Friday, April 6, 2007

The Gong Show - Mork and Mindy - The Jacksons - with guest David Letterman

Like any struggling or aspiring comedian in the nineteen seventies, David Letterman was taking any television gig he could get while appearing in the evenings as an unknown at The Comedy Store and other clubs out and around Hollywood.

It wasn't until one of the most influential comedy agents in the business, Jack Rollins, took him on as a client that things started happening. Letterman appeared on episodes of Mork and Mindy, The Gong Show, The Jacksons and several game shows. His appearance on Mary Tyler Moore's variety program Mary has been mocked on his talk show several times over the course of the last twenty years. He even competed on an edition of The Battle of The Network Stars! I haven't seen that footage so I'm not sure what event he participated in.

The most embarrassing program David appeared on was probably The Starland Vocal Band Show, a short lived variety program that revolved around the group who had the one-hit wonder, Afternoon Delight. Apparently Letterman was even a staff writer for that relic.

As a judge on a 1976 episode of The Gong Show:

David Letterman's hero was Steve Allen. Many of Letterman's most famous bits, not to mention the whole stylistic aspect of his show, are completely derivative of Steve Allen's work. So it must have been a huge thrill for Letterman when he appeared on this episode of Mork and Mindy alongside former Tonight Show with Steve Allen regular, Tom Poston.

Letterman on an episode of The Jackson Five comedy-variety program, The Jacksons. One of the few times you'll hear David playing to canned laughter:

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Kraft Music Hall: The Woody Allen Comedy Show

This sought after special was part of the weekly Kraft Music Hall which by this point had changed its format drastically from the way it was during the infancy of television and in radio.

In the late sixties and early seventies the long running KMH had a different host each week (as opposed to a permanent Bing Crosby or Perry Como). Depending on who the host was the line-up and format of the show would change. The Woody Allen Comedy Special featured a strange array of guests cavorting with Woody Allen including The Fifth Dimension, Candace Bergen, Tony Randall, Jamie Farr, and as we will see in these two clips - an interview with the Reverend Billy Graham. You can download the entire special
here for a price. Word has it that Allen has been embarassed about this special for several years, in particular his opening monologue at the start. I don't have footage of that part to post, but I've seen it before and, believe me, it is extremely funny - nothing to be embarassed about. Other one-time hosts of this incarnation of KMH included Milton Berle, John Davidson, Dolly Parton, Roy Rogers, Bobby Darin, and Rock Hudson.

Part Two:

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour with guest Steve Martin

Steve Martin appeared several times as various ambiguous characters on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He was a staff writer along with Mason "Classical Gas" Williams, Rob "Meathead" Reiner, Bob "Super Dave Osborne" Einstein, Lorenzo "Carlton the Doorman" Music, and Murray "You Can't Beat People Up and Have Them Say I Love You" Roman.