The comedy world is a close knit community. A true family member has been taken too soon. Here at Indiestardust we send condolences to all the friends and family members of Harold Ramis. A true mensch.
“Gilda got married and went away. None of us saw her anymore. There was one good thing: Laraine had a party one night, a great party at her house. And I ended up being the disk jockey. She just had forty-fives, and not that many, so you really had to work the music end of it. There was a collection of like the funniest people in the world at this party. Somehow Sam Kinison sticks in my brain. The whole Monty Python group was there, most of us from the show, a lot of other funny people, and Gilda. Gilda showed up and she’d already had cancer and gone into remission and then had it again, I guess. Anyway she was slim. We hadn’t seen her in a long time. And she started doing, “I’ve got to go,” and she was just going to leave, and I was like, “Going to leave?” It felt like she was going to really leave forever.
So we started carrying her around, in a way that we could only do with her. We carried her up and down the stairs, around the house, repeatedly, for a long time, until I was exhausted. Then Danny did it for a while. Then I did it again. We just kept carrying her; we did it in teams. We kept carrying her around, but like upside down, every which way—over your shoulder and under your arm, carrying her like luggage. And that went on for more than an hour—maybe an hour and a half—just carrying her around and saying, “She’s leaving! This could be it! Now come on, this could be the last time we see her. Gilda’s leaving, and remember that she was very sick—hello?”
We worked all aspects of it, but it started with just, “She’s leaving, I don’t know if you’ve said good-bye to her.” And we said good-bye to the same people ten, twenty times, you know.
And because these people were really funny, every person we’d drag her up to would just do like five minutes on her, with Gilda upside down in this sort of tortured position, which she absolutely loved. She was laughing so hard we could have lost her right then and there.
It was just one of the best parties I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ll always remember it. It was the last time I saw her.”
Steve Bluestein is a comedic genius and just a warm, sweet guy. He has written for TV, film, comic strips too! He’s done Stand-up for over 20 years and has distributed so many belly laughs and myriad of joyful moments to us all. Look him up, wiki him, google him watch his reel.. all of it.. He’s spectacular!
So, Steve took a little vacation. A cruise. Europe! Upon his return he shared in all of his glory, only the way Steve can, a complete and totally comedic verbal waterfall which we will be sharing with you! Now, before you take the journey of “The Vacation” I asked Steve a couple of questions.
KAB: How old were you when you figured out you were funny and what was the circumstance?
SB: I was about nine. My Aunt was saying that my Uncle was a big baby… I got up and left the room. My mother asked, “Where are you going.” and I said. “To change Uncle’s diapers.” HUGE LAUGH.
SB: Just that it’s funny and touching and people seem to find it helps them.
KAB: It’s very true Steve, I’ve read it. I loved it! Do you plan on going on another cruise in the future?
SB: As soon as I can… I need the material.
So fasten your life preserver, as your oxygen mask deploys from the overhead compartment, hold on to your drink……Here’s Steve Bluestein!!
Planes, Boats, Children, Appetizers and Steve Bluestein….
by Steve Bluestein
I don’t take vacations Why? I never leave my home and it’s hard to get Paris to come to my house. So when I do take a vacation it’s a big deal. The big deal started seven months ago when I decided to take another cruise. Are you ready?
THE FLIGHT TO ENGLAND.
British Airlines has managed to squeeze every possible inch of space into those planes. The only way they could get more people in is if they lined the interior with Vaseline and stacked us in with Velcro.
I’m in my seat and so far so good. No Samoan woman has taken the seat beside me. I’m on the aisle and I can manage some elbow room. We take off and I’m serene, the flight is safe and smooth… and then it starts. Apparently, the seat behind me is occupied by a nine-year old Rockette who kicks the seat like it’s the Easter Show at Radio City Music Hall. This kid thumped my seat from LA, half was across the Atlantic Ocean waking me every 15 minutes. I couldn’t take it any longer. I turned around and said in my sweetest voice, “ Kick the back of my seat one more time and you’ll find out why the windows don’t open” Where are the parents of mini Ann Miller… they are sitting in front of me, by the exit row, with enough let room to accommodate Tommy Tune.
