Jimmy Durante was my favorite performer. He played piano with vitality and “voive.” He gargled songs with a soulful simplicity. He wrestled with multi-syllabic verbiage, and lost. He had sparkling eyes, a child-like innocence, and a smile could illuminate the universe. Durante was a lovable mutt. With a gigantic shnoz.
The “Great Durante” also uttered the most honest summarization of writers I ever heard.
I don’t know the name of the movie, but in it, Durante’s character co-starred on a radio show with the Mexican spitfire, Lupe Velez.
On the street, Jimmy bumps into a friend, who congratulates him on the new writer who’s been hired for the show.
“I hear he’s a genius,” the friend enthuses.
To this, Durante replies:
“They’re all geniuses. Until they write something. Then they stink up the place.”
Sad but often true. The only comforting part is that Durante’s hilarious indictment was concocted by a writer.