1st Just For Laughs Comedy Festival 2009 ‘On The Red Carpet’ with Harold Ramis, “Year One” Premiere

Sarah Knight Adamson interviewing Harold Ramos. Red Carpet Music Box Theater “Year One” opening. 2009. 

Sarah’s Backstage Pass attended a Red Carpet event for the premiere of the film “Year One” and the honoring of Harold Ramis the recipient of the Just For Laughs Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is in recognition and celebration of Ramis’s three decades of producing, writing, acting and directing. Just For Laughs awards this honor annually to artists who, during their lifetime, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of comedy.

It was a torrential downpour on the evening of June 17, 2009 at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. First to walk the Red Carpet were the founders of the festival and they spoke with enthusiasm and anticipation as this was the first year of the Festival. When asked about what audiences will expect, they replied, “There’s a little something for everyone; 11 venues, all types of humor, Jimmy Fallon and Martin Short are an example of some of the shows. Historically Chicago has a rich comedic audience we therefore feel this is the perfect home for the Festival.”

Matthew Willig former 14 year NFL star walked the carpet as he plays a rival to Jack Black and Michael Cera in the film “Year One”. The 6’7” Willig was all smiles and very happy to be associated with such an impressive cast.  I asked Willig about his experience working with Jack Black on the film and he replied that Jack was constantly trying to make him laugh. He noted that Harold Ramis served as a great mentor as this was his first major film.

Harold Ramis has written, directed and acted in many Hollywood films over the years. He was in great spirits and it was wonderful to chat with him. Here’s part of our conversation:

Sarah Adamson: Do you feel that you have the best of both worlds living in Chicago and continuing your LA work?

Harold Ramis: My wife and I did live in LA for a 20 year period. I have to say that I am happy to live here now. This is my home, and Chicago is such a great city. I’d say to my wife, “See that guy over there, he’s so real.”  People are just genuine and kind here.

Sarah Adamson: Oh yes, I agree.I informed Ramis that last March I covered the 25th “Animal House” reunion in Woodridge, Illinois and that I interviewed some of those actors. (Ramis was a writer on the film and also worked with John Belushi on Saturday Night Live, my intent was to jog Ramis’s memory regarding Belushi and segway into my next question.Sarah Adamson: “John Belushi, does he remind you at all of Jack Black?”
Harold Ramis: I worked with Jack in a film called “Orange County” years ago and I thought wow, he’s a healthy John Belushi! It’s not like he’s trying to channel him or anything. Jack has a unique style. He has a beautiful attitude about life, people and everything.An illustrious evening indeed as the Red Carpet was rolled out to kick off the Comedy Festival and the premiere of the Hollywood film “Year One.”Sarah Adamson ©2009