Eugene Levy (born this day in 1946) has the funniest eyebrows in show business. He only has to move one of them to make me helpless with laughter. I think of him as a sort of comedy judo master — he knows all the pressure points to touch in order to disarm you, maybe cripple you. I was a worshipful devotee during the principal years of SCTV‘s NBC run 1981-1984 (in fact, there exists video of me doing many comedy characters I used to do during my stand-up act, which in retrospect are embarrassingly derivative of Levy. So, no, you won’t be seeing that.) It briefly seemed like he would follow his SCTV castmates Rick Moranis, John Candy and Catherine O’Hara to movie stardom in the mid-80s, with his appearances in Splash (1984) and Armed and Dangeous (1986), but then he vanished for like a decade.
I was ecstatic when he returned in the mid 90s with the Christopher Guest movies (less “ecstatic” about the American Pie franchise, but happy to see him enjoy well-deserved fame and success).
For more on the history of comedy don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc. To find out more about the variety arts past and present (including tv variety), consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.