It’s a needless effort to remind everyone how awesome Phil Hartman was, but if we don’t take the time to recognize his unparalleled genius on occasion, today’s kids may replace him in comedy’s history books with Kevin James and Nick Cannon. Today’s reminder of just how awesome the legendary character actor was comes in the form of a letter that he wrote to an aspiring standup comic, Michael, who currently writes for the blog at Happy Fatties (sorry, but I can’t find the guy’s last name on the website).
The comic wrote a hand-written letter to Hartman in 1996, detailing his career ambitions and how Hartman inspired him, and he included samples of his work. Not surprisingly, for the guy that we’ve always been told that Hartman was, he responded.
Four months later I received my self-addressed, stamped envelope. Inside was a two-page (front and back) hand-written response from Phil. He gave me what I needed at the time: Constructive criticism, an honest assessment, and, most importantly, direction. This meant the world to me. A man that was THAT busy at the time (doing Newsradio, The Simpsons, commercials, films, and God-knows-what-else) took the time out to not only respond to my letter, but listen to the tape I sent him. It wasn’t lost on me, even at that age.
I don’t have anything else to add, other than Hartman was f*cking awesome – a rare and now extinct breed of comedy perfection. I could write a few thousand words on his influence and spectacular style, but thankfully Josh Kurp already did that for Warming Glow. Check out Hartman’s letter after the jump.