Humorous enterprise: How Ivan Reitman helped change the face of comedy

On Feb. 12, Canada lost one of its most beloved filmmakers, Ivan Reitman. Arriving in Toronto as a refugee from Czechoslovakia when he was 4 years outdated, Reitman left behind a profound legacy when he died in his sleep at age 75.

From his beginnings within the wild world of Canadian sexploitation and horror motion pictures of the ’70s (producing, amongst them, early David Cronenberg movies), Reitman ultimately made his greatest influence in a extra benign style. “Ivan was a extremely integral piece of the comedy revolution of the ’70s and ’80s when this new type of underground comedy was popping out of ‘Saturday Evening Stay,’ Nationwide Lampoon journal, and Second Metropolis in Chicago and Toronto,” says Esquire columnist and film critic Chris Nashawaty.

Nashawaty, who interviewed Reitman for his e book “Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story,” says he performed a vital function in bringing some extraordinary expertise to the movie world.

In late 1974, round a 12 months earlier than this picture was taken, Reitman went to see his pal Gilda Radner in a touring Nationwide Lampoon revue in Toronto, with a solid that additionally included John Belushi and Invoice Murray, in addition to future SCTV stars Joe Flaherty and Harold Ramis. “Ivan informed me it was like grabbing on to an electrical wire,” says Nashawaty. “It was the primary time in his life that he felt like he was watching comedy that spoke to him and his technology, and he knew proper then that he needed to be part of it.”

Reitman, who had theatrical expertise, instantly reached out to Nationwide Lampoon writer Matty Simmons and pitched himself to supply the present Off Broadway. “Ivan thought he had discovered his method into working with this new technology of expertise,” Nashaway says. “And he had at the back of his thoughts, ‘I’m going to place these guys in a ton of films and we’re going to be the subsequent large factor.’”

Although Reitman was clearly smitten with this group, the sensation was not mutual, no less than at first.

“The primary day Ivan confirmed up, he walked into the room the place the entire solid have been rehearsing,” Nashawaty says. “It was a chilly day, and he took of his parka, hat, scarf and mittens and laid them down in a chair. Invoice Murray took one have a look at him and put every article of clothes again on Ivan, walked him over to the door, opened the door and closed the door behind him.

“They didn’t need this outsider telling them what to do,” he provides. “They didn’t know if he knew comedy. He seemed like a sq..”

Reitman informed Nashawaty he was so terrified he couldn’t muster the braveness to return for just a few days. However he ultimately gained the performers over and helped to make them family names by way of movies he produced, reminiscent of “Animal Home,” in addition to these he directed, like “Meatballs” (Murray’s breakout function) and the 1984 mega-hit “Ghostbusters.”

Reitman could have been a sq., however he knew methods to translate their irreverence from backroom comedy golf equipment to mainstream Hollywood. “These comedians have been like whirling dervishes, they usually wanted somebody to harness them,” Nashawaty says. “They wanted somebody who was accountable to tether them to actuality. He was just like the guardian in a method.”


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are topic to the Code of Conduct. The Star doesn’t endorse these opinions.


Leave a Reply