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1950s / The Comedy of Nichols and May
This is one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen. It's about as close to the mother-child relationship as you can get. Mike Nichols and Elaine May created perfectly improvised scenes that were outrageously funny, yet simply understated. Their dry wit and wry satire allowed them to lampoon faceless bureaucracy and such previously sacrosanct institutions as hospitals, politics, funeral homes, and even motherhood. Like other great comedy duos, Nichols and May perfectly complemented each other. They seemed so attuned and at ease with each other that the mis-communication they often based their skits on were all the funnier. Within a short while of arriving in New York, they were the talk of the town, appearing on The Steve Allen Show, introducing a nationwide audience to a humor unlike any on television. Nichols and May spent much of the next three years traveling the country performing together on stage, radio, and television. In 1960, "An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May" had opened on Broadway to rave reviews, but by 1961, Nichols and May would announce the end of their partnership. Interested in pursuing individual careers, the two left behind one of the most popular and imitated comedy acts of its time. Mike Nichols has directed and produced a variety of hit films, such as The Graduate, Silkwood, The Birdcage, Primary Colors, and The Remains of the Day. Elaine May is a two-time Academy Award nominated director, screenwriter, and actress.