There may not be any funnier or more astonishingly inventive comedy records made during the 20th century than these. The routines were largely improvised, on the spot. That's a dangerous activity, and many are the bodies that have littered its shoals. Reiner and Brooks were almost preternaturally well-matched. Brooks could spin more wildly, achingly hilarious changes on a single line or word than one human being should be allowed, while Reiner (maybe the best second banana ever) is always right there with him. They seem to anticipate each other's every move, yet nothing ever feels rehearsed. Some of the humor has dated, some of its is too topical to be understood by everyone, but the best of it (which is most of it) is still screamingly funny. Phrases like, "Keep away from my eye!", "Don't sit and tear paper," and "Keep ya going 'til suppa" - non sequitors out of context - are permanent parts of the lexicon used by my best friend and me since we first heard these essential gems two decades ago. If I don't pull these recordings out and listen to them at least once a year, I don't feel fully alive.