Ernie Kovacs was an American comedian, actor, and writer.
Kovacs' uninhibited, often ad-libbed, and visually experimental comedic style came to influence numerous television comedy programs for years after his death in an automobile accident. Many iconic and diverse shows have been influenced by Kovacs, such as Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, Saturday Night Live, The Uncle Floyd Show, Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and TV hosts such as David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Craig Ferguson. Chevy Chase acknowledged Kovacs' influence and thanked him during his acceptance speech for his Emmy award for Saturday Night Live. Chase appeared in the 1982 documentary called Ernie Kovacs: Television's Original Genius, speaking again of the impact Kovacs had on his work.
On or off screen, Kovacs could be counted on for the unexpected, from having marmosets as pets to wrestling a jaguar on his live Philadelphia television show. When working at WABC as a morning-drive radio personality and doing a mid-morning television show for NBC, Kovacs disliked eating breakfast alone while his wife was sleeping in after her Broadway performances. His solution was to hire a taxi driver to come into their apartment with his own key and whose job was to make breakfast for them both, then take him to the WABC studios.