Funny Guy: Michael Tucci

Michael Tucci is hilarious.

Michael Tucci played Norman Briggs, the fussy hospital administrator, on Diagnosis Murder from 1993-1997. It made sense for him to leave after Season 4. Dr. Sloan no longer needed a foil to his antics. And the show couldn't really handle TWO master comedians.

Tucci is a master comedian, one of those actors who has never been entirely appreciated, mostly because he has been entirely willing to follow his own career wishes rather than the "path to stardom" (he teaches as well as accepting occasional Broadway and television gigs--he has a very nice voice).

I first encountered him on Diagnosis Murder, then recognized him when watching the much earlier Barney Miller, where he played the occasional low-level criminal. (I mostly hate Grease, so I wouldn't have recognized him from Grease (1978), in which he played Sonny.)

Tucci has perfect timing. He also has the gift for hyperbole that comic "bad guys" require in order to avoid being too uncomfortably slimy. As Briggs in shouting mode, he is more adorable than awful. (On Barney Miller, George Murdock as Detective Scanlon, Internal Affairs, accomplishes a similar feat although he runs closer to the line--his over-the-top monologues about the nature of human imperfection keep him funny rather than so-awful-I-must-shut-off-the-TV.)

Tucci is yet another working actor who deserves kudos for a fine career--that is still in action

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