Monday evening, comedy icon Carl Reiner passed away at 98. As such, dozens of fans and collaborators came forward throughout the day on Tuesday with their favorite stories about the funnyman. Though tales came from far and wide — we're talking about the passing of an icon, after all — none stood out as much as the one from Matthew Rosenberg, a name that is familiar around these parts. You see, Rosenberg has penned stories for Marvel from Hawkeye: Freefall to The Punisher, X-Men, and beyond. Now, he might have told his best story yet. In fact, it's the sole reason why 'Beef Stroganoff' became a worldwide trend on Twitter Tuesday evening.
I have a Carl Reiner story that I hold very dear to me. I figured I'd share it today, on the day of his passing, because I hope it will bring some other people some joy the way it does me.— Matthew Rosenberg (@AshcanPress) June 30, 2020
You see, Rosenberg's father and uncle grew up as massive fans of Reiner's and Sid Caeser's Your Show of Shows. They enjoyed the sketch show so much, both that the duo decided to pursue careers in writing because of it, something that'd eventually set Rosenberg on the path of becoming a household name in comics.
The story starts off by detailing the fact the Rosenberg's father always chose to eat beef stroganoff on his birthday, every year for his entire life. Why? Because of a sketch on Your Show of Shows where he swore the punchline involved the beef-based comfort food.
Rosenberg's father enjoyed the joke so much, he continued the tradition of having it on his birthday dinners so long, the sketch itself become obsolete. Even in the digital age, nowhere had a copy of the tape from when the show first aired all that time ago. Even after Rosenberg's uncle brought the validity of the joke into question, beef stroganoff remained the meal of choice.
With nowhere to turn, Rosenberg's dad eventually had the opportunity to ask the man himself about the joke.
Jump ahead 10 years and Carl Reiner writes a new book. He announces he will be signing and giving a talk in NY at the 92nd Street Y. My dad sees his chance. He buys tickets as fast as he can.— Matthew Rosenberg (@AshcanPress) June 30, 2020
As Rosenberg says, Reiner didn't remember the joke off the top of his head at the signing, so his father left the comedian a letter in hopes of reaching out someday. Eventually, that some day came — and when it did, Reiner had a little surprise for Rosenberg's father.
"He says he read the letter my dad gave him at the signing and he found it so touching that he wanted to share it 'with the others,'" Rosenberg says of Reiner's call. "Then he puts the phone on speaker and Carl Reiner is having dinner with Mel Brooks and Sid Caeser."
But they all agree Beef Stroganoff is funnier, so they give the victory to my dad over my uncle.— Matthew Rosenberg (@AshcanPress) June 30, 2020
As it turns out, even though stroganoff wasn't even the punchline. But Reiner and Caseser — plus comedy icon Mel Brooks, for goodness sake — agreed the dish was funnier anyway. Rosenberg's full story — certainly one for the ages — can be read in its entirety here.
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