Friday, June 29, 2012

Strictly for Laughs - Pilot - featuring Dave Barry, Sid Melton, Ken Murray, Rose Marie, Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jesse White, Paul Gilbert, Moe Howard, Buddy Lester, Willard Waterman, Tommy Noonan plus Bobby someone and Marvin somebody (1961)

A very rare glimpse at some forgotten comedians and comic actors. I am ashamed I can't identify 'em all, so speak up if you can! Whose the other fella with the pencil moustache that is not Willard Waterman?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Interview with William O. Harbach - Part Three

Kliph Nesteroff: The strange thing about your show, the Hollywood Palace, you had these showbiz legends like Jimmy Durante introducing these long hair hippie bands...

William Harbach: Yeah (laughs). I guess it made it kinda fun.

Kliph Nesteroff: Today, one of the funniest and most enjoyable things about the show is watching those hippie bands onstage and then seeing the cut away to the audience reaction. The studio audience is just filled with these gray haired tourists and elderly ladies...

William Harbach: Yeah! Yes, yes, yes (laughs).

Kliph Nesteroff: Dumbfounded looks on their faces...

William Harbach: Yes, I know (laughs). Oh, God.

Kliph Nesteroff: One of the other reasons I love the Hollywood Palace so much is because you get to see full stand-up sets from some legendary comedians. Jack Carter was on several times.

William Harbach: Jack Carter was marvelous, but he hated the audience. He would always say, "Those bastards," when he walked off and didn't get the applause he thought he deserved. He had a chip on his shoulder, but he didn't show it to the audience. He'd come offstage, "Those bastards!"

Kliph Nesteroff: I watched an episode hosted by Phil Silvers.

William Harbach: Phil Silvers was marvelous and a very friendly, easy guy to work with. They basically all were. Even Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. They weren't from vaudeville or anything, but hosting a show like this was fun and different for them. Bette Davis you had to be very careful with. She was bright as hell and she could cut you down faster than a snake if you did something wrong. You had to be right or she would jump on you. We would do the dress rehearsal at five and the air show at eight. We had a meeting before the dress rehearsal. 

There was a sketch we were doing and we had two different options of how to do it. I said, "We can do it the one way during dress and the other way during air." We would do that and whatever was the best performance was what went into the actual show [when it aired]. So we had two shots at everything. I said, "So, let's try both and..." Bette said, "No! Right now decide which is the one to do!" I said, "Of course, Bette." And I did. You were on your toes with her.

Kliph Nesteroff: Jack Carter told me a story about an episode Judy Garland hosted. She did the rehearsal but was then too expended to do the taping. So the entire airing was of the rehearsal.

William Harbach: Yes, she was a little with the booze or something. She was wonderful, but it was sad. She wanted to open the show with, "What the World Needs Now... Is Love, Sweet Love..." At dress rehearsal she was so wrong. She kept making mistakes and I would walk down there and say, "Darling, I'm sorry. We've got to stop. There was a clinker in the band." I kept making an excuse and had to do it about four different times. Finally she got through it and we started the show. We went to commercial and she came to me and said, "Bill, that wasn't very good, was it?" I said, "Hey, we still have the air show to do. Don't worry." By the time we got to the air show she couldn't do anything. Forget it. No, it was sad. She was fighting her unhappiness.

Kliph Nesteroff: Sometimes you can notice moments that are inconsistent... obviously a combination of rehearsal footage and air footage...

William Harbach: She was heartbreaking.

Kliph Nesteroff: How about working with Joan Crawford when she hosted?

William Harbach: Joan Crawford was marvelous. She did a dramatic reading, as I remember. We had Edward G. Robinson also, who I loved, do some dramatic readings. We had him on twice and he was marvelous. 

Kliph Nesteroff: And Fred Astaire...

William Harbach: Fred was marvelous! Oh, God! He was so easy to work with. You couldn't do enough for him, you were on his team so much. He was the sweetest guy. 

Kliph Nesteroff: How about Milton Berle?

William Harbach: Milton could kill you. He was all right when he was happy. We started doing the second Milton Berle Show while we were still working on the Hollywood Palace and it did not... it was over. It was not worth it. It just kept going down, down, down. My partner [Nick Vanoff] and I were the producers along with Bill Dana. We made him the actual producer of the show, but it kept going down, down, down. I handled the people and my partner was the business man. Milton had just finished a sketch. He was dressed as a rabbit. We walked into the dressing room and Nick said, "Milton. Right now..." He looked at his watch and he clicked it. "This show now belongs to you. Harbach and I are out. We've had it with you." 

