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In Passing: David Frye (1934-2011)

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Impressionist and comedian David Frye passed away January 24th at the age of 76. While Frye did impressions of many of the popular actors of the 1960s and 1970s, it was his political impressions of Lyndon Johnson, The Kennedy Brothers, and particularly Richard Nixon that made him a regular guest on many television shows such as The Smothers Brothers, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Tonight Show.

He released a number of albums that were very commercially successful. Radio Free Nixon, Richard Nixon Superstar, I Am The President, and Richard Nixon: A Fantasy all sold very well. His last release was 1998’s Clinton: An Oral History.

Frye’s comedy, in addition to being very funny, was at times biting and scathing. While his career would continue until near his death, he would never again enjoy the popularity of the Johnson and Nixon eras.

In many ways, his comedy today is dated. You need to be of a certain age to be familiar with the figures he mimics and the context of his comments.

I still have several of his vinyl albums in my collection and must admit I have not listened to them in decades. Tonight, however, I will give Richard Nixon Superstar a spin on my turntable. Even after all these years, Nixon is still good for a laugh or two.

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