I was kind of stunned when I saw that Harold Ramis died. I mean, I’m not going to say that Harold Ramis was someone that I thought about at all regularly, but the few times when I have thought about him and his impact on well, my life, outlook and my own work, that impact has been incalculable.
Here’s a list of the movies that Ramis is credited with writing: Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back To School, Club Paradise, Armed and Dangerous, Caddyshack II, Ghostbusters II, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, Bedazzled, Analyze That, and Year One.
OK, I haven’t seen all of them and I don’t love all of them. But even if he’d only written Animal House, or Ghostbusters, or any one of the movies he wrote he’d have been extremely influential on the direction comedy went. But that he wrote 3 of my favorite comedies of all time, (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Analyze This.) and that he acted as one of my favorite characters in anything, (Ben’s Dad in Knocked Up), well, I mean, it’s an incredible thing.
I didn’t grow up with the things that I love now being a part of my everyday life. Yes, superheroes and sci fi were around. My dad was a big fantasy fan, and loved George Lucas. But we were a comedy house. And Ramis’s comedies were staples, especially Ghostbusters and Animal House. You don’t grow up in a comedy obsessed family with an older brother and seventeen male cousins (yup) without seeing Animal House at least fifteen times. What’s always been fun about Ramis’s comedies is that you can grow up with them. They’re silly enough that as a kid you laugh and as you get older you notice the more subtle humor and fun satire involved. Also the sex stuff.