And let me tell you about the flight attendants. They were so young I thought if there was an emergency I was going to have to burp them to calm their nerves. Where do they recruit Romper Room?
We land in London… easy breezy through immigration… customs… done in 20 minutes. Although I must say if Satan ever designed an airport it’s Heath Row… you land walk down miles of corridors, take an elevator up to a train who takes you to your gate. By this time you want turn around and head back home. I continue on. the limo driver is waiting for me as ordered and we head to the elevator. He moves up to the door. I follow. The elevator doors open and a short, fat English woman who looks like Winston Churchill screams at me, “WHERE THE BLOODY ELL DO YOU THINK YOUS GOIN’. ARE YA BLIND. THERE’S A QUEUE ERE.” And she says it with such a loud voice that the entire terminal stops and turns to see who the American asshole is. I say, “I’m sorry I didn’t see the line.” To which her husband adds, “DEN YOURA MORON CAUSE DA LINE’S RIGHT ERE.” To which I say, “Aren’t you two a wonderful representation of English grace and charm.” This shocks them both, they are dumbfounded. England has grace and charm?
The elevator doors open and my driver heads in. OHHHHH NOOOO, I shout. “I’m not entering an enclosed space with Bonnie and Clyde.” A stranger on the elevator says, “Good on ya luv” and the elevator doors close. I’VE BEEN IN ENGLAND TWENTY MINUTES.
We get to the hotel and it’s lovely… modern, clean… everything you’d hope for in a London residence…the only problem is it was designed by a science fiction writer. I could get nothing to work, not the lights, not the water in the bathroom, not the TV. I felt like the apes in the beginning of 2001 a Space Odyssey. I was banging on the pipes with that hanger that has no head on it. Now that I’ve been totally demoralized I discover the hotel is off the beaten path… Yugoslavia is closer. So to see anything we walk and we walk and we walk… we walk… and in four hours we take a boat cruise, a bus tour, a dinner and ride on the London Eye. When Hitler was bombing London he wasn’t this organized.
The next day we leave for the ship. I pick up the morning paper… HEADLINE: DAVID FROST DIES ON CRUSIE SHIP. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear as headed for nine days at sea.
The limo driver is there at 11 as promised. I’m already making funeral plans. We drive the two hours to Dover and I get to see the White Cliffs of Dover…all the time I’m thinking a little 409 is needed here.
So far my planning has been impeccable. Everything has gone like clockwork. And then we present our tickets to the ship, the lady hands me something to read…I go for my glasses and they had crossed over into that fifth dimension. I’ve left them in the Limo. Now let me explain something to you…without my reading glasses Stevie Wonder has a better view of the world. I am completely blind. Mind you, I have brought a second pair of glasses because without my reading glasses Stevie Wonder has a better view of the world. I’m a dyslexic nightmare. So it’s not like I have been stranded without glasses before… but just the fact that I have lost them has given me something to use to completely ruin the rest of the trip. I try to comfort myself, “At least you’re not David Frost”.
DAY ONE: GUERNSEY
We take a walking tour of Guernsey led by Mary Poppins. The nicest, sweetest lady you’d ever meet who is stunningly handsome at about 75. One of the members of he group is late, let’s call her Helen Gurley Brown. However, two members of the group a husband and wife… let’s call them Donald Trump and Ivana… are not happy. “We are on time, why do we have to wait?” The woman whose expression has not changed since she arrived on the ship pipes in, “I’m not waiting.” And she takes off. OH. The expression…it’s like she’s constantly smelling shit.
We take the tour and Donald and Helen are suddenly getting chummy. He turns to Ivana and says, “She knows George and Laura.” To which Helen says, “History will show he was the greatest president this country has ever had.” My balls hit the pavement. I suddenly realize that I have discovered a nest of Republicans. Everywhere I look there are Republicans complaining. I start playing a game … FIND THE DEMOCRAT. “Oh look someone is smiling. Must be a Democrat?” There was one African American Family on the ship…the husband came up to me…”HOLD ME.MAN”.
