“Ray circumcised himself sitting in a café called the 91 on Charlotte Street, SoHo. Ray thought he was Jesus and Jesus was Jewish. He used the knife he’d eaten his fish with. I’m pretty certain Jesus didn’t have chips with his fish.”
So goes one of the myriad anecdotes and stories that go into the minestrone of Marty Feldman’s unearthed autobiography, eyE MARTY.
This resurrected reminiscence comes 33 years after its author shuffled off his mortal coil, the same amount of time Jesus reputedly walked upon the earth. Spooky, as Marty reveals a God complex in these iris popping annals.
It’s a funny old business, comedy, says the optically prominent performer, but his pages prove that all of life is too.
The protruding pupils pupil of the absurdity of existence had a prescience of his short time allotted: “I have always thought I, too, would die young. (His father died at 64). I can never see myself as an old man, not because I don’t want to but because I just don’t feel that my distance will be that far.”
At 49, Marty was “Too old to die young and too young to grow up”.
About his famous physiognomy, he says” You can’t imagine how many stories I’ve told about my eyEs. I get so bored with the questions that I start making shit up.” His looks were his equipment, his comic equipment, and they are the right packaging for the job….the right packaging for a clown.
Established as a writer of comedy, David Frost baulked at having him seen on screen for fear of frightening the horses. But his mates, many of whom went on to create The Monty Python Flying Circus, went into bat for him, and Marty’s face began turning heads.
This book is far from straight narrative – Marty was never the straight man. It is composed of factual reporting as much as memory allows veritas, poems, letters, scripts and sketches.
Here’s a snatched stanza from Marty’s poem Travelling Light:-
“Recently I moved into my own head.
….some nights I go out of my head
But most nights I stay in and read my mind.”
“Consider all that goes on inside your head,
Reconsider all that goes on outside your head.
Letters from Spike Milligan, poems to Mel Brooks, snippets of scripts, photos and drawings make this book like a living will than a mere autobiography.
Young Frankenstein, the picture in which “I became the only guy to appear in a horror film without make-up!” stands as a hallmark in his career, and his reflections on that production are affectionately written. His work on the film created a lifelong friendship with Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks and brought him the opportunity to direct a couple of Hollywood movies.
A note purported to be found on a napkin in Marty’s pocket after he died sums up his notion of comedy, “not to provide answers but to postulate questions, impertinent questions, and therefore, finally pertinent questions…..I play not Hamlet, but the second grave digger, not Lear but the fool.”
eyE MARTY by Marty Feldman is published by Coronet. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Flanman Children’s Tumour Fund.
Title:- eyE MARTY
Author: Marty Feldman
ISBN : 9781444792744