Roseanne Rosannadanna, Emily Litella, Baba Wawa—these are just some of the characters created by the very funny Gilda Radner, Saturday Night Live’s first cast member.
In the new documentary Love
Love Gilda is both funny and sad. Most of us who grew up with Gilda know her myriad of delightful characters on SNL and her sad ending, but few of us knew who she really was.
Radner grew up as a rich kid in a Detroit suburb with a nanny. She was also a fat kid who would do anything to get others to not laugh at her, so she told jokes and made fun of herself. From her start in Canada to her audition for SNL the film moves at a solid pace, and it’s touching to hear Radner’s thoughts on her career successes and romantic frustrations. Most of the film is narrated by the great comic legend herself compliments of her audio recordings. D’Apolito uses some top comic talents like Bill Hader, Melissa McCarthy and Amy Poehler to talk about Radner and read from her diary. Her interview subjects express both awe and excitement at holding Radner’s personal diary in their hands, it was a great story device that made the comic’s spirit come alive again.
The film also includes excerpts from Radner’s most hilarious SNL moments and her one- woman Broadway show. Love Gilda is filled with laughs, right up until the light on her life begins to dim.
Producer James Tumminia shared with me that he was the one who helped get Radner a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood 14 years after her death. Thank you, James, and thank you for a wonderful film. I totally enjoyed this documentary.
Love Gilda is in select theaters, it’s also on CNN New Year’s Day. Do yourself a favor and start the New Year with a laugh and a cry.