I get through the day. Tomorrow is a day at sea. I wonder what it will hold. That night on the ship they play THE IMPOSSIBLE, the story of a family that goes on vacation and is hit by a Tsunami. THIS is the movie they play on the first night out… I go down to the lobby and a violin trio is playing… I SWEAR TO YOU… “Closer to God are Thee” the tune they played as the Titanic went down. As a comic I see the comedy in the situation as a passenger I want to run to my room and leave my life vest on…forever.
DAY TWO: AT SEA.
I’ve always wanted to see whales. I just didn’t think I’d see them in bathing suits. There should be a law… if the flap of skin on your back folds over and touches your hip, you cannot wear a thong.
The men are no better. I saw one guy walking down the hallway. He was so wide he was knocking paintings off the walls on both sides as he made his way to his cabin.
Oh and day two is the first night of Rosh Hashanah. The last time I was in Temple Eisenhower was in office but I thought it would be fun to be in France and celebrate the New Year in another country. The service is at five p.m…. I go down there at five. We have crossed a time line and clocks were set a hour ahead. It was actually six p.m. and I missed the service. Who would have ever guessed that I would be upset about missing a Jewish New Year service. There is a first for everything.
DAY THREE: BORDEAUX, FRANCE
So next morning I’m up at six a.m. and I’m ready to go to services. I walk into the room and one lady is sitting with a shawl. On the pulpit is a priest with vestments, behind him is a huge cross with Jesus. She says, “Come in… join us.” I say, “I haven’t been in Temple in about 40 years but I don’t think this is a Rosh Hashanah service.” The woman laughs so loud the priest stops spraying the incense.
Ok, so I come back in half an hour and there are the Jews… all ten of them. I have found them in this sea of WASP wonderland-ness. We get to talking and suddenly I realize I have found the rarest of rare… REPUBLICAN JEWS… a living oxymoron. It’s like it’s when I found out fish eat their young… I was horrified.
The service lasts exactly 12 minutes. Why? The Rabbi has to take a tour of the Bordeaux countryside. This is the Jewish Holiday I have wished for my entire life.
So we board our bus to the wine country. We have a French guide… a woman with a voice just short of grinding silverware down the garbage disposal. She spoke in such a thick accent no one could understand her and when we asked her to repeat whatever she said she got furious. “Vat is Wong wit you peoples” I thought I was going to have to stay after the tour in detention. Six of us started a support group for survivors of the tour which we are now calling the Death March on Bataan.
That night we went to the theater for the entertainment. Sit down… you’re gonna love this. REBECCA AND DONNOVAN. Picture Arnold Schwartnegger singing like Mario Lanza while his wife hung from silk ropes. That’s what this act was. I actually sat through twenty minutes of it until my ears began to bleed and I fled from the theater like The Von Trapp Family.
DAY FOUR: AT SEA
Tbey have provided us with many interesting things to do on this ship. Interesting if you live in assisted living and have a motorized wheelchair. One of my favorites activities is SCARF TYING. I kid you not… learn how to tie a scarf…followed by NAPKIN FOLDING. (Readers: this is not a joke.) These are actual classes. They also have courses you could use like how to shoot video on an ipad, how to play the piano, how to play bridge… each one of THOSE classes was anemically empty. But SCARF TYING was a slam-dunk. Standing room only! Then there was the lecture series… who do they have as a guest speaker…some show biz celebrity… some sports hero… a political figure? NO! Clint Van Zant… an FBI Serial Murderer Profiler. STANDING ROOM ONLY? They were seated on the floor. These Republicans like a good mass murder. I went to the lecture in which I learned one of the killers liked to shove stones up the vaginal cavity of his victims. (beat) FOR THIS I PAID FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS INCLUDING AIR FARE???? I was once on a Princess Cruise and their entertainment was a “Hairiest man on the ship” contest… a Persian woman won.
