Ernie Kovacs’ Kitchen Symphony


In the 1950s, American comedian and television personality Ernie Kovacs invented many of the tropes that still prevail today in TV comedy, including sketch comedy, conceptual comic films, and a tendency to ad-lib nearly everything.

Kitchen Symphony used a technique he deployed many times — animating common objects and setting them to music. The videotape was created from a live television performance for an ABC half-hour special broadcast in 1961. The popular opinion was often that his work was too weird and brainy, but he developed a cult following.

Ernie Kovacs was born in 1919 in Trenton, New Jersey, where his father (who had immigrated from Hungary) worked as both a cop and bootlegger during Prohibition. He died in Los Angeles in 1962, apparently trying to light one of his signature cigars while driving.

Enjoy this little bit of comic Americana, and think how much Monty Python and Saturday Night Live owe to Kovacs.

Thanks to Scott “Scooter” Pellegrino for the link.

Next: Ernie Kovacs makes fun of TV chefs …