Berle would yell about things. "I don't like that ending! Try a different ending for these shots!" We were spending so much money on it because of Milton. He was dragging it down and he was scared. He was basically doing everything wrong in rehearsal. Nick said, "It's your show. Harbach and I are out. We're not going to put up with this shit any longer." I said, "Everyone take an hour break for lunch!" We went upstairs to our office in the Hollywood Palace. I said, "You know, he's going to come back." "Of course, he's going to come back. He can't do the show without us." 

We were up there for about an hour. Just before the hour was up the secretary said, "Mr. Berle is outside." I said, "Bring him in, please." Berle came in with his hat in his hand. He said, "I'm sorry. I know I've been lousy. I'll follow along with you guys. You've been right and I've been wrong." I said, "Let's get back to rehearsal. We'll do a great show." And that was it. And then it was over. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Berle is a master at what he does and yet whenever you watch him - you can always see this look of fear and desperation in his eyes. 

William Harbach: Or trying to get you to laugh before he even finishes the joke. Yes. He had a problem with that. You're right. You're absolutely right.

Kliph Nesteroff: It's interesting when you see something like that and maybe it's because I used to do stand-up, I don't know. But when you can see through the veneer and pretty much see what they're thinking...

William Harbach: Absolutely, absolutely...

Kliph Nesteroff: Same with Jack Carter. These guys work so fast because there's a kind of fear they have that there isn't gonna be a laugh there...

William Harbach: That's right.

Kliph Nesteroff: How about Henny Youngman?

William Harbach: Henny! I loved Henny! He was a darling. You could eat him. He was so easy going and there were no problems and he did the smallest, most ridiculous jokes.

Kliph Nesteroff: One of the all time great Hollywood Palace moments has Milton Berle onstage doing his act and Henny Youngman is in the balcony heckling...

William Harbach: That's it, yes. That's how that bit started.

Kliph Nesteroff: Shecky Greene did your show three or four times.

William Harbach: Shecky was a little uptight when things were not right. He had a bit of a temper. Jackie Mason had his first appearance on the Palace after his spat with Ed Sullivan and I loved working with him. He was great. He was easy and funny.

Kliph Nesteroff: James Brown did some remarkable turns on the Hollywood Palace.

William Harbach: I'm Black and I'm Proud! Yes, of course, ABC liked it because the kids liked that.

Kliph Nesteroff: That's another one... James Brown puts on this remarkable performance and they cut to the crowd and its a shot of these elderly, white tourists...

William Harbach: (laughs) Yes, "What the hell is this?" (laughs)

Kliph Nesteroff: And one of the greatest of all time who had several of his best television appearances on your show - Sammy Davis Jr.

William Harbach: Oh! There's a giant! An absolute giant! I had him on the old Steve Allen Show before he had done anything. Oh, Jesus Christ. We did a thing on a boat in the East River where he did a dance across this big steamer. He could do anything and God, I loved that man. I called him when he was dying. He smoked a lot. I called him two weeks before he took a cab.

Kliph Nesteroff: In all the episodes of Hollywood Palace... there are only two acts that received a standing ovation and they received one every single time they hosted. Jimmy Durante - and Sammy Davis Jr.

William Harbach: They were loved. And I loved them too. (In Jimmy Durante voice), "Hey, Bill! What time tomorrow?" Oh my God, I loved Jim. Easy, easy guy, no problems and gentle. Everybody loved him. What's not to love?

Kliph Nesteroff: Durante seemed like the least pretentious guy in show business.

William Harbach: Absolutely true. Very sincere. He could sing a song and bring tears to your eyes. That's right. 

Kliph Nesteroff: How about the comedian Gene Baylos...

William Harbach: (laughs) I loved him too and he was crazy. He really was nuts. Gene Baylos... God, just to be with him before anything happened I was on the floor. He'd come on stage doing his act real loud and then say, "What am I yelling for? I got the job!" 

Kliph Nesteroff: Buddy Hackett.

William Harbach: Buddy Hackett was... all right. We had a falling out. Uh, he didn't... he uh... I cut him short. He was doing a number and I said, "Look, we gotta cut this down, Buddy." He got mad and uh, from then on... it was... forget you.

