NPR logo

Lessons In Humility From A Chicago Kid Called Harold Ramis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/284112809/284338449" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Lessons In Humility From A Chicago Kid Called Harold Ramis

Lessons In Humility From A Chicago Kid Called Harold Ramis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/284112809/284338449" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Harold Ramis used to call me now and then, not to promote any project. The man behind "Groundhog Day," "Analyze This," "SCTV" and "Caddyshack" hardly needed to. And he certainly didn't call for my opinion on anything, except the Cubs. Harold called to ask how he could get hold of someone he'd heard on the air so he could tell them great story. He remembered, especially in times of such bombast and snickering, how much compliments can mean to people.

Harold Ramis was in the first Second City company I ever saw, when I was in high school - the same school he'd attended years before, in fact - and he was onstage alongside John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Dan Akroyd. I'm the one in that group, he said, that people called, you know, what's his name, curly-haired guy. One of the reasons Harold lived in Chicago, he said, was to see himself as the kid who made deliveries for his father's North Side liquor store, even as he'd become - as he would never put it - one of the most influential writers and directors in the history of comedy.

Harold Ramis came back onstage for a Second City reunion in December 2010. It was just before he was struck with the autoimmune disease that would claim his life this week at the age of 69. Catherine O' Hara, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Martin Short and Eugene Levy, big stars and old friends, sat around Harold Ramis to hear a man who had learned a lot about how to keep the show of life going.

HAROLD RAMIS: A great rabbi story. You start a note - start each day with a note in each pocket. And one note says the world was created just for me today, and the other note says I'm a speck of dust in a meaningless universe.

(LAUGHTER)

RAMIS: And keep them both 'cause neither is true and both are true. So, in a way my career has been completely self-aggrandizing. I'm the most pumped up and grandiose person in the world and I'm still the same, like, humble schmuck I was when I started. I have no confidence and yet there is this body of work that exists behind me that seems to say that I did do something. You know, I feel like I'm starting today on a new career looking for that next piece of work that's going to be exciting, that's going to mean something to me and that I'm going to enjoy and do it with people that I can really love and respect.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Harold Ramis at Second City. You're listening to NPR News.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.