My heart feels like these masks tonight. Empty.
Look, I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up your ass and pretend that Dom DeLuise got the respect he deserved. Nor am I going to say Dom DeLuise was nothing more than Burt Reynolds' punching bag. So what if some of his funniest work happened to be pulled out of the trash can sitting next to Hal Needham's Steenbeck. The man did for end credit outtakes what Hitler did for antisemitism. He was just that good.
Dom DeLuise was hilarious in the small parts he did throughout his career (Blazing Saddles), but he was never as good as when he worked with Burt Reynolds. Movie folk like to throw around the term "chemistry," but that doesn't apply to Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. To say they had chemistry would mean they were going for something beyond just showing up for work. The great thing is when they showed up for work comedy gold was forged. Burt and Dom simply liked each other and it showed when they were on screen together. Neither one of them could give a shit less what the audience thought, they were just having fun. And let's face it, Burt Reynolds is not a naturally gifted comedian; all he did from about 1975 to around 1983 was recite his lines and look pretty. His best comedic gag was looking at the camera and smiling. Don't get me wrong, it worked, and I, like millions of other people, fucking ate it up. However, if you added (and Hal Needham, in all his unpretentious genius, recognized this) a tablespoon of Dom DeLuise, it was as good as, if not better than, three car crashes or five explosions. Burt needed Dom to make him funny.
I miss Dom DeLuise. I miss him not only because he and Burt Reynolds made me laugh, but because I fear his legacy of unprofessional ridiculousness may be lost forever. Can anyone fill his shoes?