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Do you have any words upcoming actor comedian comedy writers or people in the writing. Yes I said yes they go work at the post. It feels crowded and I don't need him. I don't know what I really don't. Mine was an ideal process I suppose. Learning how to work with an audience is important. Michigan State University radio presents the comic arts an essay and sound on the humor of our times featuring the comic the humorist the joke writer the clown the Dauntless individuals who work in the world of comedy. Even after years of toil in the difficult art of comedy you remain exposed to the whims of fickle fortune. You continue perplexed by the vagaries of humor and its capricious nature but you have decided you will sail these uncharted waters and hope to reach landfall amidst waves
of laughter. If you would serve the comic muse bravely you brass the rising tide if you would become a top banana. Your voice would ring with confident pride. I think my career was kind of a process. I remember when I when I'm out sick here though I used to walk in the fences and make maybe other kids laugh. And then I dropped it from about 9:00 a.m. when I started in 27 or 28 and then do anything in the end you. Know and I've been doing it for them. Or let's say 12 years or so. I say. I started. Quite by accident I was in Cali taking a 4 3 course and I. Went down to watch a rehearsal of a show and I read a part. And it was very small and carried me in then I
went in did another show. Then I became a drama major but I dropped out after about a year and a half and go on in some little theatre work and little theater we went to I went to a trio with my brother and a girl and we worked in an amateur play. The man I went as a single. And it was slow trading. From then on that's the story of my life right there. You will work and learn in the School of Hard Knocks adversity will test your courage and talent as joke writer Robert Orban explains for you who accept the challenge I think the comedy writer and the comedian exist in an area that's one of the most difficult areas of employment in the world today and show business itself is around a difficult field. But if you're a comedian you corporate
whore your reaction every time you do would you go and the parents have overheard in your course for about two jokes a minute. And so you're asking an audience or react to times per minute. And so they are judging your two times a minute. And when a performer when a comedy performer goes into his act and he isn't making it he is dying. Two times a minute. There is a terrible expression that's used and in show business it's called flop sweat and this is a peculiar element to comedians because they're hoarseness up the bow to it. They would tell a few jokes for whatever reason the audience might not react to it. And the comedian is being rejected quite forthrightly on the spot and he turns white he turns pale
he turns sweaty he wishes he wishes he could actually disintegrate or just fall through the cracks between the boards on the on the stage. But he can't he knows he has 20 minutes more of material to do. And so a comedy performer makes very certain when he goes out on that stage that he is a funny man and able to deliver the material and also has substance to deliver. Clearly you need great confidence to handle the toughest of jobs for you will face great decisions as you court the public favor. Actually I think I could probably run the country just as funny as and some of the other people have been doing maybe even do it better and lead more effectively. Because it has. There are some very funny politicians around these days. And a lot of competition for me in the campaign.
How would you feel if there happened to be a reversal of the trend. Entertainers in the politics and after say it so happens that a large number of come incumbents have to be thrown out of office about their entering the television entertainment field. Would you welcome them or otherwise. Oh definitely we have room for many of those comedians you know in politics and they will make a place for them if they so desire. I think it's only fair. Our sense of fair play must also be firm and backed by stoutness of heart. For if you would master the comedy craft you must suffer for the art. The comedian has to go through this baptism of fire he has to try the material and and find out whether it works. But at the point where he does succeed he develops chunks of material and in some cases several hours of material that he knows where work more often than not.
