Known as “Television’s Original Genius,” comedian, actor, writer, and entertainer Ernie Kovacs was lauded for his cockeyed sense of humor, his surreal visual gags and his subversive, absurdist wit. In celebration of the centennial of Ernie Kovacs, the GRAMMY Museum brought together a wide array of innovators on August 28, 2019, to discuss Kovacs’ influence on their careers as comedians, entertainers, musicians and writers. The panel included Devo Guitarist Gerald Casale, comedian Dave Foley, versatile performer/entertainer Ann Magnuson, comedian Mark Proksch, and Joshua Mills, the son of Edie Adams, who runs both her estate and that of Ernie Kovacs. The discussion will be moderated by noted journalist, author, and raconteur Pat Thomas and will include clips of Kovacs’ audio and visual work shown throughout the program.
Best known for his groundbreaking visual humor, Ernie Kovacs was posthumously nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 1977 for Best Comedy Album for The Ernie Kovacs Album. Reissued for the first time ever in celebration of his centennial by Omnivore Recordings, The Ernie Kovacs Album Centennial Edition collects many of Ernie’s best television work and adds six recently discovered bonus tracks to this collection.
Kovacs was a thrice nominated and posthumous winner of an Emmy Award, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the Television Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame and won a Directors Guild award. His most famous quote was, “Television is often called a medium because it’s neither rare nor well done.”
Gone since 1962, Kovacs’ work has not only survived via the dogged efforts of his wife, entertainer Edie Adams but has had a second renaissance in the past decade with the release of four DVD box sets from Shout! Factory, two audio releases, numerous live events and in 2020, a coffee-table book from Fantagraphocs Books on Kovacs writings, drawing, photographs and never-before-seen personal items from his archive.