Mike Nichols died last week. Along with his work as a film director on such iconic films as The Graduate, Catch 22, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff and his theatrical directing of Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple—to name just a few— he also created the Midnight Special (creating its moniker as well) in 1953 along with Norm Pellegrini on WFMT when he was here in Chicago working with the Compass Players (forerunner of Second City). (By the way, The Midnight Special is still running with the same format of folk music, satire, and a potpourri of audio tidbits). He has won Emmys, Oscars, Grammys, and Tonys.
My fondest memories of him, however, was his work with Elaine May. I listened to their album Mike Nichols & Elaine May Examine Doctors over and over again when I was young. Their mostly improvised comedy routines still keep me laughing. There is an organic simpatico, relational ease, and impeccable timing between them that is compelling to listen to.
Let these comedy routines stand as an honor to the many creative accomplishments in his life.