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RIP, Gene Wilder. 1933 - 2016.

I can't possibly articulate in any human language how important Gene Wilder was in my life.  But, dammit, I'll give it a try right here.  Willy Wonka was the very first character, for me, that combined humor with surrealism with unpredictability in a way that was both fun yet dangerous...providing for an absolutely exhilarating combination.  Even though I host my own shows on WRAT 95.9 and on Compound Media which delve into the world of comedy from time to time, I am certainly not a comedian.  I do not look up to stand-ups; nor do I have a Comedy Hall Of Fame in my heart.  My heroes are usually athletes, musicians, actors, writers, and directors.  Except Gene Wilder (and Steve Martin).  Gene was gloriously weird and fantastic.  Yes, he could be hilarious.  But there was also something in those Wilder eyes that made him seem unhinged and even scary (in a fantastically fun way).  He was the best...and will be missed.

- East Side Dave