Nielsen gone? Surely, you can't be serious

If you share my sense of humor (and yes, I know I have a tendency to veer toward the sick side), you cannot hear the word “surely” used in a sentence without the obvious follow-up.

“And don’t call me Shirley.”

Which is my way of saluting Leslie Nielsen, who died in his sleep overnight.

That line is from “Airport,” one of the funniest movies ever made, and launched Nielsen, who up to that point had been a journeyman character actor, to newfound fame.

“Surely” you remember the scene. An airline passenger on the suddenly pilot-less aircraft is responding to Nielsen’s statement that they need to find someone on the jet to fly it.

“Surely you can’t be serious,” the passenger informs Nielsen.

“I am serious,” Nielsen responds. “And don’t call me Shirley.”

Nielsen, who had a role as the ship captain in “The Poseidon Advenure,” went on to be a comedic lead as detective Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun” movies.

Rest in Peace, Leslie Nielsen. Thanks for the laughs.

Shirley, we will not see that kind of deadpan comedic brilliance again.