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Ladies and Gentlemen this is Alec why are reconvening the case for comedy. Sir will you please make an opening statement. I think it's really homely and I want to be entertained I want to have dinner and I found out that after about an hour in here. Michigan State University radio presents the comic arts and 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. Once long ago you were just the life of the party way joking clowning and having fun. Until that fateful day when you got the urge comic to be and fancied that you could make it pay. It's a turning point in your happy life. For once you take the plunge you accept a challenge that will drive you on through many years to come. You cut your teeth in the
club date field while you're building up an act and then you head for the nightclub scene to face the acid test is there any comedy in your blood. Can you get the laughs are you really good. You'll find your answers after dark in the middle of music and noise out there on the floor show a stage where they separate the man from the boys before you go on you seek advice and bluntly you get the word. When you meet backstage with Jackie Leonard and talk with The Mouse That Roared. Well I don't care tonight you had a great performance my audience and I were very very sharp and you didn't use too many comebacks for people who want to do more American. Things like that. That's the way I like to work. I don't do much routine right. I'll try to discuss something a bit of a joke I'll try to make it part of. The natural thing that happens on the street. Your act was a good hour long or longer telling about it in about 50 minutes 5
8 1 hour that's a lot of material. Why am I yours I do a guy just come into the conversation I could use an attack because they were destroyed it was a very pleasant type audience no wiseguys no nothing and I just killed a little bit and it was a nice soft approachable I guess the noise you're stronger you know you can like it when the white guy does come along he's not exactly I don't like it because I'm going for a point and then they tell it. Like a talk just a moment about the media is a supper club you're meeting a lot of energy because it is no time element. Nothing like that I like it. Most of the things I've done and I come over I've already done on television you know the good things. You have an outstanding success in your stand at the Copacabana this year when you get out of it all right. Oh I read these things. One thing I hope is my kind of nightclub because it's a typical New York audience. Very sophisticated and it got to be pretty sure you know.
Find a New York audience there's a good you can always feel mocked. And I was pretty shocked at the kind of an audience you saw tonight. They're like my kind of word or adults. Although I have been doing a lot of college days with Tony Bennett my good friend Count Basie. And of a surprise I was doing everything I say every prop and talking about things that I like you know they were talking about my niece and my nieces and my nephews going to school out of California. How do I do things about my niece and I and I said. They flunked off because they they flunked in marching and the patron saint of gag man hears a lot of humor while covering his Broadway beat. So you talked with Wilson the art of comedy in the cafe in making your rounds of the top entertainment center the Broadway theaters and the nightclubs of New York and other cities of the country. NAME IS a few of
the brightest new stars in the country today in your view. Jackie Vernon Of course you're not a newcomer exactly but his name was. Not as well known as Joey Lawrence who I suppose is the dean of the comic known comedians anyway. And. Alan and Ross. Are well-established now coming into the picture field right now which would make them if they make it. Tremendously important worldwide. They're up against a tough but. Rather tough battle. They're compared to Martin and Lewis and Abbott was just bellow and all those. People and when anybody compares any new team with an old team a new team comes out badly. And that's what's happened to them and comparisons. That's it. A team that uses a topical joke entirely almost
entirely and every day they scan the papers carefully in the same manner that Will Rogers used to. And they use a gag about a leading political figure leading a romantic personality as a part of a gimmick where Steve Rossi poses as a questioner interrogator and Mardy allies answering the questions. Steve works on preparing the comedy just as Marty does. And some of the stuff is extremely quotable and I use that and it's out of the comedy don't you also joy Lois has contributed a great deal to the United States with gag thinking back over the some of the things attributed to Joe. He said example. He was no hospitals. He said he was. Feeling pretty bad for a while but then he took a turn for the nurse. I have a dozen of those lines that he's used
many of which he's forgotten one time. He was performing at the Copacabana on the floor show and he looked over to ringside was somebody asleep sleepy man it is a head down on my shoulders and you know I want all the drama said I don't mind your going to sleep but I was hurt when you didn't say goodnight. A long line to that guy and live in the memories of Muslim goers like myself. For the nightclub entertainer or seasoning is the key to success and understanding audiences what goes over best. Catch a show at the rooster tailing chat backstage with any young like asking any. Maybe don't run into the situation. How do you as a performer just to a cold or hostile audience when you feel that out there when that's how very seldom happens anymore because I've been on television about 55 times
and the people who come in must like you know they wouldn't come in and then I have good jokes I know what I'm doing out there see so there's no hostile audience you've got to go out there and handle them nicely like a lady and ladies and gentlemen and not get out of line they'll be dirty and you go out with good jokes and that's it. They're not hostile mojo and I am not the problem money is you know as I think I do a good show for the people. How about in the earlier years when you were breaking and wow lies in your testing. You don't know what you're doing half the time some of these are not funny some node you know you're floundering so they're not hostile answer back to you know they say a lot of things a lot of times I would answer them back. You get into a house why would you know. But good naturedly. And if you want to talk to a man who walks out with a six family a six and he hates you so somebody heckles you cutely you have a little fun with him and I handle him differently than I did years ago used to try to top him. And I used to try and make
him feel my two cents was they were doing to me but I gave that up and I play with them. I very seldom get hold anymore. Good naturedly or somebody says hey honey did I Joe nothing wrong with that you know you remind me of a joke when you do it ROOM. Yes requests are not federal you do it for me don't fight them to what they like. I've noticed this in your performance here at the rooster tail tonight that there is a rapport between the audience it's as if your son in the living room you know piped up the I was a regular who said things because that's the way you have to do it nowadays. But it took you a long time to develop this. I think so. Confidence from the friendlies in the stores the audience and a rapport as you call it was like Apollo. These people are out in Apollo and Second City home they come and I want to be entertained and want to have dinner and I found out that that's after Bob and I are in here you know I was like a salesman of ahead of you let him get out of the store you're pretty bad salesman. He came in looking for a hat you know. Right.
