Well, my Phil Hartman story isn’t as exiting as the one on Ape Culture, but it is mine. I was a huge fan of Phil Hartman when he was alive. I didn’t follow his career with any more interest than any other actors I enjoyed at the time, but I did enjoy watching a show I liked only to discover with my ears that one the characters was using his voice.
Though I never did pay too much attention to Phil Hartman particular, looking back, I realize that the time period I watched Saturday Night Live on a regular basis was also the time period Phil Hartman was a regular on the show. It’s also interesting to know that, though I enjoyed Denise Miller and his news skits, my favorite SNL skits included the “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy”.
In the early days, I was a big fan of Pee-Wee Herman and I still enjoy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I also used to watch the Tracy Ulman Show and can, in all honesty, say I enjoyed the Simpsons when they were just a goofy little skit before and after the commercial breaks during her show (I often wonder how many other people can remember that). Though Phil wasn’t on the Tracy Ulman show (that I am aware of anyway) he did become a part of The Simpsons later on, and made it that much better.
I remember watching The Brave Little Toaster (one of my favorite cartoons) back in around ’89 and associating the voice of Air Conditioner as the guy on Saterday Night Live. I began to notice Phil Hartman as the talent that he was in the early ’90s. By the mid ’90s he was at the top of my favorites list. I actually looked forward to his great and everlasting career.
I had a standing joke with my mom concerning Phil Hartman. Every time I heard his voice I would say something like, “hey, that’s Phil Hartman”. My mom would say, “who’s Phil Hartman?” Then I would tell her, “he’s the guy who plays the voice of … on …” I never gave her more facts, and never told her the same fact twice. At first I think she really didn’t know who he was, but I always made sure to watch “Newsradio” so I’m sure she came to know him as the guy on “Newsradio”. But there could never be any doubt how much I admired the guy and I’m just as sure that she also came to know him as one my favorite actors.
His death devastated me.
At the time I was living in a camper trailer parked at the back of my grandma’s driveway. I had waken up and gone into the house for … (lunch probably). As I sat down at the table my mom asked me if I had seen the news. Now, I hate stupid questions. I had come in in good happy mood and wammo! “Did you see the news?” Of course I hadn’t seen the news, how am I supposed to see the new when I had been out in my camper all morning. Now I was in a bad mood, stupid questions do that to me. At least I still had my good appetite.
There was silence for a bit then she said, “Phil Hartman was killed today.” I lost my appetite that very instant. My first thought was ‘who did it, I’ll kill him’. My mom told me his wife had shot him and I instantly wanted to kill the wife. But, I also knew without being told that she was already dead.
After that I went back out to my camper without eating and wrote in my journal about how great Phil Hartman was and what an inspiration he had been. I wrote my in journal that if Elvis was the ‘king’ of Rock & Role, that Phil Hartman was a ‘god’ at what he did. Later on I actually heard a newscaster say the same thing.
I’m so grateful that Phil Hartman was able to accomplish so much in such a short life. I have missed him.
Below is his biography, filmography and voiceography I pillaged from other Internet sites.