Kliph Nesteroff: He could be quite vicious, I hear.

William Harbach: Oh, yes and we had a bit of a thing and I said, "Buddy, you're out of the sketch." He had a temper.

Kliph Nesteroff: How about Joey Bishop?

William Harbach: Joey Bishop, well... I loved his act, but we were never too... he was involved with... he had a feeling that we were a little Mickey Mouse compared to the Rat Pack. He thought he was above us.

Kliph Nesteroff: Van Johnson hosted the Hollywood Palace twice. He seems like an unlikely host.

William Harbach: Van Johnson was a piece of cake. It was a breath of fresh air for him to be hosting something like this. He loved song and dance stuff and he was fun. We had a good time with him.

Kliph Nesteroff: How about some of the writers that worked on the show. Harry Crane worked on it a bit...

William Harbach: Great, yes, he was one of the best. I had Herb Sargent and Stan Burns on the Tonight Show and we had a bunch on the Palace - but they weren't writer writers - they were doing introduction stuff. Leonard Stern did our sketches on Steve Allen.

Kliph Nesteroff: Later on you produced a John Wayne television special and the head writer was Paul Keyes.

William Harbach: Yes. I didn't know him well. He had a little group that he worked with and I knew he was good. He was head writer of The Dean Martin Show for a while and he was real big league. 

Kliph Nesteroff: Paul Keyes was close with Richard Nixon.

William Harbach: What? Really?

Kliph Nesteroff: Some people had said that he was merely a speech writer, but I wrote a piece and discovered he was full on media adviser...

William Harbach: Wow.

Kliph Nesteroff: I want to ask you a little bit about the giant stars of early television that are completely forgotten. Dave Garroway.

William Harbach: Ah! I loved him. He went a little bananas at the end. I remember being at his apartment and he thought that [NBC President] General Sarnoff was trying to kill him. He was saying, "Bill! You see that guy standing by that lampost out there? Who is that guy!" I said, "I have no idea, Dave." He said, "Someone is trying to kill me! It's Sarnoff's people!" He had delusions. It was very sad at the end. Did he commit suicide?

Kliph Nesteroff: Yeah, in the early eighties.

William Harbach: A gun or no?

Kliph Nesteroff: A gun, yeah.

William Harbach: He was charming as hell and I loved him. I was a big fan... but he had problems.

Kliph Nesteroff: So many giants of early television became so obscure. Garroway is one. It's astounding how few people know who Arthur Godfrey is.

William Harbach: (laughs) We had a conflict. Godfrey did one show for us. He said, "For the opening I want to be in the audience and I'll pick out a woman I want to talk to and I'll read a poem to her." I said, "Well, Arthur, that's not a good Hollywood Palace opening. We can maybe do that down in the middle of the show or something." He said, "No. I want to open the show that way." I said, "I don't think so. That's not going to work." Then his agent called to tell me Godfrey wasn't going to do the show. I said, "Okay, fine." The next day his agent phoned again. "He'll do it. Just tell him what you want."

Kliph Nesteroff: Even by then he was becoming irrelevant.

William Harbach: Oh, yes. And he did some mean things. He was mean as hell to Julius LaRosa and I heard other people didn't like working with him.

Kliph Nesteroff: Peter Lind Hayes is another forgotten early television giant.

William Harbach: Yes, he was a very sweet guy and his wife I loved. They went into the wallpaper, but they were like Tex and Jinx for a while.

Kliph Nesteroff: And another name that has fallen by the wayside is Betty Furness.

William Harbach: Yes, I was going to a party at her apartment at the end of my NBC work week in the early nineteen fifties. I'd get through work at one in the morning. By the time I got there it was two. Betty Furness was giving this big party on 86th Street. It was jammed. Everybody was sitting in every seat. I walked in and there was no place to sit. 

There was a guy sitting on a pillow in the well of a piano in the corner of the room. He waved for me to sit down on this pillow. It turned out to be Walter Cronkite! We got to talking about boats. We both loved boats and we ended up sailing together all over New England and the Bahamas and all over! We became fast friends. And we met under a piano!

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Interview with Marty Ingels - Part Two

Kliph Nesteroff: I heard that you planned on quitting show business, but Tony Curtis told you not to.

