Lynde Too Blocked

Filed Under Improv

My good friend Mike Sacks recently conducted a fascinating interview with authors of a new (and only) biography of Paul Lynde. Most know Paul as the “Center Square” on the original Hollywood Squares, where he became famous for winking hilariously at his sexuality. Though it’s obvious that the quip are scripted for the game show, what struck me most about this interview was how the tension of only implying his gayness repressed many of Lynde’s natual improvisational gifts. It must have a special kind of hell for someone who was so good at tossing out written material as his own. Which probably explains why such explosive (and, in retrospect, hilarious) anger might result. Anyone who’d yell at a mother of a screaming toddler, “You keep this little girl quiet or I’m gonna fuck her!” is definitely worth a second look.

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