Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Interview with Shecky Greene - Part Two

                  Danny Thomas          Jack Carter         Shecky Greene

Shecky Greene: Haven't heard from you in a while.

Kliph Nesteroff: Well, I've been working diligently on this article and now I've got to the point where I've gone as far as I can - and now I have to fill in some of the holes.

Shecky Greene: I felt that way about my first marriage!

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Shecky Greene: And there was one hole I wish I didn't fill in at all.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs) I was thrilled to hear that you did some shows in Vegas last month.

Shecky Greene: Yes at the South Point. It went wonderful. They celebrated my eighty-fifth birthday, they had a cake with eighty-five candles and they served champagne to everybody.

Kliph Nesteroff: Well, I wish I could have seen the show. It's a rare occurrence to see a Shecky Greene performance these days.

Shecky Greene: (In Gabby Hayes voice) Well, you git to a certain age - it gits kinda tough, ah hee hee! I feel like Gabby Hayes' brother. "Hi there, Roy! Whatcha gonna do there?" So what holes are we filling in?

Kliph Nesteroff: I came across some new information that I did not know about. One thing I read said you were a semi-pro ball player...

Shecky Greene: No, never.

Kliph Nesteroff: The other item said that between playing ball you were doing gigs with comedian Sammy Shore.

Shecky Greene: Sammy Shore and I started together at a resort and that was it. We didn't go any further than that.

Kliph Nesteroff: As a comedy team?

Shecky Greene: Yes, we went up there like social directors. I was in college at the time and I went up there with some people. The guy asked me to work there. Sammy was there and we worked together a while.

Kliph Nesteroff: Was this markedly different material than what you would go on to do?

Shecky Greene: Well, working with two as opposed to one... Sammy wanted to be the comic [and I was straight man]. It was just a cockamamie thing for the summer. I would sing Nature Boy. "There waaassss a boy..." Except with that Jewish audience I did, "There waaassss a goy..." That kind of shit.

Kliph Nesteroff: And then Sammy Shore would interject while you were doing this...

Shecky Greene: Sammy Shore would dress up in a diaper and come out with vegetables and he was the nature boy. There was no act. Some lady grabbed us and she wanted to be a manager. She had us go to New York together. The thing that broke us up was I got infectious mononucleosis and he wouldn't come into the room to give me a glass of water (laughs). That was the end of it. The bellboy came and gave me the water - so I teamed up with him.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs) I read that you enrolled at the University of Illinois to get a degree in physical education...

Shecky Greene: Yeah, well, I enrolled there, but I didn't go there. I went to Reich Junior College. All the guys I knew went to University of Illinois. I was the only one that didn't graduate college of all the guys I was with. I was going to Reich Junior College until I went to this place and saw Sammy. I just saw Sammy Shore in Las Vegas. He just came to see me.

Kliph Nesteroff: Last time we talked about that famous incident with your joke about trapped miners that you told on The Ed Sullivan Show. But I was wondering if you recall what the joke was specifically.

Shecky Greene: Sure! What happened was... have you got a tape? Every time someone calls me they misquote me.

Kliph Nesteroff: Yes, of course, I'm recording this whole thing.

Shecky Greene: Okay. Let me tell you exactly what happened. I went to do the Sullivan show and he said to me, "Sheckeeee, we don't have no eight minutes for yoooooo.... you're going to do two minutes." I said, "Ed, there's nothing I can do in two minutes." You know? So I said, "Okay." What I did was I took the microphone apart. I used to do a routine where I took the microphone apart and every piece of the microphone I would do something with. I turned the microphone upside down and pretended I was talking to miners buried beneath tons and tons of coal and I said, "You weren't hurt. It was soft coal." That type of thing. But at the same time that I was doing that there was a mine disaster in Nova Scotia - because this was a live show at that time. So, as I walked off the stage he said, "You dirty bastard! You just lost me Canada." I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Turns out I was doing that routine just as these guys had been buried under tons and tons of coal. So, I sent my entire salary to Nova Scotia and I didn't eat lox for a while. There's a joke in there someplace.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs) Were you on at the start of the show - the end of the show - did this effect other acts or...

