Saturday, January 5, 2013

Improv: How to make sh*t up, the way of the Danish gypsy

Victor Borge had heard the Czardas by Monti, a famous violin show piece, but had never played it. So he just made up a piano part on the spot.

As an extra-special bonus here's Borge accompanying a recorder player on the very same tune!


  1. From his NYTimes obit (Dec 2000):

    When he approached 90, his doctors warned him against [falling off the piano bench]. So, he told Ralph Blumenthal of The Times in 1999, "I still don't do it." But of course, he did, in every show.

    Mr. Schonberg asked Mr. Borge why he continued to maintain a crushing schedule.
    "Why not?" Mr. Borge said. "If it was a strain, I wouldn't do it. But I can do it. I haven't faltered yet. I know life. I have had a full measure of experience. Shouldn't I take advantage of it? These days my acts are the essence of what I have accomplished. The fruit is on the tree. Should I let it rot?

    "What I do, I do well and I know it. I have always worked for two audiences at the same time. One is sophisticated, the other not musically oriented. I notice that the ones who laugh most are composed of professionals, as when I do my act with orchestras. But my jokes must be understood by everybody. Nobody must be bored. It is a fine line that I walk."