20 years later, this is still perfect TV.
Richard Simmons broke a six-year silence last year when he spoke out following the documentary's release about his sudden disappearance from the spotlight. A spokesperson put it simply: “He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”
But that doesn't mean we don't miss him.
Simmons was a mainstay on American television for 4 decades, either “Sweating to the Oldies,” selling his Deal-a-Meal program or appearing on countless daytime TV talk shows, including his own. The effervescent Simmons was part of the fabric of American culture.
He was also hilarious.
Twenty years ago, he appeared on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and it is one of the funniest moments in the show’s history. According to IMDB, it’s the most-watched episode on YouTube. While playing the Living Scenery game with Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady, Simmons transforms into a host of inanimate objects on a cruise ship, including a telescope, a deck chair, a jet ski, a tree, and a raft.
As a jet ski, Simmons makes a rather suggestive motion with his head toward Mochrie's crotch, to which the improv legend responds by smoking a fake cigarette.
The sketch is hilarious because Simmons seems to enjoy being in close contact with the three male actors, leading many to believe that he was not-so-subtly commenting on his sexuality. Simmons never publicly talked about his sexuality, even though he is seen by many as a gay icon.
Regardless who Simmons was in his private life, the sketch is joyous for the same reason he was so beloved. He was always himself, and there was no one in the world quite like Richard Simmons.