11/20/2014 04:48 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2014

Classic Nichols And May Skits Show Where It All Began For The Legendary Director

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All these years later, it’s still every bit as funny.

Before Mike Nichols became the Academy Award-winning director known for iconic films like “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” he was a talented comedian on the Chicago improv scene.

While attending the University of Chicago, Nichols met Elaine May. After the two worked together as members of the Compass Players, a predecessor to Second City, they formed the improvisational comedy duo of Nichols and May in 1958, launching both of their careers.

Their skits were incredibly memorable and influential, earning the duo a Grammy award, their own show on Broadway and other accolades. Perhaps their best known bit is the “Mother and Son” skit, in which May plays the relentlessly nagging mother of an aerospace engineer.

There is also the classic “$65 funeral” skit, as performed here on Jack Paar’s show.

And, of course, their water cooler routine.

Nichols died suddenly on Wednesday at the age of 83.



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