Jonathan Winters, one of the greatest comedic minds to ever bop, skip and jump his way through this sweet swingin’ sphere has called it quits. The world is not so much a sadder place for his absence as it is just plain ol’ not as funny as it used to be. From his Ohio roots to his conquering of the known comedic universe Prince Jon (as His Lordship dubbed him) gifted the world with his extraordinary ability to turn the mundane, the ordinary and overlooked into magical moments of human insight. Nobody is even certain that he ever told a proper joke but once he got going Winters was an unstoppable juggernaut of mirth that could, even conservatively, be declared equal parts genius and lunacy.
We here at LBC can only take comfort in the notion that perhaps Prince Jon and The Lord are once again trading gentle and loving observations about all those little mortals they left behind.
Jonathan Winters was in Las Vegas when he first encountered The Lord. In a 2001 interview with Roger Mexico and Michael Monteleone he recalled how the meeting went:
|I met Lord Buckley one time in Vegas. And I'd really - and when I did see him I was most of the time in an audience. So I didn't get that personal touch that I wanted. This time I met Lord Buckley in the flesh and taking some time off and he said to me [imitating Lord Buckley] "Prince Jon, I'm calling you Prince because I'm making you a Prince now, you understand?" [normal voice] And I said, "Yes, I do, Lord Buckley. What's happening?" [Buckley voice] "Well, I see that you are playing in one of these bistros, one of these gin mills. Get the money and run, my friend!" [normal voice] "Well," I said, "What's happening? Where can we go?" I said, "I've hung up on the sauce now. I'm not drinking anymore funny water. Can I meet you someplace? Can we go to have a sandwich or dinner or whatever?" [Buckley voice] "You come to the desert. In one of my little surroundings I have a kind of a paper maché castle out there. With some of the princes and the princes. You must come out. Please do that. Do that - come now as a matter of fact." [normal voice] So we jumped into a truck or a car, I forget what it was. It had four wheels on it and we drove out there. And he had mattresses in a complete circle. [Buckley voice] "Sit down on the mattress. Lord - Prince Jon. Sit down." [normal voice} And I sat down and he held court. Well, outside of a few dignitaries, a pope, Queen Elizabeth, the President, maybe in somebody in Tibet like the Dali Lama, I thought, boy, this is the world of comedy. Hey, this is the high potentate here. This is Lord Buckley. And he was holding court. And God it was just great. And I thought,"Whew, listening this! I don't know who's smoking what or what's going on. I know that I'm straight here and this is a true happening." And it was a great afternoon. I spent at least that afternoon with him and I - People say, well, did you really get to know this man? Well, there are a lot of people that you have to say in life, "Did I really get to know him?" But, sometimes an hour with a man or a woman or a child can be like a lifetime. And it was so awarding to me because I think at a time he had no way of knowing. I was kind of feeling sorry for myself. I was going through a kind of - like we're all going through, different phases, you know, dark periods in our life. And he really lightened it up. And he was the best therapy I can ever remember. That's all I can tell you."