Sunday, January 17, 2021

People I've Misjudged

As I look back over my life there have been times when I was quick to judge others. It really is easy to judge a book by it's cover. Often when we make judgement calls, we do so out of laziness or bias without sufficient information to make an informed decision. 

For this post I am not referring to anyone I really despised but rather just didn't care for, I made a quick decision that I was not a fan of them and it stuck for a while until I learned more about them. Here are some people I decided I didn't really like after an initial brief encounter but some time later realized I had made a mistake.

Fred Willard- I first remember seeing him as one of the hosts of a the TV show Real People back in the late 70's. He just didn't appeal to me and never came across as being very funny in the things I saw him in. That was until I saw his performances as a clueless dog show commentator in Best in Show or as a bumbling singing group manager in A Mighty Wind. His awkward, inappropriate style and hilarious improvisation skills are great.

Led Zeppelin- My initial experience with this famous band was not from listening to their music but just hearing people mention their name when they talked about hard rock/heavy metal bands like Deep Purple or Black Sabbath. I was not a fan of that kind of music and decided I wasn't into Led Zeppelin. It wasn't until I was in my 30's listening to a block party on the radio that I began to appreciate their music. With more exposure over time I was impressed with their talent and versatility and now understand why Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham are considered one of the greatest rock bands of all time. (I had a similar experience with Pink Floyd too.)

Norm McDonald- Norm was the news anchor on SNL during a time when I chose to watch little TV so that was about all I saw him aside from some small roles in Adam Sandler movies that didn't impress me much. It wasn't until I came across interviews with him that I realized how intelligent and funny he was. There are certain things that only he can do, like the clip below from a Bob Saget Roast. These programs are known for having the participants cut loose with foul language and savagely roast the participants, so when they gave him the go ahead and told him to not hold back, he told a bunch of lame jokes from a 40's joke book. The audience didn't know how to handle it and it was over their head, much like I didn't get his style when I first encountered him. It is one of the most awkward and funny things I've ever seen and is classic Norm.

Roy Clark- As a kid I always hated Saturdays and one reason was because of the lame TV shows that came on in the evening. First there was Hee Haw and that was followed by Lawrence Welk. I hated both of these music genres and used to make fun of Buck Owens and Roy Clark pickin' and grinnin' in their overalls. I'm still not a country music fan today but I can totally appreciate Roy Clark's talent. Here is a short clip from an episode from The Odd Couple where he made a guest appearance. Over time I googled his performances and I had no idea he played so many instruments and styles of music. With more exposure, my mind was blown by this talented performer and my opinion of him changed. 

These are just a few people who I did not care for after my first introduction to them. In some cases, it took me decades to change my opinion and finally appreciate their talent and contributions. Unfortunately 3 of them have passed away by now. One thing that helps me really appreciate people is learning more about them. When you know their backstory and where they came from it can make all the difference in helping you appreciate someone. Hopefully I can learn from these experiences and won't be so quick to judge or write people off in the future before I get to know more about them.