Conjuring Up Sid Caesar
By Keith Varnum
Love focuses attention. When you really love something, you are naturally pouring your interest and appreciation toward the object of your love. The driving core of this concern and care, on an electro-magnetic level, is creative life force. As our love flows toward the object of our love, the object is filled with our vital energy, enthusiasm and joy. This energetic connection to the object magnetically pulls the object into our sphere of experience. We attract that which we love. It becomes created within our world.
I love the humor of Sid Caesar, one of our culture’s most talented and observant comedians. I especially enjoyed the wild and batty characters he presented on his television show in the 1950s. One of my favorite caricatures was called “The Professor.” An exuberant, pompous man, The Professor pontificated in an exaggerated, self-absorbed way about scholarly subjects, using long words, complex phrases and complicated logic. In taking these qualities to the extreme and the absurd, Sid Caesar helped me to release the frustration and impatience of a lifetime of having to listen to people just like The Professor: my father, athletic coaches, countless school teachers, and many other authorities and experts.
It was almost time to break for lunch at a workshop I was conducting in New York City. To illustrate a certain point, I was describing to the group a particular bit of shtick Sid Caesar had done in the early days of television.
Playing The Professor, he lectured verbosely about his subject, as usual, using convoluted sentences and ridiculous reasoning. As he built up to a dramatic climax and was just about to make his main point, his tie—rigid and stiff—would flip up into his face. Each and every time the tie unceremoniously interrupted his presentation, the studio audience broke into gales of laugher. Knowing his tie was going to snap up in his face every time The Professor built to a crescendo, I laughed in anticipation along with the audience. We couldn’t wait for that tie to flip up into his face again. The more arrogant and pompous The Professor became, the more we anticipated his forthcoming humiliation. There was also a mild sexual undertone to the skit which, while never discussed, was always present in regards to the rigid, erect tie.
With unbounded respect and admiration for the humor of Sid Caesar, I acted out the skit for the group. To our shared delight, I was able to demonstrate the hilarity of The Professor, as well as convey the keen insight into human nature Sid Caesar possessed.
My good buddy and co-presenter Tobias was in the class. He grew up in Sweden and had never heard of Sid Caesar. My loving re-enactment stirred an acute curiosity in Tobias to know more about this icon of American comedy. The rest of the participants in the gathering had been raised on American television. Lunch forgotten for the moment, members of the group began to share their own fond memories of the beloved comedian with Tobias. Like me, several people even acted out their favorite routines. It ended up being a Sid Caesar “Love-In” as people remembered how much they looked forward to his performances on The Ed Sullivan Show and how much they treasured his talent and comedy.
We finally broke for lunch. Tobias and I decided to eat our meal in Central Park. As the elevator made its way to the main floor, Tobias mused aloud, “You know, I’d really like to meet this guy, Sid Caesar.”
I replied nonchalantly, “He probably lives in Hollywood, and I’m not even sure if he’s still alive.”
With an air of uncommon determination, Tobias countered, “No, I really must meet him. He sounds like a unique and wonderful man.”
Then, as we crossed the street bordering Central Park, I saw a stately gentleman coming toward us who looked exactly like Sid Caesar! I couldn’t believe my eyes. He appeared older than I remembered Mr. Caesar, but he bore an uncanny resemblance to the comedian. I whispered to Tobias, “You know, that man looks just like Sid Caesar.
Peering closely at the man approaching us, my friend—who had never seen Mr. Caesar in person or on television—pronounced in no uncertain terms, “He is Sid Caesar. I can tell.”
“No, it couldn’t be,” I responded incredulously.
Tobias’ solution was to find out for sure. We walked over to the stranger. Tobias introduced himself as being from Sweden. He asked the gentleman if he was Sid Caesar. Sure enough, he was! Not only did he not mind identifying himself, but Mr. Caesar was very willing to spend some time chatting animatedly with us. What a treat.
For ten minutes, we listened to jokes and stories, enjoying the man who was the same funny, friendly being we’d all talked about before lunch. Tobias’ wish was granted. He met Sid Caesar and experienced firsthand the joy, warmth, openness and humor of this extraordinarily gifted man.
Like vibration creates like vibration by attracting that which exists on the same wavelength or frequency. The vibration of our love pulled to it the object of our love. The affection and admiration we had poured into the personage of Sid Caesar vibrationally attracted his very real spirit to meet us in Central Park. What a magical and wondrous universe we live in!
This story is an excerpt from Keith’s latest book “Inner Coach: Outer Power”