After the battle they're in here. Then sell them what they want and rapport is the word you like to hear when you entertain the cabaret crowd downstairs at the up stairs the patrons readily participate with comedienne Joan Rivers. Well it's a whole new kind of I don't know how long it's going to last. It's what do you do with my going away and then when he took it a step further came in because the the whole new school I'm sure that the ones that have made it here you know I'm coming out there's a boy named Dick Cavett. We're all in the same thing. I think the public will get very tired of us about five more years and someone will come in and get a python on his face or say I went to my wife's friend and I'm going home to school again. It's just a cycle. One is already in reception. To today identify completely I do things
that even if they don't laugh that which is they they talk to me you know at the downstairs which is a small room. You know I'll say has it happen to you. And they answer me said I want to kill them. You know last I was seeing a woman. Have you ever been to Miami. And she starts telling us when and where they get so personally involved which is lovely. I forget there's a performer audience relationship and they talk to me. County right on while I'm on stage what's happened to them. And also they know everything I'm telling them is absolutely true because as long as a germ of truth then to me it's true because my own mind already the whole story becomes true. And it really becomes like a friend talking to you. And this can just relax and they act. They answer so I don't laugh but they answer you know they nod. It's the wildest thing you'll say do you know what kind of. I talk about the women with the long legs. You know women like never stop you know. Let's go up to the neck of Isabelle the
baby's ear and a hand and I said you know these women how beautiful they are and all the people who wanted to yeah we know them we know the kind you mean. It's a long way to the goal you seek a tough road to the top of the game to be an entertainer is to be unique as Danny Thomas explains. He would ask me about comedian. I got an actor is a big difference between entertainer going after. Day and night. Entertainers. The people who are there the now people in their life can be very very sure if not properly handled. They also have the greatest chance to be perennial. It's paradoxical. But they certainly do not become perennials from shallow seeds from Cheryl planting. It takes a lot a year. Of flapping of being
bad. Of knowing what is bad and what is good before you can finally conquer that position in your life. As an entertainer. Particularly a solo performer. Can you count them when you're doing the solo performers in the United States. Some guy National on. One shot. And they are doing great. Takes a lot of a lot of years. I don't get Duncan. You just don't come and go today. You can't show me any media that ever lived and this guy. Only just don't make stuff. Every night it's there it's had a lot of experience and it doesn't go out. It's crowded ones. Oh wow that's a comedian makes a big. And when it right is good it's gone forever. And that's very good a simile as I can draw for you and I do. A cabaret as a showcase for those who are skilled in the comic art a
crucible of comedy where the performer comes of age face to face with his audience out on the nightclub stage. Thanks to our guests Jackie Leonard Earl Wilson and a young man Joan Rivers and Danny Thomas Parsons were prerecorded. This is Alec wire our next program spotlights the humorous writer. The comic art series with al the 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 Tom and your announcer can be checker. For. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
The comic arts
Episode Number
Episode 10 of 13
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 3293. This prog.: Jack E. Leonard, Earl Wilson, Henny Youngman, Joan Rivers, Danny Thomas.
Media type
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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: 68-12-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:44
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Chicago: “The comic arts; Episode 10 of 13,” 1968-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 14, 2024,
MLA: “The comic arts; Episode 10 of 13.” 1968-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 14, 2024. <>.
APA: The comic arts; Episode 10 of 13. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from