Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour (1970)

TV Series   |    |  Comedy

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Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour (1970) Poster

Experimental sketch comedy.


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30 July 2009 | montepaulsen
Pat Paulsen Half a Comedy review
I recently reviewed all 13 episodes of the Pat Paulsen Half a Comedy Hour as part of a project to bring the series out on DVD. I may be considered biased in this review since I have a stake in the project, and am related to Pat Paulsen, but I will attempt to be as objective as possible, and invite readers to check and confirm the information I present here, which will be easy to do in the near future as the DVD collection becomes readily available to the general public.

My primary purpose in writing this review is to address what I believe to be inaccuracies or misconceptions I found in another review listed here.

Regarding the comments about Pat Paulsen being unable to memorize lines and glancing angrily off to stage right to read cue cards, well, that's patently silly. For one thing, cue cards (before TelePrompters) were always positioned just below the camera to give the most convincing eye-line possible. Cue cards were in fact used for this TV series, but were part of the plan from the beginning, since the taping schedule called for multiple shows filmed in a day, and a very short lead time between writing the skits and performing them. Hence, no time to memorize the lines, and no plans to do so. Most of the variety shows at the time were designed to incorporate cue cards. Many today are done so also, but now with TelePrompters it becomes less obvious. The reviewer may be thinking of other skits on other shows where Pat glances off stage during the skit. A notable occurrence can be found on YouTube during a performance in black-face on the Merv Griffin show. It is obvious from viewing the clip that the technique is used just to take up time during extended audience laughter.

As for the reviewer's comment about Pat's career foundering because of his inability to hide "his own extremely vicious personality," well... this seems way out of line for a review here. First of all, it's untrue and I'm not sure why the reviewer would presume to know the inner workings of someone's personality, especially someone the reviewer doesn't know. Yes, Pat sometimes assumed the manner of a grumpy fed- up politician, but this is called acting. He also played a bumbling dimwit at times, but no one who knew him ever considered him dumb. Finally, Pat's career continued to flourish throughout his life, with constant performances in stage plays (which of course require 2 or 3 hours of memorized dialog, with no use of cue cards), and stand up comedy, in which he was in high demand at comedy clubs and colleges well into the 1980's.

I'll leave alone the reviewer's comments on the series itself. I think they are fair assessments from his point of view. Other viewers will soon have the ability to see the series on DVD and judge for themselves. The reviewer certainly has his facts right, which puzzles me a little, considering this show has not been aired since 1970 as far as I know. I'll give the reviewer credit also for the pun in his review title. "We Can't Stand Pat," was a Pat Paulsen slogan from the 1968 campaign, made famous by Richard Nixon in one of his debates with John Kennedy, regarding American foreign policy. We Can't Stand Pat, indeed.

Update: November 2015 - Just for yuks, I finally did and internet search on "F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre" and found some interesting things.

Normally I wouldn't give someone like this much more thought, and as you can see, it took years for the idea to come to me. In light of his comments about a "vicious personality", it might be telling to note that Mr. MacIntyre "was arrested after a neighbor said he duct- taped her to a chair, shaved her head, and spray-painted her black. He wound up pleading guilty to third-degree misdemeanor assault." (quoted excerpt from Wikipedia).

There is plenty more information available online about Mr. MacIntyre, who killed himself in 2010 in a crazy episode, which you can read about yourself in a New York Times article.

I share some of this information on Mr. MacIntyre, all of which is publicly available and a matter of the record, not to disparage the man, but to add perspective to the validity of his comments. Like I said in the original review, I still believe his comments on the series are within the valid realm of IMDb's purpose. However his personal attacks, with no relevance or basis in actual reality, by someone whose life story is clouded with such incidences of violence, viciousness and mental illness, are something that I feel should be addressed and refuted. - MP

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Release Date:

22 January 1970



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