Ok so tonight is formal night on the ship or as I call it, The Geriatric Prom. Tonight I will see things no man is supposed to see… moo moos and tuxedos… walkers and sequins… ladies wearing things only teenagers should wear… and all to stand in a buffet line and eat things pushed through a pastry tube. I truly do love this experience… it’s a comedy writer’s dream come true. One cruise on the Atlantic and I will be writing about it for the next six years.
DAY FIVE: Lisbon, Portugal
I’ve figured out what taking a cruise is all about… it’s a series of meals interrupted by Europe. My God, I have never eaten so much in my life. They are feeding us like we’re Foie Gras Geese. They just keep shoving food down our throats… my liver is the size of Connecticut. Any moment I expect the chef to cut it out and force-feed it back to me.
Lisbon, Portugal. Well, I can die happy now. I’ve seen the tomb of Vasco D’Gama. This is the highlight of Lisbon, that and protecting your wallets from pickpockets. I have never seen anything like it in my life, you’re standing alone waiting for the shuttle… suddenly, out of no where, 500 Gypsies surround you trying to sell you shawls. So the entire trip your holding your wallet, your camera, your keys, your passport, your gold incisor… anything you’re afraid they could get their hands on. OH! It appears Lisbon is the thimble capital of the world. Everywhere you go they are hocking thimbles… and coasters. Thimbles and coasters…coasters and thimbles… big ones, black ones, cork ones, blue ones, coasters with Lisbon on them, thimbles with Vasco D’ Gama on them… granite thimbles.( I guess they were from the stone age) It appears the Europeans think that all we Americans do is sew and cook.
There is one funny note in Lisbon. There appears to be a large contingent of Lesbians on the ship, packs of them dressed in tool belts and wearing Berkinstocks.. It would give me great joy to say over and over… We’re in Lisbon with the Lesbians…. Lisbon with the Lesbians… Lisbon with the Lesbians. Has a nice ring, no?
I must say I was disappointed in Lisbon. It’s dirty. It’s crowded. It’s covered in graffiti. It’s New York City with thimbles. I was picturing this quaint little village like it says in the brochure… lovely multi colored homes like a Disney movie. Instead I got the parking lot of an architectural salvage yard. The whole city is a big BEFORE photo. It’s a D.I.Y. project waiting to happen.
One interesting side note about tour guides. How do you get them to shut up? They get you on that bus and don’t stop talking until the ship is pulling away from the dock. They tell you dates and names and countries and kings and queens and all you want to know is, “Where is the toilet?” About twenty minutes into the tour her voice begins to sound like nails on a blackboard. Everything she says you take exception to. “Oh really… Portugal has wonderful weather… really?” You can’t wait to get off the bus and flee for your life but she’s behind you with a bull horn.” DON’T FORGET TO STOP IN THE TRINKET SHOP BEFORE YOU LEAVE.” “DIE BITCH… DIE… YOU TOUR GUIDE FROM HELL!!!”
DAY SIX: SEVILLE, SPAIN-WATCH YOUR VALUABLES!!!!
By this day you have gotten to know your traveling companions and they seem to fall into three categories:
a. People you want be friends with.
b. People you want to be friends with but just can’t.
c. People you want to kill with the bottle opener provided in your room.
Under “a” comes people your own age, people with the same political views and anyone with all their original body parts. Under “b” comes anyone with equipment. This includes oxygen bottles, canes, walkers, electric wheel chairs and a leg made out from composite materials. Under “c” comes Republicans.
There are also sub categories. People with language barriers like Russians and people who stick to themselves, like Asians. These are all nice people but when “Isn’t Lisbon a dumpy city. ” takes 20 minutes, flash cards and a signal flare, a lasting friendship is out of the question.
On today’s trip I found two things. 1. Seville is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been in and 2. There are other Democrats on board. Today at lunch I sat with a lovely couple from Connecticut. Out of the blue she turns to me and says “Did you ever see a bigger bunch of assholes in your life. Republicans…all of them” I heard angels sing. From that moment on the trip took on a new air. She told us of other Democrats on board. I suddenly knew what the French underground felt like during World War II. We had secret handshakes and secret meeting places. “We’re under the stairs in the main ball room” IT’S A WHOLE NEW TRIP!!!!
