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  • Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. "Is the World Funny?"
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Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. "Is the World Funny?"


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Editorial Reviews

Taped on July 7, 1967.
The exchanges are frustrating at times, Mr. Marx being so relentlessly, well, Groucho. But it's fun and sometimes illuminating to see this mythic figure on someone else's turf. (The answer to the title question, by the way is: No, it's damned sad.) Marx: "I have said the things that no one else has dared to say." Buckley: "Why? Why?" Marx: "Because the audience loves it." Buckley: "All right." Marx: "If you have a general, like I had General Bradley on the quiz show--nice man, very nice man; might even conceivably be a good general--well, I kidded him all through the show and the audience loves that because they don't get a chance to do that to mayors or politicians or bank presidents..." Buckley: "But it's very healthy, isn't it?" Marx: "Yes, it is. There's not enough of it."
Summary by Firing Line staff.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Groucho Marx
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: WOR-TV (New York, N.Y.)
  • DVD Release Date: April 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003GXE9QE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,122 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By internech on June 7, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
You can't get a straighter straight man than William F. Buckley or a wiser wiseguy than Groucho Marx, so their discussion on Firing Line is worth watching if you like either man. Can you imagine anyone other than Groucho calling. Buckley "Willy"?

There's also a moderator that Groucho teases in the friendly manner Groucho used on George Fenneman during the "You Bet Your Life" television show. In addition, you see a serious side of Groucho, such as his relating the story of his USO tours during WWII and having to perform comedy acts for wards of wounded servicemen who had lost arms and legs.

I've seen Groucho on Cavett and with Murrow (Person-to-Person); This is a worthy addition to the Groucho TV interviews.

I
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Popke on June 30, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Very interesting. A different side of Groucho. He is smarter than I thought and very human. Worthwhile viewing and hearing the repartee between two very different people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mr. president on March 22, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Two verbal acrobats spar from their corners of political thought and entertainment with a hapless straight-man foil in between. Numerous points and ideas are dropped and left behind along the way but the fun is seeing a time capsule of legendary conversants drawn to and stymied by each other's unfamiliar milieus. Worth a look by fans of either.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on October 18, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I started watching Firing Line in college, but I had first heard about the Groucho Marx episode around the time that Firing Line was ending in 1999. I believe Buckley was telling a reporter that Groucho was one of his hardest interview subjects and he made it sound more adversarial than the episode seems 45 years later. Groucho and Bill talk TS Eliot, Emerson, Shakespeare, and W. Somerset Maugham. Groucho tells Bill that Maugham's friends called him Willie and then calls Bill Willie the rest of the show.

The backstory is that Groucho agreed to appear on the episode because he and Bill shared a mutual friend, Morrie Ryskind. Ryskind was a writer on a number of Marx Brothers movies in the 1930s and he also wrote for Buckley's National Review during the early years of the magazine. Ryskind talks about both men in his great autobiography, I Shot an Elephant in My Pajamas/the Morrie Ryskind Story.

Despite being a well-known new deal Democrat, Groucho has some surprising opinions. Groucho lets out somewhere in the discussion that he thinks that Egypt's Nasser should be executed for calling for the destruction of Israel. If he had he only lived to hear so many other Middle East Dictators say the same thing to the bemusement of the media and many American politicians. How things have changed.

Groucho also has some interesting opinions on FDR in his later years, Bill's aspirations to be New York mayor, and mostly humor in a serious world. This is the earliest television appearance of Bill Buckley I have ever seen and he's much the same as his older self with his quick smile and that way his eyes sort of blow up when he makes a humorous or charming point. If you are a fan of either man this episode of Firing Line is worthwhile.
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By Nathan Harter on July 8, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Wit versus zany. You decide.
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By D. Lindholm on December 14, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Who knew Groucho did Firing Line? As one who admires the wit of both men, this 1967 program was not to be missed. Groucho didn't have very many years left, but was in fine shape for this interview. Recommended for Groucho fans, which should mean anyone who can appreciate humor in the English language.
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