In the 80’s, television shows like Match Game, Love Boat, and Hollywood Squares become the final stomping grounds of obscure stars of the past like Paul Lynde, Brett Summers, and Rose Marie. At that time, Rose Marie was the former star of the Dick Van Dyke show and then a regular on Hollywood Squares.
“…sheer talent kept her from disappearing into the scenery.”
From writer/director Jason Wise, Wait For You Laugh is the biography of singer/actress/comedienne Rose Marie. The virtual Forrest Gump of entertainment Rose Marie’s career spanned 90 years and crossed through almost every form of entertainment imaginable. She worked with and for some of the most notable and notorious people in the entertainment industry.
At five-years-old, Rose was a singing radio sensation with her own show on NBC radio. She sang, acted, and performed. She earned nothing but the joy of singing and fame, while her manager/father got rich. She performed in Vaudeville under the protection from Al Capone and quickly moved to Broadway, film, and the birth of television.
Rose Marie is someone whose path, for the most part, went in the right direction. Rose Marie fell in love and married a WWII veteran, who established his own celebrity as Bing Crosby’s lead trumpeter. She was the darling of the mob, and they protected her like a daughter. Her success is a testament to talent, hard work, and dedication to excellence. She enjoyed motherhood, and through it all, turned into a normal, nice human being.
Rose Marie is most known for her role as comedy writer Sally Rodgers on the Dick Van Dyke Show. During development and first few episode, Rose Marie fought for time on screen with Mary Tyler Moore. Knowing it was a fight she could not win, Rose Marie’s sheer talent kept her from disappearing into the scenery.
Nothing is ever easy as this stalwart comedienne survives the death of her husband during the Dick Van Dyke years, raises her only daughter, revives her career on television and on stage. She continues to work even today.
“Rose Marie is an icon of an era of entertainment that is quickly being forgotten.”
Wait For Your Laugh utilizes the standard tools of the biographical documentary: talking heads from Rose Marie, Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner and Peter Marshall, still pictures, archival footage, and re-enactments.
Wise took a huge risk by re-enacting big moments in Rose Marie’s life, including the night a 5-year-old Rose Marie was discovered singing in the audience at a nightclub or the fateful meeting with Al Capone or complaining about getting stiffed on her paycheck to a delivery man, who turned out to be Bugsy Siegal himself. Re-enacting these moments could have come off as overly cheesy. Instead, each scene looked was given the archival footage treatment, as if it was shot on the film available in that era and degraded over time.
Wait For Your Laugh does what a biographical documentary needs to do—document the life of an important person for the sake of posterity. They serve as reminders of the challenges and milestones made by those who came before us. Today, Rose Marie is an icon of an era of entertainment that is quickly being forgotten.
The title Wait For Your Laugh refers advice Rose Marie gave to Dick Van Dyke. When performing comedy, your target is the audience. When you tell a joke, wait for your laugh. Stop and give the audience a moment to respond. For singers, actors, and celebrities, entertainment is for the audience, not for the entertainer.
Wait For Your Laugh (2017) Directed by Jason Wise. Written by Jason Wise and Christina Tucker. Starring Rose Marie, Carl Reiner, Peter Marshall, and Dick Van Dyke.
4 out of 5 stars