Marty Ingels: You know, when I was in high school everybody wanted to be Tony Curtis. Oh, if only I could look like him and comb my hair like him - everybody loved Tony. He was a very good guy. Tony Curtis got screwed. He was heart broken to his dying day because the Academy never really gave him a shot. He did a million things and he got a little nod when he did The Defiant Ones, but other than that - nothing. 

My God, he did the movie with Burt Lancaster where he played the press agent - he was sensational! So many movies. Anyway, I met him when I wasn't working as a comic at all. I was a real loudmouth and agents used to hate me. I'd call them and go upstairs and yell at them because I wasn't working. I'd bring charts and pointers showing how I wasn't working. I was a real nightmare. I got my agent on the phone and I said, "Listen! I've done two jobs all last year! No, I oughta..." He said, "Ingels, listen, I'm gonna put you on the speaker. You mind?" 

I'm on his speaker phone and I'm going on and on and on about what kind of agents they are and how I have more talent than that and I didn't come out here to be pushed around. All of a sudden someone says, "Hello? Hello?" "Yeah? What?" "This is Tony Curtis. I love your chutzpah! You got it! You told him, boy. I'm doing a film called Wild and Wonderful. You got it." He was such a terrific guy. He loved Larry Storch and he was in all his movies, so me and Larry Storch played in a band with him in the film. Tony Curtis was so underrated. Tony was brokenhearted because the Hollywood that he loved didn't give him a break. He was never sure when he had to make a speech - which speech he should make. 

The one about his being grateful for going from the Bronx to Bel-Air from the minute he did the dance with Yvonne DeCarlo... that's the speech he was supposed to make. But he almost always made the other one about how when he needed to be thought of as an actor they were too busy giving all the awards to Jack Nicholson and Jack Lemmon. These guys - anytime they did anything the Academy gave them an award. But not Tony. When he did The Strangler, I mean...

Kliph Nesteroff: Sure, should have won an Oscar for that.

Marty Ingels: People made fun of his Brooklyn accent, but he really worked very hard. He did take a liking to me, but I have an insane reputation. If you ask people about Marty Ingels they're going to either say "difficult" or "insane" or "unpredictable." But I tell you, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I'm not a drug person, I don't grope four year olds and I don't have girls stashed in hotel rooms. I'm a solid guy. But - I went through a period... I had a guest starring role on ER. The scene is in a hospital and I'm sitting on this gurney waiting for them to come to me. They're shooting about six rooms away and I'm telling jokes to the extras. 

Shirley and I wrote a book and we handed out thirty-five copies to the extras and then they came in and we did my scene. My step children, who get disgruntled about this all the time, Shaun Cassidy, David Cassidy, Patrick Cassidy - the clan that never met a Jew til me - they said, "We talked to the people at ER. They'll never hire you again." I said, "What the fuck did I do?" "You were too boisterous!" I don't understand that! I just don't understand that. 

I said, "Even rapists get a second chance!" Anytime anything came on television I would call my agent and ask, "Get me on it! Get me on it!" There was a time when they were doing all these lawyers shows. There were all these lawyer shows and a big one came out on CBS and Buddy Hackett played the limo driver. I said, "Buddy Hackett? I know he's funny, but I can out act Buddy Hackett." I called my agent and asked, "Why wasn't I up for that?" He said, "I'll find out why you didn't get a reading." 

He calls back and he says, "You ready?" I said, "Yes, I'm ready." "You sure?" "Will you stop it! I didn't get it. What could be worse?" He said, "When your name came up at the table there was a big sigh and somebody said, 'Here's the deal with Marty Ingels. He'll come in and give a great reading... and then we'll be stuck with him every day on the set!"Wait a minute, what is that? What is it? Do I have fucking malaria? I didn't understand it. It wasn't fair. Some guys come out of drug rehab forty times and they're still working. But there are guys with reputations. Shelley Berman has a reputation for being difficult. 

But if the box office is good enough they'll take anything. They took all kinds of shit from Marlon Brando. When people say, "Marty Ingels is like such and such," people that know me say, "Have you ever met him?" "No." Well, excuse me? So, I have that problem. People think I'm bananas. But people that know me say [the opposite]. Some people would probably say, "Uh, Marty, let me prescribe some medication." But, hey (laughs), here we are talking and I'm not giving you a hard time and Shirley and I have it made. When you have a great partner - things are good, things are good. Carl Reiner had the great quote about us. He said, "I can't imagine what he sees in her."

Kliph Nesteroff: Let me ask you about some other comedians who have a reputation. Buddy Hackett was considered difficult.