DAY SEVEN: AT SEA
Last night we were supposed to see The Rock of Gibraltar… we passed it at midnight so that’s one thing that won’t be crossed off my bucket list.
DAY EIGHT: BARCEL…. Ohhhhhhhh who gives a shit!
I have seen more churches than the Pope. I am so touristed out I can’t begin to tell you. I’ve seen parks. I’ve seen monuments. I’ve seen the birthplace of people I never knew existed. This isn’t a vacation it’s credits for my Masters.
The good news is I have finally found the fun people. All four of them. They are under 70, they are Democrats, they laugh… I’ve got four new friends. Worth the whole trip.
DAY NINE; TO THE AIRPORT.
My pick up is at ten… at ten thirty he still is not there. I have prepaid for this ride and suddenly the cruise ship who did everything but wipe my ass has thrown me to the wind. “Oh, you didn’t buy OUR transportation… pity.” So I grab a taxi to the airport with tip and with the money I have already paid to the other limo company this trip has cost me 16 thousand dollars. I could have flown around the world twice for what this cab ride has cost me. And here’s the bottom line. I DON’T CARE. I have had one of the best times I have ever had in my life. I came home with nothing. No key chains, no iPhones covers from Spain. No, snowballs with cathedrals in them. All I have is my memories… 486 photos and four new friends. Hey! Could have been a lot worse… and I didn’t even tell you about the Israeli on the plane home who kept pushing my seat forward because I was “Invading his space.” I wanted to club him with my thimble collection.
As a kid, I sat “Indian style” on the rug in front of a black and white TV and watched a show called Capt. Kangaroo in New York City. It was the 1960’s. This is where I was first introduced to Chuck McCann. His work, his love of children, animals , art and having a good time has spanned decades and genres. He’s a living national treasure!
I chatted with Chuck a few times this past year about writing a bit about him and hadn’t gotten around to it. Honestly, his career is so expansive I was concerned I wouldn’t/couldn’t do him justice. And I’m sure I won’t yet, here it is his 78th birthday and I find myself writing! Yes, Chuck you are not only a comediec giant you are one of the warmest, kindest people I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with and I wish you the happiest of birthdays! Thank you for bringing joy to so many of us!
I will attempt to give readers a small taste of who Chuck McCann is, but there is so much more that I will also guide you to youtube and google search, because you will find more brilliant charms like this!
RARE INTERVIEW: Chuck McCann Explains How He Became Friends With Stan Laurel
Chuck’s stories of old Hollywood are not to be missed. His book “Chuck McCann’s Let’s Have Fun Scrapbook” is a carefully crafted creative journey of Old Hollywood with the forward penned by Billy Crystal
McCann hosted comedy/variety TV puppet shows in the New York area. McCann (with Ashley) did The Puppet Hotel for WNTA-TV, Channel 13; then Laurel & Hardy & Chuck, Let’s Have Fun and The Chuck McCann Show for WPIX, Channel 11; and finally, The Chuck McCann Show, The Great Bombo’s Magic Cartoon Circus Lunchtime Show and Chuck McCann’s Laurel and Hardy Show for WNEW-TV, Channel 5. In addition, Chuck was the comedy sidekick on the WPIX long-running Clay Cole Show.
McCann’s career was burgeoning by the time he left Channel 5. By the end of the 1960s, he had appeared to critical acclaim in the 1968 film The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and performed regularly on CBS’s The Garry Moore Show and Happy Days (not the later sitcom). He also began a successful cartoon voice career, doing everything from Bob Kane’s Cool McCool to Sonny the Cuckoo Bird (“I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”) in commercials for General Mills. He had even been one of the stars of producer George Schlatter’s ill-fated offshoot of Laugh-In, the one-episode Turn-On.
