My Comedy Hero: Ed Gamble on Jeffrey Tambor
The stand-up and star of Almost Royal picks The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development comic actor
This article is from 2016.
As a stand-up comic, many people may assume that I would select a fellow stand-up as my comedy hero. However, I am prevented from doing this due to a mixture of professional jealousy and the possibility that one day I may end up in a dressing-room with them knowing I once gushed about them in print. So, instead I have selected an actor whose work in comedy is so formidable that I assume I will never get to be anywhere near them.
I first became aware of Jeffrey Tambor in Arrested Development, which to date is one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled. Yet despite incredible turns from David Cross, Michael Cera and Jessica Walter to name but a few, Jeffrey Tambor always stood out for me. His imposing physicality, warm voice and natural authority beautifully serve as direct counterpoints to the cowardice and scheming of George Bluth Sr. And still now I have to remind myself that Tambor also played Oscar Bluth, George Snr’s twin, such was the level of prowess that was on show that my brain has taken to assuming they were different actors.
All of these qualities are best realised in Tambor’s finest role, as Hank Kingsley in The Larry Sanders Show. As Larry’s sidekick, Kingsley is the loss of dignity made flesh with Tambor’s masterful performance creating the ultimate buffoon. He plays him with such hope and desperation that although Hank is essentially a self-serving, petty man, we still have great affection for him. Despite this affection, there are still no finer screen comedy moments than watching Hank’s world crash around him time after time. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of apple sauce for Jeffrey Tambor.
Ed Gamble is at the Udderbelly Festival, London on Sat 25 Jun; Ed Gamble: Stampede is at Gilded Balloon at the Counting House, Edinburgh, Wed 3–Mon 29 Aug; and the Stampede national tour starts on Fri 16 Sep.