Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
It can be a serious mistake for a comedian to accept an invitation for a television appearance before they're ready - when their material is still shaky and not fully polished. Michael Keaton makes just such a mistake with this, his first stand-up appearance on American television (he had previously performed stand-up on the Canadian CTV Network on The Alan Hamel Show). It wasn't his American television debut however - that had occurred a couple years earlier on an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
Jackie Gayle is one of the many forgotten old school Jackies of comedy history, along with Jackie Miles, Jackie Vernon and on down the line. Like those two, Gayle was a successful nightclub comedian who never truly crossed over to television fame. That might even be a noble fact, if it weren't for the fact that today we are left with little documentation of his act. Woody Allen used Gayle in his salute to the borscht belt comedians in Broadway Danny Rose.
Norm Crosby's Comedy Shop with guests Vic Tayback and Garry Shandling (1978) - Footage Offline - 10/07/09
Vic Tayback was the "mystery surprise guest" on this episode of Norm Crosby's Comedy Shop. This feature of every episode had a seventies celebrity knocking on the door of a phony living room set and making an unannounced appearance in which they would engage in terribly labored comedy banter with Norm and then introducing the next comedian. Although it isn't in this clip, Tayback introduces Shandling as a funny young writer from his sitcom Alice.
This show features several of the first ladies of sitcomhood: Nancy Kulp, Ann B. Davis and even Rose Marie (The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch, The Dick Van Dyke Show).
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This is a fascinating and awful sitcom. There have been a lot of things on the site recently that could be categorized as such, and the steady stream isn't about to slow down any time soon. Anyway, in 1949 William Bendix was busy making movies for Universal and wasn't able to appear in the initial television version of his popular radio series. Instead the producers went with some B-movie bum named Jackie Gleason - making his television debut. Three years after this failed run, a revamped television version of The Life of Riley came to the airwaves with Bendix back in the starring role. Gleason of course was busy on a different TV series.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
At the 1970 Miss World pageant in London, feminists blew whistles and ambushed the stage with harmless (but very intimidating) flour bombs. Bob Hope was certain that these protestors were "on some kind of dope, ladies and gentleman." No, nobody in the world would ever accuse beauty pageants of being progressive - in 1974 Miss World resigned in shame after it was "exposed" that she was a single mother!
Will Jordan was one of the very first to do an Ed Sullivan impression, and if you ask Will, he'll tell you he was the first. Here we see him do his trademark Sullivan and an absolutely killer Groucho filled with all kinds of subtle nuance that leaves no doubt that he studied Groucho long and hard in order to nail it. His Jack Benny impression leaves a bit more to be desired.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Jimmy Martinez is surely a face you'll recognize, although you may not be able to figure out from where. He popped up in a handful of Richard Pryor and Mel Brooks films in the seventies and then disapeared in the eighties, never to be seen again. He was one of the regulars at The Comedy Store in its fertile heyday along with Garry Shandling, Jimmy Walker, Jay Leno, David Letterman, David Brenner, Skip Stephenson, Gary Mule Deer and so many others. You also may have watched him on the final episode of The Richard Pryor Show on Pryor's roast here. Here he is on the syndicated program The Comedy Shop - the first television program devoted strictly to stand-up.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
This goes down in history as one of those incredibly awkward Jerry Lewis things, one of countless uncomfortable moments in his showbiz career. In 1965, Gary Lewis and The Playboys were a huge deal on the pop charts and Jerry Lewis' legendary insecurity did not seem able to cope with his son's success, regardless of the grandstanding about how "proud of him" he said he was. Here we see Jerry trying mercilessly to upstage his son throughout this episode of teen rock show Hullabaloo.