In the 1970s, McCann’s life and career shifted west, and he relocated to Los Angeles. He made frequent appearances on network television in everything from Bonanza to Columbo to The Bob Newhart Show. He appeared in the 1973 made for TV movie The Girl Most Likely to…. He had a steadier job as a regular on Norman Lear’s All That Glitters. In addition, he co-starred with Bob Denver in CBS’s Saturday-morning sitcom Far Out Space Nuts, which he co-created. The 1970s also brought him fame in a long-running series of commercials for Right Guard anti-perspirant: he was the enthusiastic neighbor with the catch phrase “Hi guy!” who appeared on the other side of a shared medicine cabinet, opposite actor Bill Fiore. McCann also impersonated Oliver Hardy in commercials for various products (teaming with Jim MacGeorge as Stan Laurel), and for a few years he played the holiday-season recurring role of Kris Kringle on the NBC soap opera Santa Barbara.
McCann continued voice work for cartoons, playing Jollo, Bookworm, Bump-On-A-Log, and Woof in 1992’s King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow and speaking as The Thing on the The Fantastic Four and Hulk animated cartoon series. He was also the voice of Leatherneck in the 2nd season of G.I. Joe. Throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium, he has been in commercials—at Christmas he has played Santa Claus for one product or another—and TV/movie gigs (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch). He also voices Navarro, and Buck in Random! Cartoons and Dumptruck,Gibber, and Sadie in Disney’s Talespin.
I asked Chuck about his friendship with Mae West and he shared this classic story:
Chuck: One night she performed for us until the wee hours. She thought I reminded her of her manager Timony.
She told me stories of how she developed her character. She followed this one women who had this very Hoitie gate and she said she walked behind her imitating her walk. When the women felt her presence and turned “Can I help you lady”, she remarked looking down her nose at her with her hands on her hip swaggering in a even more Hoitie attitude. All Mae could say was that she admired her Hat, and orstrige plume and queried if it was for sale??? “This was given to me by a friend. IT WAS A GIFT>>>AND I DON’T SELL GIFTS.” With that she turned and walked off… and “Mae the Character” was born.. and that came from her lips on that couch , one great night siting on that couch…
(PHOTOS from Chuck McCann’s archives)
Chuck McCann is also an accomplished artist and cartoonist!
As, I told you there are so many dimensions to Chuck McCann. He’s just brilliant!
Chuck paints and draws everywhere from his art studio to napkins at restaurants. He calls them his ” Napatoons”
Impersonation scene – The Projectionist (1971) with Chuck McCann
Far Out Space Nuts
In another wondeful kids show Chuck co-starred with funny man Bob Denver ( Gilligan’s Island)
Chuck’s “Dick Tracy” character from WPIX becomes Detective Dump of Bunko Squad on WNEW.
Note that, rather than a wrist radio, Dump sports a Princess phone.
If you love nostalgia and Old Hollywood Chuck’s book is a must have!
Again, thank you Chuck you are truly a gift to so many!! Much love from my home to yours. Happy Birthday! xo Karen
A brilliant comic, writer, actor, Rick Overton has been making us laugh from in front of the camera, behind the camera and standing in front of the brick wall for years. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Variety or Music Program for: “Dennis Miller Live” (1994). He also dressed up as… hmmm..well…. you decide, with Kevin Pollack for Ron Howard’s film, “Willow(1988) and even plays the harmonica.. and fabulously! I caught up with Rick while on tour in Atlanta. Rick is is known as a legendary comic/Jedi Prophet… Yes to both, I say!
KAB: Firstly, thank you for doing this interview, I know how busy you are! How long have you been on stage making people laugh, Rick?
RO: Are you sitting down? (Just say “Yes”, I have no way of knowing. ) 40 years. Back when the mic was made of wood and you had to just shout.
KAB: Ha!! And yes I was sitting… As a comic in the club scene what has changed as far as the way it was 35 years ago vs. now?
RO: Like anything at saturation point, there are always a few Mozart’s and a whole bunch of Salieri’s. Just like rock music. But the brilliant ones shine through in every era.
KAB: Your gags can be a bit racy and political at times. How do you use comedy to bring awareness to issues?
