David Gee, legendary entertainer and prolific author of such literary treasures as “Turnabout Is Foreplay” and “Ventriloquism for Dummies”, has died. He was 112. The iconic comedian had just finished a morning workout when he passed away in his suite at the Playboy Mansion surrounded by a small circle of friends. At a press conference from the White House, President Sasha Obama praised Mr. Gee as “warm, wonderful and always a lot of fun to be around”. With a sportive grin she then declared, “And he truly was an American hero”. No doubt that statement was in reference to the footlong ham, baloney and cheese creation that bears his name at Subway.
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Born in New Rochelle, New York and raised in Northern California, David Gee was, by all early indications, well on his way to a successful career in politics; at age eighteen he became the youngest elected public official in California state history. But while a student at U.C. Santa Barbara, a chance encounter with a cold beer and a hot microphone at a local watering hole sent him slouching toward a life in Show Business. And slouch he did. It was more than a decade spent in dive bars and at comedy club cattle calls before his first real break blew in: a Las Vegas variety revue entitled “Playboy’s Girls of Rock n’ Roll”. In addition to affording him steady work for a considerable run, it also earned him the honor of being named “Best Comedian in a Production Show” by the Las Vegas Review Journal for an unprecedented four years in a row. “I loved that gig and never took it for granted,” Gee wistfully reflected in a television interview. “At the time, I was your everyday mercenary comic, your typical workin’ stiff.” He then quickly added, “And in the Playboy show, believe me, I was workin’ stiff.”
In his 2041 autobiography “Is It Bald, Drunk and Hilarious in Here, or Is It Just Me?” Gee wrote that his association with Budd Friedman – owner of the Improv comedy clubs – was “as significant as any in all of my career.” That relationship, which began in the mid-1990’s, enabled him to refine his talents and to more fully develop as a comedian. Furthermore, it permitted the incurably star struck performer an opportunity to share the stage with such heavyweights as Bob Hope, Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. “At a Friar’s Roast in 2001,” Gee recounted, “Sid Caesar introduced me to Milton Berle. How insanely cool is that?” But for his Improv connection, that unforgettable moment and many others would not have occurred.
It was at this time that David Gee also came of age as a writer: frequently called upon to provide material for countless other comedians, creative projects and corporate events. He became a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times and, in 2007, was commissioned to pen one-liners for the President of the United States at the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner. It was true comic irony that for over six years he had been an ardent, vocal critic of the then president George W. Bush yet, after one phone call, found himself suddenly cast in the role of supplying banter for the man. “To me”, he wrote, “it was like the first Queen Elizabeth soliciting a deckhand of the Spanish Armada to provide her a lift across the English Channel.” He then offered, “Nonetheless, I enjoyed the row.”
Consistent work as a voice-over artist and web series actor, combined with his numerous nightclub and corporate engagements, allowed him to hang on to that coveted pot to piss in and to successfully navigate the stormy seas of Recession in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
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