Tom Davis, the longtime stand-up comedy partner of Al Franken and also a writer that created plenty of of the most memorable sketches on “Saturday Night Live,” including the alien “Coneheads,” which he dreamed up when on LSD, died July 19 in ~ his residence in Hudson, N.Y. He was 59.
He had a metastatic tonsil cancer, claimed his wife, Mimi Raleigh.
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Mr. Davis and also Franken started writing jokes together as teens at the private Blake school in Minneapolis, making mock announcements end the public resolve system, including a satirical Ku Klux Klan march referred to as “Superpatrioticanticatholicsegregatious.”
They joined “Saturday Night Live” prior to its debut season in 1975 and also shared a single apprentice writer"s salary of $350 a week, whereby they collaborated on sketches culled from politics, popular music culture, and the bizarre.
Mr. Davis said he spent a little fortune throughout his lifetime on marijuana, hashish, cocaine, LSD and also heroin, and enjoyed the substances through his friend Timothy Leary, man Belushi and Jerry Garcia.
"Saturday Night Live" writer/performers Al Franken, left, and also Tom Davis are seen in 1978. (Anonymous/ASSOCIATED PRESS/NBC-TV)
The idea for the “Coneheads” came after a drug-fueled vacation to Easter Island with Dan Aykroyd, whereby Mr. Davis hallucinated that his very own forehead had grown 10 inches.
Mr. Davis produced the recurring Steve Martin character “Theodoric that York,” a medieval barber that dispatched sage advice top top medicine and the law.
In one skit, Theodoric is called upon to preeminence judgment against a criminal, man the Tanner, who was accused of adultery.
“You were uncovered guilty the theft and also your best arm was reduced off,” Theodoric says. “You were found guilty of lying and your tongue was cut out. Now, hmm, adultery.”
One of Mr. Davis’s best-known sketches to be the scene in i m sorry culinary doyenne Julia child tries to remain calm after ~ she cuts the “dickens the end of my finger.” She bleeds profusely all over her holiday chicken and shrieks, prior to passing out, “Save the liver! save the liver!”
In 1990, Franken and Mr. Davis had actually a fallout’s out and split up. Franken gone after ambitions together a radio pundit and also politician — he"s now a U.S. Senator indigenous Minnesota — while Mr. Davis largely faded right into obscurity, recovering native his previously life together a prolific drug user.
By 2004, Mr. Davis had actually been decreased to a footnote in comedic background as the answer to a trivia inquiry that stumped record-setting “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings: “He was the comedy partner of Al Franken.”
The pair reconciled by the time Franken ended up being a senator in 2008 and also after Mr. Davis had actually spent three years in a narcotics rehab center.
“If us were Sonny and Cher, he would certainly be Cher,” Mr. Davis as soon as said, noting the he describes himself as “the guy who hosted Al Franken back for 20 years.”
Thomas James Davis to be born Aug. 13, 1952, in Minneapolis. His father worked for 3M and his mother was the 1950 Queen the the Lakes in ~ the Minneapolis Aquatennial summer festival.
As teenagers, Mr. Davis and Franken performed improvisational comedy at Dudley Riggs’s Brave brand-new Workshop in Minneapolis. In the 1970s, Mr. Davis toured India “as a hippie” when Franken finished college at Harvard. Afterward, they moved to Los Angeles in the beforehand 1970s, doing stand-up together a team.
After playing clubs top top the fringes of stardom, the pair fight it large when they were recruited — thoughtlessly — through Lorne Michaels in 1975 and became staples the the “Saturday Night Live” writing crew.
The 2 were greatly inseparable and worked in tandem for lot of their comedy careers. Franken also named his daughter in his ideal friend"s honor, thomasin Davis Franken.
Mr. Davis composed a memoir, in 2009, “Thirty-Nine years of momentary Memory Loss: The early on Days the SNL from Someone that Was There.” The title, that said, came from the fact that he had actually spotty memory throughout his life, even prior to he began using drugs.
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Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Mimi Raleigh, that Hudson and Mount Kisco, N.Y., where she owns and also operates a veterinarian clinic; his mother, Jean Davis, the Minnetonka, Minn.; and a brother.
“On Tuesdays, we"d remain up all night writing,” Mr. Davis once said, “Those to be the best and also worst times, due to the fact that it was agonizing. However if you discovered yourself rolling on the floor laughing at 2 in the morning, that was as lot fun as you can have, really, other than for getting those vast laughs on-air. . . . And then to it is in in a restaurant the next day and overhear a conversation in ~ the next table where they space talking around your piece, that"s actual payoff. That"s real fun.”