RO: Go to a startling place and while their attention is peaked, speak your mind.
KAB: Really great advice for anyone with the floor.. Can you share with us a bit about what you think happened after your HBO Special in 1991? You were waaay ahead of your time, very much like, George Carlin.
RO: Thanks Karen. It did well and played a lot, but the same industry that forced Bill Hicks go to the U.K. to explode his career viewed my special the same way. But because of my acting career at the time, I didn’t move out when Bill did. I wonder how things would look if I had. But here I remain, working it out.
(See Rick’s HBO Special below!)
KAB: We know you were buddy’s with the brilliant comedic genius Jonathan Winters, truly sorry for your loss, I know it is a rough one for you, for all of us.. Would you share with us a bit about Jonathan as a man?
RO: He clearly demonstrated the value of retaining the best parts of what an adult ought to bring from the innocent days of childhood, while his adult mind could in clarity, suss person or situation like a bar code reader. His genius was in application everywhere from his act to his acting to his books to his artwork to his opinions. All of it feels as if I were hanging with Einstein at Princeton. You can see on the GREEN ROOM with Paul Provenza, the episode with Jonathan, Robert Klein and me, I barely say a word. I just wanted to hear what they’d say next.
(See below for the Green Room Episode!)
KAB: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
RO: Listen to Jonathan’s stories and insights on my Podcast called Overview at RickOverton.net or on iTunes. (Below) He at 87 was still as clear and sharp as he’s ever been. I miss him already.
KAB: And where are you performing now? Where can people see you do your thing?
RO: This weekend I’m at the Laughing Skull in Atlanta. Brilliant lineup of acts on the show. All of them Conan worthy. M Bar in Hollywood 4/19 8:00 on the Logan Heftel Show. 4/23 I’m doing Set List (All improvised standup) at 8:00 at Meltdown comics on Sunset in Hollywood.
KAB: Thank you Rick you are truly special guy…I’m honored to know you.
RO: The honor is mine Karen. Thank you. xoxo
Rick posted on Facebook after hearing about Jonathan’s passing..
“I can look back and see now that as a child, Jonathan Winters was the father of my imagination, and his legacy to this day is exponential. To have heard or seen him was to have been changed by it, automatically. Everyone has a flipping coin, childlike – childish – childlike – childish – childlike – childish. He steadfastly chose heads as the side with which to define his life, having been dealt the negatives in his youth that he had. He started me on the path I am still on today. My dad played me The Wonderful World Of Jonathan Winters as a kid and I was in the game from that point on. Almost as if my Dad knew it would be this way. I’m so grateful for that series of events. I’m so grateful for Jonathan Winters. Thank you Jonathan, thank you.”
The Green Room with Paul Provenza with Jonathan Winters, Robert Klein, Rick Overton and more!
Personally feeling heartbroken. Not only was Jonathan Winters one of my personal all time favorites, but a dear friend of IndieStardust called him “Uncle Jonathan” as he was growing up. I am working on getting an exclusive personal tribute for us from him. Until then.. if we hear giggling thunder coming from the skies.. we certainly know why..
Comedian Jonathan Winters, whose “off the wall” brilliantly executed improvisations inspired Robin Williams and every other comic I have ever spoken with, passed away Thursday evening at age 87 at his Montecito, Calif., home of natural causes said longtime family friend Joe Petro III according to AP.
Winters was a master of improv. His facial contortions were the most memorable and eclectically funny. His characters, like the dirty old lady Maude Frickert were based on people Winters knew growing up in Ohio.
“The Jonathan Winters Show” pioneered dual screen videotape technology in the 1950’s. He was introduced to millions of new fans in 1981 as the son of Williams’ silly space guy in the final season of ABC’s “Mork and Mindy.”
Jonathan Winters as Maude Fricket with Dean Martin
Jonathan Winters Montage
1988 Jonathan Winters delivers a monologue at “Bob Hope’s 50 Years at NBC”
A warm and hilarious storyteller, Dylan Brody has his way with words. He calls himself a “Purveyor of Fine Words and Phrases” He certainly is! Dylan is adorable neurotic perfection with lovingly supportive generosity. He is able to visually frame any situation so we can be right there with him. “Writ Large” is a must!
