I understand that both cinematic and televisual archives offer far better, or maybe more "distinguished" Ramis clips than this one—in which Ramis doesn't really start showing his stuff until about halfway through—but this is my sentimental favorite because, at the time I saw it, it really cemented my identification with the guy, or at least with the guy he's playing. Who DIDN'T want to be the genial smart-ass, especially at my age back then. All of the performers with ties to SCTV were maestros of the comic possibilities inherent in the portrayal of glibness, smarmy or know-somethingish or actually knowing or otherwise. Sorry about all the ad-schmutz surrounding the clip. But that's just how much I love it, and want to share it.
Here's some stuff Ramis said in an interview with The Believer in 2006:
I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “When I go to the movies, I don’t want to think.”
BLVR: Does that offend you as a filmmaker?
HR: It offends me as a human being. Why wouldn’t you want to think? What does that mean? Why not just shoot yourself in the fucking head? Or people’ll say that they don’t want to see any negative emotions. They don’t want to see unpleasantness. I did a comedy with Al Franken about his character Stuart Smalley, which was really about alcoholism and addiction and codependency. It had some painful stuff in it. When we showed it to focus groups, some of them actually said, “If I want to see a dysfunctional family, I’ll stay home.”
So I feel an affinity with that, too. There was always a sense with him—as a performer and a writer and a director, as everything—of a guy who "got it." Even with a project as ostensibly retrograde/vulgar as Caddyshack. At the heart of that movie there's an intense, but never self-righteous, hatred of injustice, and a slight but definiite distrust of the fuck-it-all hedonism it poses as a counter to the class problem depicted therein. The thread of his intelligence, his sensibility, his sensitivity, runs through that film and into such an unlikely-seeming object as Analyze This and the refreshingly mordant passion project The Ice Harvest. He was unique, irreplaceable.