Comedian Jonathan Winters has died at 87. Winters was a pioneer in improvisational standup and the use of impressions in mini-skits within the monologue. He deeply influenced Robin Williams. Dana Carvey’s mix of impressions and irony seems to me also to stand in the Winters tradition. In many ways, our contemporary comedic sensibility owes a great deal to him.
About the Author
Juan Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment and Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He is author of, among many other books, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires. Follow him at @jricole.