Johnny Carson’s “Copper Clapper Caper” sketch on the Tonight Show is one of the great television comedy sketches of all time. In the sketch Jack Webb reprised his Dragnet role as Sergeant Joe Friday and Johnny Carson played Everyman reporting the crime. When the sketch was originally broadcast in 1968, Dragnet was in its second television run; the series remained in NBC’s lineup until 1970.
It doesn’t take much for the sketch to be brought to mind. To my mind, anyway. The Obama administration’s Director of National Intelligence — James Clapper — makes me laugh, and not just because he reminds me of the classic Carson comedy sketch. Failed Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg — likewise.
The sketch builds its humor upon wildly improbable alliteration, perfect timing and execution, and perhaps the difficulty of the players in keeping a straight face. Forty years later, it still inspires laughter. It is clean. It is funny. It can be viewed and appreciated by the whole family.
What else is to be said? Only thanks — I needed that.
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