The topic of the MT Award comes up every year. Some (like me) enjoy the
shows and like having Twain remembered as the preeminent humorist in
American history, which I believe is the spirit of the award. Some believe
it desecrates the memory of this great novelist and essayist, by forgetting,
in other words, his many other great achievements besides humor.
I really liked the show and very much applaud the career of Billy Crystal.
In fact, if you had watched to the end, you would have noted that Crystal
did an homage briefly to the master himself--he sat in a rocking chair and
mimiced what he considered Twain might have sounded like.
The AFI is far too serious about itself to take these kinds of performers
seriously, in general. That's too bad. Guys like DeNiro and Pacino
certainly deserve lifetime achievement awards; but what about the Steve
Martins and Richard Pryors and Billy Crystals of the world?? That is where
the MT Award comes in.
I think as long as we recognize that the award is for an illustrious career
in comedy, then it is really a neat thing. We are awarding these folks for
making us laugh, and hard, over a lot of years. Personally, I have loved
pretty much everything Crystal has done, and several of his films -- such as
the greatly underrated classic "Mr. Saturday Night"--are among my favorite
movies. Way to go, Billy.
Harold K. Bush
Saint Louis University