Photos by Danny Gallagher
The great comedians know that they don't have to create fiction, they simply have to pluck out the insane bits of a world trying to wrestle with its sanity and present it in the way a carnival barker would just before he pulls back the curtain to reveal some horrid mistake of human nature.
Actor and comedian Harry Shearer is one such performer, obsessed with presenting the raw, naked truth of politics and media whether it's the invasiveness of reality TV when he helped write director Albert Brooks' first movie Real Life or the inefficient preparation and inhumane response that led to massive flooding in New Orleans with his documentary The Big Uneasy. Even This is Spinal Tap, the seminal rock comedy movie that launched the mockumentary genre, sprang from real moments.
"We didn't make anything up in that movie," Shearer says atAMS Pictures headquarters in Dallas. "It was stuff that either happened to us or people we knew. Editing reality to get the good part is sort the ideal version of my job."
The Spinal Tap and Simpsons star recently turned his sharp eye for the satirical to one of American history's characters who always seemed to good to be real, former President Richard M. Nixon, for a new web series for My Damn Channel called Nixon's the One. He'll premiere the series tonight at the Angelika Film Center as part of the Dallas VideoFest where he'll receive the festival's Ernie Kovacs Award.More »