaguered head writer Edmond O'Brien worries that he's on the verge of being fired, so he steals an old piece of material from a long-dead comic for Rooney's opening monologue. Meanwhile, Rooney's brother Mel Torme, fed up with being the public butt of the comedian's jokes, is goaded into an on-camera revenge. Throwing out his original intention of having the vicious Rooney get his comeuppance, Serling ends The Comedian with Rooney still dispensing nastiness to one and all, and with Torme sobbingly accepting his lot in life; O'Brien, at least, is afforded a happier denouement. Originally telecast live on Playhouse 90 on February 14, 1957, The Comedian won an Emmy as "best single program"; a kinescope of the telecast is currently available on videocassette.

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Keywords

family, comedian, life