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A Snark Tale

A Snark Tale

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I’d guess that most people under 30 who know of Charles Nelson Reilly at all remember him as played by a leisure-suited, compulsively spectacle-tweaking Alec Baldwin on an SNL “Inside the Actors Studio” skit. The joke, as always, was that Will Ferrell’s James Lipton was prostrating himself before a trashy, basically negligible career, one that, in this case, will largely be remembered on the strength of Match Game appearances, sharing Friars Club roast panels with Foster Brooks, and generally providing a reliable source of nudge-nudge feyness and snark when Paul Lynde was otherwise occupied (actual “Hollywood Squares” exchange—Peter Marshall: “Oh, Paul, what would we ever do without you?” Lynde: [acidly] “Replace me with Charles Nelson Reilly”).

That said, it’s one of the winning eccentricities of The Life of Reilly, a taped distillation of C.N.R.’s autobiographical one-man-show, that it–feigned modesty aside–takes for granted that its subject’s accomplishments are worthy of our attention and esteem. Click here to read the rest of Nick Pinkerton’s review of The Life of Reilly.

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