Six Damn Fine Degrees #64: Madeline Kahn’s moments to shine

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Just like Alan (so charmingly revisited in last week’s post), one of my favourite comedies of all time is Peter Bogdanovic’s screwball delight What’s Up, Doc? (1972). Besides the great rapport between Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, the perfect sense for timing and the riotous chase up and down the streets of San Francisco, I was most in love with one supporting actress in particular, the lovely Madeline Kahn. Her role as O’Neal’s annoying fiancée Eunice could easily have been a thankless one as the target of our spite and schadenfreude. Kahn, however, infused it with so much comedic energy, her ear-piercing voice chasing after her soon-to-be lost fiancé “Howard!”, to the audience’s great enjoyment. She was not too fond of her role, however, caught in ugly frocks and atrocious wigs and constantly making a fool of herself, but she certainly left an impression on one man in particular: upcoming comedy director Mel Brooks.

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