Rose Marie, the subject of Jason Wise’s wonderful documentary Wait for Your Laugh, would be legendary even if she weren’t one of the only living people who appeared in a W.C. Fields film (International House, 1933). Narrated by the still-whip-smart 94-year-old, Wait for Your Laugh recounts Rose Marie’s nine-decade, nonstop showbiz career from a 4-year-old vaudevillian in 1927 to mid-century Broadway star to her voiceover work on a 2013 Garfield special (which was her last gig only because nobody’s hired her since).
Throughout it all, even when her beloved husband died at 48, she never stopped cracking wise and being very, very funny. The greatest document of this was her role as a professional comedy writer on The Dick Van Dyke show, which was largely unheard of on either side of the camera. Rose Marie wasn’t as traditionally beautiful as Mary Tyler Moore, and while the charisma and chemistry between Van Dyke and Moore is unquestionable, The Dick Van Dyke Show tends to be a slog during the family scenes. The scenes in the writer’s room between Rose Marie and her sparring partner Morey Amsterdam, however, are still as fresh and funny as anything made today. With Rose Marie, you never had to wait long to laugh.
Wait for Your Laugh
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.