A few weeks ago, this old man appeared on an episode of Parks & Recreation as Ned Jones, the President of Pawnee Seniors United. While this man may not be recognizable to most, he is actually a comedy legend who has won multiple Emmys, Grammys, and even the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for comedy. So who is this man you ask? Looks like it's time for another edition of Who Dat Ninja?
This man is none other than the great Carl Reiner. Carl Reiner began his career as an actor, playing the straight man to the crazy Sid Cesar on the 1950's variety show Your Show of Shows:
After Your Show of Shows ended, Reiner used his experience on the show to create the wildly successful Dick Van Dyke Show. The show starred Dick Van Dyke (obviously) as Rob Pettrie, a comedy writer for a fictional variety show called The Alan Brady Show. (Liz Lemon anyone?) Carl Reiner not only created and wrote for the show, but also played the occasional role of the show's talent Alan Brady. Here is a classic episode which features Carl Reiner as Alan Brady, where's Rob's wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) reveals to the world that Alan wears a toupee:
Carl Reiner also teamed with with comic filmmaker Mel Brooks (who wrote for Your Show of Shows) to create the classic "2,000 Year Old Man" comedy routine. Reiner and Brooks used to improvise the routine backstage at Your Show of Shows, and then started performing it for friends at parties. The routine became so successful, that they released 5 albums, the last of which won a Grammy Award for best comedy album. In the routine, Reiner again played the straight man, interviewing Mel Brooks who claimed to be a man who was 2,000 years old.
Reiner has also had much success in film, writing and directing many films, many of which were for Steve Martin, such as Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Man with Two Brains, and most famously, The Jerk. He has acted in many films as well, most notably in the Oceans trilogy as Saul Bloom:
Carl Reiner is also the father of Rob Reiner, who starred on All in the Family and directed such classic films as The Princess Bride, This is Spinal Tap, and When Harry Met Sally... (Carl's wife, Estelle Reiner, delivered the famous "I'll have what she's having" line in the film).
And that's Carl Reiner, the guy who plays the President of Pawnee's Seniors United on Parks & Rec. Today also happens to be Carl Reiner's 90th birthday, so Happy Birthday Carl!