Harry Shearer Quotes
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"I couldn't help but be struck that this guy I had thought was the embodiment of everything wrong with American politics, a lot of his domestic policy was mind-numbingly, head-spinningly to the left of Obama's. It was under Nixon that the EPA was created. It was under Nixon that OSHA was created. Under Nixon that the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were passed."
"I think in most cases, if you're with good people, comedy creation happens faster in collaboration. That's how I can tell if it's a good collaboration: If it's faster than me by myself, then it works. If it's slower than me by myself, then I get out of the room."
"I happened upon a memoir by a midlevel White House staffer, and he had been in the room that [Nixon's last] night [in office]. This guy's memoir told me what Nixon's last words were. And they were, on August 8, 1974, to the crew: "Have a Merry Christmas, fellas!" That was just so bizarre."
"Because I don't do stand-up, radio has always been my equivalent, a place to stay in connection with the public and force myself to write every week and come up with new characters. Plus it's a medium that – having grown up with it and putting myself to sleep with a radio under my pillow [as a kid] – I love. No matter what picture you want to create in the listener's mind, a few minutes of work gets it done."
"[The word class has] been excised from the acceptable political vocabulary, except in the limited usage of right-wingers when they accuse liberals of inciting 'class warfare' - a charge that means it's okay for rich people to vote their economic interests but it's not all right to encourage poor people to do so."
"When I was growing up, we learned our history almost as lives of the saints. And it came as a shock, "Oh, Jefferson had slaves?" It always comes as a shock to us that elevation to the White House didn't somehow cleanse them of all their deep character flaws."
"There were really funny characteristics about this guy [Richard Nixon], chief of which would be that he seemed to devote about 85 percent of his waking energy to suppressing any sign of his emotional response to anything that was going on around him, and the other 15 percent blurting out those authentic responses in the silliest and most inopportune ways. And he had these smiles that would come at the most inappropriate times - just flashes that there was an inner life screaming to get out."
"I've been doing Nixon pretty much my whole professional life. I was in this comedy group called the Credibility Gap in Los Angeles when he was president. I was doing Nixon on the radio, and when we did live shows I physicalized him - if that's a word - for the first time. And then I did a Nixon sketch on a very short-lived NBC show called Sunday Best."
"A movie script more than anything else is a plan of action for the crew. Everybody in the crew looks at the script to see what they're going to do. It has to contain where you are, and how many people are there, and what they do, and what time of day it is, and what time of year it is."
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