Shecky Greene: I don't know where I was in that show, I don't remember. I didn't follow the elephants because there was no shit on the bottom of my shoe. Sullivan reamed me out as I was walking off. He was coming back on as I finished. I never did well on the Sullivan show. I don't know why. I never prepared for it. I wasn't the kind of guy who sat down and prepared and got myself ready like these comics do today with every word. Later on I learned, and I tell kids today, be prepared. Be prepared and don't count on your mind that it's going to be there all the time.

Kliph Nesteroff: Well, you were really in your element when you would appear on Johnny Carson - where you had that freedom to just go off in any direction.

Shecky Greene: Yes, but the best show for me was The Merv Griffin Show. I was free-er on The Merv Griffin Show. Johnny, as much as liked him and everything, was very stiff. You had to always worry about, "Is Johnny going to laugh at this?" Who gives a shit now, you know, as you look back at it now. But not with Merv. Merv was really the best.

Kliph Nesteroff: I watched a very funny episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson where the guests were yourself and Sammy Davis Jr and at one point they come back from the commercial and you and Sammy have switched jackets. He's in this giant, over-sized sportscoat and you're in this painfully tight suit jacket of Sammy's. It was very funny.

Shecky Greene: I don't remember that. He sang out the side of his mouth (sings like Sammy Davis Jr. for two minutes). I do great impressions of guys that died.

Kliph Nesteroff: Well, that's all that Rich Little does. Richard Nixon, John Wayne...

Shecky Greene: Rich Little is sensational and Frank Gorshin was sensational.

Kliph Nesteroff: I read that your mother used to attend most of your shows early on.

Shecky Greene: No, that was Rickles' mother. My mother didn't attend most of my shows. My mother came to some shows, but Rickles mother was the one that was there all the time. They've got our mothers mixed up.

Kliph Nesteroff: Phil Berger wrote that back in your New Orleans days you ran down Bourbon Street in an ape suit.

Shecky Greene: In a what suit?

Kliph Nesteroff: Dressed as a gorilla.

Shecky Greene: Uh, that could be. I never knew what I was doing, but in New Orleans I wasn't really drinking in those days. I didn't drink until later on when I married my first wife and she was a drunk - then I became a drunk. Yes, I worked with a guy who used to do a gorilla act, an English ventriloquist. It could be something to do with that.

Kliph Nesteroff: At Billy Gray's Band Box on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, Buddy Hackett would come in and sabotage your act "with misplaced laughs."

Shecky Greene: Yes, he would do that. My mother just happened to be there in California at that time and she said to me, "Oh, that little fat guy loves you!" I said, "No, mom, he's ruining me by intentionally laughing in the wrong place!" But Buddy and I became very close friends. As a matter of fact, my mother was in a nursing home and she couldn't lift her head up and she couldn't speak. I would go in everyday and she couldn't recognize me. I took Buddy Hackett with me one day and he said, "Hiya, Bess! How are ya!" My mom lifted up her head and said, "Hiya, Buddy!" I was in a fucking state of shock! So every time I went to visit my mother after that I would do an impression of Buddy Hackett.

Kliph Nesteroff: You said previously that you and Buddy became great friends, but he also did terrible things to you.

Shecky Greene: Well, Buddy was... there's a word in Jewish culture called "dybbuk." He was like the devil. You never knew what was going to happen with Buddy. Buddy had the magnificent ability to say things and hurt people very badly and then in two seconds get them back by saying, "Y'know something? Sometimes I say things I don't mean..." and he'd get tears in his eyes and they'd [forgive him]. But Buddy was a brilliant comedian.

Kliph Nesteroff: Since the last time we spoke, I have talked at length with Jack Carter.

Shecky Greene: (laughs)

Kliph Nesteroff: Jack said, and he wasn't joking, that he believes Buddy Hackett walked out to the beach and committed suicide. I hadn't heard that theory from anybody else. Do you believe that?

Shecky Greene: No. No chance. No, no, no, no, no. My God, does Jack really feel that way?