Marty Ingels: It comes down to how difficult you can afford to be. Comics... they're all mean people. Bob Hope used to go to a balcony at his house. His writers would be down below. Bob Hope would have a little basket and he would throw down their salary cheques over the balcony. Buddy Hackett... was a prick. A real prick! But he was funny. He did his dirty stuff, he wasn't a good actor and he was a prick. He wasn't nice to the people who helped him in the old days and wasn't easy to get along with. Jack Carter has the worst reputation in the world! But when I worked with Jack Carter on a couple of movies... I lived in the era when Jack Carter did a hundred and fifty Ed Sullivan shows.

I admire Jack Carter. I don't give a fuck. He would tell me, "Marty, why don't you try it this way? Try doing it that way." Normally an actor doesn't want to hear that from another guy, but I had a lot of respect for him and what he did. He has the worst reputation because he's a grouchy guy. The point is... whether or not that's part of it... there are some comics that got past that. Then again, maybe you could say they didn't become big because of that.

Kliph Nesteroff: In 1964 you were on the panel for an episode of What's My Line.

Marty Ingels: Jesus, you're good. You're picking out some neat things. Yes, I was. I can't remember if I was on the panel or if I was a mystery guest.

Kliph Nesteroff: I think you were on the panel there with Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf...

Marty Ingels: Yeah, that was quite a thing to sit with all those people. That's right. Now I remember. I remember taking a cab with Arlene Francis to the place. She was one of my favorites. She was a real terrific gal. Dorothy Kilgallen still has that strange mysterious death and they think it was government people or something. She made some enemies.

Kliph Nesteroff: When I'm Dickens, He's Fenster went off the air - it sounds like Leonard Stern was looking for another vehicle for you. There were a slew of pilots. You did one called the Park Ranger.

Marty Ingels: Yeah. No. Right. It became a thing called Duncan, Be Careful. It was when I was at my height in show business. We shot it right next to The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show. It was the perfect vehicle for a Red Skelton type of guy. I looked like him and Danny Kaye was always my favorite in terms of movies. I was sort of like that and I played a sweet, lovable forest ranger who wanted to go out and catch the poachers - but because he wasn't a tough guy they just made him a tour guide. 

He'd always be saluting everyone when he wasn't supposed to. It was funny and sweet. And the character had a beautiful girlfriend. It all took place in the huge national forest right in Beverly Hills. Who even knows that? Behind the Beverly Hills Hotel up there in Bel Air there's a fence you go through and there's miles and miles of national forest and a lake. You couldn't believe it. It's still there and it's kind of hidden away. Anyway, we shot it there and I thought, boy, this is going to be great. I dreamed about it and thought, "This career is going to be perfect." John [Astin] went in another direction. 

He did only a fifteen minute presentation because they didn't have enough money to do a pilot for some silly thing - The Addams Family. I thought, "Crazy ghosts? Ugh. Now, I'm going to be Red Skelton!" Well, they didn't buy my thing and his thing took off. But Lenny [Stern] was very disappointed that it didn't go. You get a certain amount of shots in Hollywood and then they say, "Nah." And they're off to the three other guys in the bullpen. It's too bad. But I think I have that pilot somewhere.

Kliph Nesteroff: I also read you did a television pilot - or you were going to - I don't know if it was ever made - a pilot based on the Andy Hardy films.

Marty Ingels: I don't remember that one! Maybe I was one of the characters and the star was someone else.

Kliph Nesteroff: And there was another pilot called Give it to Gibbly...

Marty Ingels: Ah, get outta here! You got me mixed up with some guy who does porn films.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Marty Ingels: Give it to Gibbly (laughs) I remember... was a definite porn film.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Marty Ingels: It was in Tijuana and it was awful! Terrible (laughs). No, I don't remember that one.

Kliph Nesteroff: You did an episode of The Joey Bishop Show.

Marty Ingels: Yes, not his sitcom, but when he had Regis as his partner. I did all the talk shows. I did Johnny Carson and there was a guy by the name of Les Crane, who had a wonderful show.

Kliph Nesteroff: Right and you became a semi-regular on Les Crane.