In fact there are set pieces that most comedians do that ninety five times out of a hundred he knows will work and will get laughs. In show business and in comedy there's the expression he knows where the last hour. This just means that a performer has them the material of that number of times that he knows at each joke that he that he will get a laugh and he will even be able to tell you what type of laugh the character of the laugh he will get. Whether it's a snicker whether it be a shock or whether it be a belly laugh or there will be a barrister. He knows this from dint of doing the material. So you served your time in obscurity till Dame Fortune comes around. I started in the folk clubs when the folk craze was going on. The first job I had was with a folk singer named Barbara Dane and I was doing takeoffs on folk singers at that time and I worked in them for
several years and eventually gravitated to a more bigger maybe a supper club type. Not too many though. Basically I call myself a folk comedian. Yes I was. How did you come to make your your entree into the video medium yourself. Did you start with the Smothers Brothers or some other things for years. Not really I've done some other shows I did Hollywood talent show which I auditioned four in a room in front of about five guy and I had done an old Steve Allen Show but nothing really had come of the show and it was Tommy Smothers who brought the breeder's over to watch me work in a place called the ice house in Pasadena in a folk club and they wanted to use me and a couple of things. You get a break and you're on your way now. You need perspective and a sense of tradition and even a feel for aesthetics and the funny things you do mark you well the words of Marceau the master mind knows how
eloquent silence can be and who perceives the heritage and your place in time. I sing an American has a greatest record on spending show business in the world. It used to and that I think this is absolutely true. It comes up because you have a heritage from the English come to my school which came to America. You see from the French pantomime school of soul from the Italian you came to America and this country has been done also by the great makes a great as America which is I know all these people to come to the country and to develop that up in this country. You see makes it so rich and so important. And I would say that in these times that is a big tragedy in this country says me. There's a big tradition of Part I mean some of that go to school and they can go to school like Senate and Chad a champion of color stand around and hog the bus to Keith and how to relate to every salmon and having banged. And
WC Fields after you know see and a box brought us and even more of the three marks brothers. Even when they were four by then they were like The Three Musketeers. They were and for many actors have done this in this country for and see if you took Danny Kaye. And Jenny Lewis. And I would say of course I'm at skeleton. You realize there's art in a double take and a bit of finesse goes with pie in the face. Now you proceed to rack your brain with fascinating theories like comedy and pain and I just did a humor on our show humor lecture on our show about that which we used pain and falling down and all the standard bit. Seems to be it seems to work and I like slapstick and people and people go for it I don't get a chance to do it right now in the campaign. It's not very dignified for a candidate to get up high in a face.
But we we may go back to that after the campaign. Pain and humor I think. While I do I do a thing with a mallet where I hit my hand and I say I'm going to do something very funny now I'm going to hit my hand with his mallet. When I hit it it will be very funny. And then I hit it and nobody laughs. And I say well it's also very painful. Your future then lies open before you with new horizons and humor to conquer what will you do tomorrow. Yes I think if the campaign doesn't work out if I'm not like that I'll probably go back to art I do the I'm the only opener around I paint photograph that yours with my face I use a nose dab in the Joss where oh in the air touch and I sell these paintings I think. Seriously though in the long run I hope to do movies where there's time to work things out.
Movies are a chance for you to do a little better. You know a little more time in your work. Work out a company that television news and. Eats up material and you know that you would he would welcome the chance later on to do feature films as well. Yes I hope so though there's some talk about it. Television show is over. I o dread there do it. Try a movie and give it a try. As far as other entertainers or comedians go I have always been a great fan of Charlie Chaplin's I think he was the greatest comic. Genius I guess that ever lived and some of his I would say for five of his movies so I mean is there any step on to good and some his later stuff but the stuff in between like city lights in modern times the Great Dictator goldrush were pieces of humor and comedy that will last forever where the rest of us will be. In the final analysis. All we ask of the comic artist is that honoring
instinct to guide us straight to humor is hallowed hiding place that a loosely shifting Shangri-La where the laughs are now that you know can you explain. I think basically the part's going with basics you know you work in it's future it's personal it's not a matter of what's are the highlights but you call on when discussions concerning tragedy and would you believe say say that go along with it and I think the session in the promise is not basically widespread it's all it's a comedy thing which is. What a man is born right. He tends to have these things actually mean as giving it is not his and I don't. So I think I mean it. Yes you did made it. You made it so clear that I forgot the question. Very good that your name has become a household word as a new generation of laugh hungry
people and their choice for the comedy crown and stardom fortune fame and acclaim have come at last to a sad faced young clown. Pat. Parsons of this program were prerecorded This is Alex thanking all the great people who made this series possible and concluding the final program for the comic arts. The comic arts series with Alice wire is produced by Michigan State University Radio in cooperation with the humor societies of America program consultant George Q. Lewis the music by Jerry Tillman. Your announcer can be charter. For. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
The comic arts II
A Top Banana
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3529. This prog.: A Top Banana: He Knows Where the Laughs Are. (Paulsen, Orben)
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Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-29-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:51
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Chicago: “The comic arts II; A Top Banana,” 1968-12-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “The comic arts II; A Top Banana.” 1968-12-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: The comic arts II; A Top Banana. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from