I caught up with Dylan Brody as he was on the phone doing an interview with “Comedy Above the Pub”. But I was lucky enough to get him next.
Tell me how you feel about words Dylan.
Hah! I love words. I love the way they fit together into images and I love the way in which those images can convey ideas more complex than those literally expressed. This is the nature of poetry and I try to allow poetry to be part of all my word use, whether it is in the creation of a joke, a story or an e-mail message.
What type of situation do you enjoy sharing with an audience most?
The type in which I stand on stage talking and they sit and listen and/or laugh.
Ha! (And he said that with a straight face.) Dylan, how long did it take to write and record “Writ Large”? Was it a compilation of many years or a short focused intention?
There’s one piece (Alpha Male) that has been part of my repertoire for some time . . .
. . . I had wanted to get that piece on to one of my CDs for a long time, but for reasons of thematic balance it hadn’t fit anywhere before. Apart from that, everything on this CD was written and developed over the course of the past year. Almost. I just remembered that the track “Size Matters” is actually a joke from my old stand-up days. A fan and friend of mine requested that I put it on the CD, so I did. Also, the structured improv stuff is stuff I’ve done for a long time, but it really is improvised, so it’s always brand new.
Is there anything specific you would like to share with your listeners?
I want my listeners to know that it is hugely important to me to know that people enjoy what I do. The more silence I allow in my performances, the scarier it is and all encouragement is appreciated.
So we will always be sure to make lots of noise in the audience.
I don’t think you understand what I mean . . . (sigh).
I do!!! I really do! But just in case I don’t, tell me.
When I moved from doing four-laughs-per-minute to . . . oh. Never mind.
No please share! ( Wasn’t going to let this one pass us by. ) There is a certain rhythm when you are on stage.
When I was doing a laugh every fifteen seconds, the laughter became a constant source of reassurance. With the story-telling, a certain amount of silence is appropriate. I build images. I take people on weird, dark little journeys sometimes. I’m not actually hoping for or playing for a laugh, but so many years as a comic habituated me to the sound. So the silence is wonderful, appropriate, focused, rich but also a little bit terrifying. I have to remind myself internally that . . .
. . . as long as it’s listening silence and not coughs and shuffles, I’m doing okay.
Just watching the Starbucks clip I was glued. You are doing more than ok..
Aw, thanks. That piece is one of my funniest. It’s how I start my set when I’m doing a regular stand up club these days.
Has anyone ever done this type of comedy before? More storytelling.. less one liners?
It’s a great clip! I loved it!
Oh, yeah! If it were 1946 or 1958 I would just be considered a comic, really. Mark Twain did this sort of performance. Lord Buckley did long-form stuff. Bill Cosby did long stories.
Bill Cosby! A favorite! It has certainly been many years though. Thank you for bringing it back!
The idea that you need a laugh every 15 seconds became the norm only in the 1980s/1990s with the proliferation of cable channels, TV comedy showcase programs and the “tight six” that everyone needed in hopes of stepping from stand-up into sit coms.
You are most, most welcome. Thank you for accepting it.
Thank you Dylan! Wonderful interview. I look forward to many replays of “Writ Large”.
My Fine Friend Dylan Brody has his newest CD coming out today! Dylan also happens be a regular Special Guest in my Songwriters Showcase and will be performing tonight (Tues. April 2nd) at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena. Dylan will be celebrating his newest CD and will have a bunch with him. Music starts at 7PM. Dylan will Writ Large Later! Oh – and please “Like” Dylan, he is a genuinely wise and funny and thoughtful man who tells the parables of our time. 🙂 – David Harvey
I cannot recommend this CD highly enough (and not just because I was at the recording). Dylan Brody is an incredible storyteller who will caress your brain while messing with your head in the best of ways. WRIT LARGE is wit large. GO GET IT. Amy Engelhardt