Marty Ingels: Oh, boy. I picked all the wrong shows to be on.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Marty Ingels: I had to choose between Johnny Carson and Les Crane. You know, If you did anybody else but Johnny... Johnny wanted you to be exclusive. Les loved my stories. He had a microphone that was hidden in a rifle and he would point it at people and press the button and they spoke. He had me on and he loved my stories. "Tell the story about your mother when she made the cake and it fell on the floor." It was perfect because my stories were valuable comedy, much better than jokes. 

I had real stories. Les was a handsome, talented guy who did very well with his own show for a while. Then he conceived some kind of internet system and sold the company for forty or fifty million. He developed, at a young age, osteoporosis. He spent the last twelve years of his life in bed. It was real terrible. But I did that show. Another show that I picked and didn't work - or they picked me - was The Phyllis Diller Show. I was a regular on that. That was Phyllis and Billy DeWolfe. He was wonderful. But that didn't work. 

Kliph Nesteroff: I wanted to ask you something else about the Les Crane Show. Do you remember a counterculture comedian named Murray Roman?

Marty Ingels: Boy, that goes back. Do I ever. Yes, very well. Murray... well... at one point I had a manger named Roy Silver. Roy was famous for having gone to Harlem one day, found a Black comic who he felt was funny but whose material was "too Black." He said, "Listen, Bill, you gotta cool that." Cosby became his client. He honed him and brought him to Hollywood. He brought him to Sheldon Leonard and he became the first Black regular with I Spy

Roy used to have a clique that would meet at his house every Sunday. Joan Rivers was there all the time and the Smothers Brothers were always at his pool. And he loved me. I always felt like I let him down. He was one of my mentors and thought I was funny. Murray Roman was always at his house. Murray was a boisterous type of comic and very funny. He was a loud, loud comic like a Sam Kinison. He did an album that was very funny and we all listened to it. Murray died very early in his years. 

Kliph Nesteroff: I read a blurb about the Les Crane Show. You and Murray Roman were on the same episode and you guys got into a fight. There was a debate about whether Murray Roman's act was obscene and you took the position that it was.

Marty Ingels: Sounds like me. I'm very old fashioned. I remember watching the three comics that did Comic Relief. Billy and Whoopi and Robin Williams. They were cursing and I called Billy Crystal on the phone. I said, "Billy, you don't need to curse!" He said, "I'm not the one cursing." I said, "Yeah, but you're part of it!" Cosby used to make those calls too. He'd call Eddie Murphy and say, "You don't have to curse. Knock it off." But yes, Murray used profanity big time. 

I never knew Red Skelton personally, but Shirley did. She talks about how profane he was the minute the camera turned off. If you met him he was so dirty. But the minute he was on air he was pure clown, real pure clown. She says, boy, if you went to dinner with him, every word was, "Fuck this, fuck that."
Kliph Nesteroff: Something happened with you on the Tonight Show and, I think, it resulted in your never being invited back. You were blacklisted?

Marty Ingels: You know, I don't know what it was that caused it, but yes, that is what happened. I think I had a nervous breakdown the night I was on. I was doing a stand-up thing and all of a sudden my knees started to buckle. I actually passed out. I went home and spent several months in my house and became a very serious recluse. I became agoraphobic for a long time. Anxiety. The years of anxiety. It was before they had prozac and before they could diagnose anxiety. 

They would give you a valium, but I didn't want to do that. It would put me to sleep. I was absolutely shaking and quivering and I was afraid I couldn't get to my car. It was fear and anxiety. I couldn't wait to get home and I couldn't go anywhere. The room was spinning. I really had a chemical balance. Now they have all sorts of mood conditioners and that type of stuff. But in those days there was nothing. I went through many years of terrible anxiety and really not being able to enjoy my success. If you ever watch some segments of I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, you'll see I'm walking around holding onto couches and chairs (laughs). 

I had what you might call bi-polar or hyperkinetic - there's so many cockamamie words now. But when prozac came out! I'm still on prozac and I've been on prozac for fifteen years. It did the trick for me. The ultimate oxymoron - I was once invited (laughs) to an agoraphobic convention! What? How can that be? I pictured that it would be a giant stadium - with nobody there. Then they'd send out a newsletter about my speech that would say, "You shoulda been there!" You know (laughs). 

That was an interesting time, but my attack happened on The Tonight Show. But all you hear is Marty Ingels did something crazy. I have a reputation for being crazy- like Shecky Greene. Shecky used to turn over gambling tables in Las Vegas. Comics are crazy people. They're very sad, you know? Comedy comes from a gap in your soul.