Muhammad Ali died June 3, 2016. The eulogy at his Memorial Service was spoken by the man he called “little brother”, Billy Crystal.
In my training, I take considerable pains to stress that if you use humour in a speech you should do so sparingly. Stand-up comedy has one very dangerous quality: the better it’s done, the easier it looks. Normal humans should not be fooled, but beware this hugely difficult genre. I then go on to give them a few guidelines at sliding a little humour unobtrusively into an otherwise serious speech.
So it is of particular interest when a successful and skilled stand-up comedian delivers a speech at an ostensibly solemn occasion.
At the four-second point he gets his first laugh, and at 14 seconds he harvests a huge one. It is only when that has subsided that we get the Hierarchical Hello. Billy Crystal knows what he’s doing.
For that reason there’s no point in my adding anything else. Just watch it: it’s wonderful.