Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Article up at WFMU - Red Buttons and the Acrimony of Hilarity

The Red Buttons Show burned through writers like Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart and Mel Brooks in the early 1950s. Read about the torrential two and a half season ride here in my latest article at WFMU - The Acrimony of Hilarity by Kliph Nesteroff


Barry Mitchell said...

I saw Red Buttons at the NY Friars Club in July, 1995.
He was bemoaning the fact -- to anyone who would listen -- that his one-man show, "Buttons On Broadway," had closed after only one month. "Such a shame," he said sadly. "It was such a good show."

mackdaddyg said...

Just finished the article. Great stuff as always.

Brian Nelson said...

Superb article--can't wait for the anthology. Gelbart mentions Buttons only three times in his autobio LAUGHING MATTERS with little to say on his stint as writer, just that his head was first to roll as top writer. Did see THE COMEDIAN (yikes!) and was surprised to learn of its origins with Cantor and his fights with writers.

Mark Murphy said...

Many years ago, Arnold Auerbach, who wrote for Fred Allen (along with Herman Wouk) wrote an excellent book about those days, titled "Funny Men Don't Laugh." In this memoir, he mentions that while he was waiting for Allen to give him a job, he worked for a legendary comedy writer named David Freedman, whose chief client was an obnoxious jerk whom Auerbach refers to as "Jerry Wilson," though it's obviously Cantor.

I don't know why Auerbach used the pseudonym; the book came out a year after Cantor died. Cantor/Wilson isn't in the book much, but the book provides an excellent portrait of Freedman, whom I hadn't heard of. A fascinating guy who died really young.