And I don’t refer here to his humor, his lifestyle, or even his hair.
Leslie Nielsen never produced an original piece of humor in his life. All of his jokes were stolen from my friend Karl and me, from stuff we did back in middle school. But, I do have to give Nielsen credit for getting that garbage produced so others could enjoy it.
Nielsen, of course, is famous for his Naked Gun series, starring OJ. Simpson. Which just goes to show you that his casting director was not named Claire Voyant. But I have to say one of my favorite productions of his was Wrongfully Accused, written and/or directed by a former student at my wife’s former High School, Columbia Heights. The subject of that movie is a plot to kill the Pope when he visits the Columbia Heights, Minnesota Scottish Festival. Wrongfully Accused rightfully parodies no fewer than 87 different movies, though you’d have to watch it several times to spot them all. The Fugitive, Presumed Innocent, Bergman’s Silent Spring and of course Citizen Kane are among them, but I’ll not reveal more, else it might spoil the plot. I have yet to meet a Minnesotan who has actually seen this movie which does such a great job at making fun of them.
In fact, have a look at this scene:
If you knew the state, you’d be rolling on the floor laughing your lutefisk loving ass off about now. Wayzata! Hilltop!!! Hahahahahaah!!!!!
It’s not possible to drive across the landscape and see a large roundish propane fueling station with a red light on top without thinking of Leslie Nielsen’s over the top, babyish sophomoric humor. Bevis and Butthead were mere cartoon characters compared to him. And now that I think about it, maybe having OJ SImpson cast as Nordberg was a pretty good idea after all… I’m remembering the baseball stadium scene with the wheelchair, the stairway, and the queen of england. Actually, it’s the last scene in the following collection:
Nielsen’s look is what counted. Sometimes his look told you his (character’s) subconscious just realized that something he just did is the cause of all the mayhem. Sometimes his look tells you that he gets it, and is quietly going to the next thing on the agenda, Chief Wiggum style, ” … nothing more to see here, boys, let’s just move along…” and other times the shock and horror is plastered on his face.
And, as PZ Myers has pointed out, Leslie Nielsen has played other roles as well, including Commander Adams in Forbidden Planet. Like that really matters or something.
We won’t miss Leslie Nielsen at all. He totally ruined humor by letting out all the secrets of seventh grade adolescent boy mentality. But anyone who knows his work will be a little sad, now that he’s passed on, that there will be no opportunity in the future to sue him for the damage to our collective psyche that is Police Academy.
Good bye, Leslie William Nielsen, OC (February 11, 1926 – November 28, 2010).