Kliph Nesteroff: Yes.

Shecky Greene: No, no, no, no, no. No. Let me tell you. He was in a depressed state. I will say that. He was on pills. He took anxiety pills and as a matter of fact I was on the same ones. I said to Buddy, "You can't take them and drink at the same time!" I asked the doctor when he died. "Did it kill him? Taking the anxiety pills with the drinking?" The doctor said, "Definitely not." He had trouble with his heart, anyway. He just had a heart attack. I will tell you... Buddy had too much of an ego to commit suicide. There's no way. There was no way. He would no more commit suicide than Jack Carter would commit suicide!

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Shecky Greene: (laughs)

Kliph Nesteroff: Well, I had to ask you as it was a striking comment for Jack to make. We spoke last time about Martha Raye and her Five O'Clock Club. I found a tidbit somewhere in which you mentioned that she used to steal your bits.

Shecky Greene: Well, you know, the word steal is a terrible thing. She used to take. Let me tell you, Martha Raye was a singer and Martha Raye ended up doing comedy in the movies and everything because she had a funny face. She worked a lot like Berle. If you go back and watch anything with Milton Berle and Martha Raye, you'll see that identification. The looks [she gave] like Berle. She wasn't a comedienne, she basically was a singer. So consequently when they opened up this place, The Five O'Clock Club, they brought in comedians and she would take their stuff. I would come back to work with her and the bandleader would say, "Don't do your 'French' routine. She's doing it." Well, it was my routine! But it fit her because it was a song and so and so. I said, "You know, if you people want me to write for her... I'll write for her!" You know? Because every time I came back to work there they'd say, "No. She's doing that now." The word steal is... it is stealing, but it's kind of cruel to say. She took. A lady takes. A guy steals.

Kliph Nesteroff: You told me a very funny story about working The Copa with Nat King Cole...

Shecky Greene: Oh, when I wouldn't let him go on?

Kliph Nesteroff: Exactly. But I also read that you later played another date with Nat King Cole at the Chez Paree in Chicago and I was wondering if there was ever any fallout....

Shecky Greene: No, I played with him at the Chez Paree before - that's the whole reason I went with him to The Copa.

Kliph Nesteroff: Ah, I see. Was there any bad blood after The Copa incident...

Shecky Greene: We were very close friends and one day he came to The Tropicana where I was working, stood right in front of the stage and said, "I want to apologize to you." Nat King Cole was probably... there were two black men in my life that I was in love with. One was Nat King Cole and the other was Billy Eckstine. Two of the finest human beings, beside being great entertainers. And Billy was the best. Nat was just, I can't tell ya how great Nat was.

Kliph Nesteroff: You were on an early show with Elvis...

Shecky Greene: Elvis was my opening act in 1956 at The Last Frontier in Las Vegas. I never did a television show with Elvis.

Kliph Nesteroff: When he opened for you... his act didn't really go over - or he didn't do too well?

Shecky Greene: You know, they keep on writing bullshit about that and make me look like a... Elvis Presley was just coming off of records. Elvis Presley was not prepared to go into a nightclub. Write that down! "Was. Not. Prepared." They just took this celebrity... he had Hound Dog and Blue Suede Shoes. They put a seventy-five foot cut-out of him in front of the hotel. The audience at that time, that went to places like this, didn't really know Elvis Presley. The kids did ... The college kids and the high school kids did. So, consequently... and he didn't have any of that fancy stuff he wore. He had a baseball jacket on, came out, and he played like a lounge act. Later on I said to Colonel Parker, "You've got to dress this kid." So they went over to see Liberace. Liberace put him in these fancy clothes. Okay? But Elvis Presley - they say he bombed [at The Last Frontier]. 

Well, he bombed with that audience. But then one afternoon Parker packed it with the high school and college kids... and you couldn't get near that place! So that was his audience. Later on as he worked, he had all these goddamn outfits and everything and he became big in Vegas. It's a paradox. The whole story is a paradox. Was he good - was he not? He was not good for what he did at The Frontier Hotel. He wasn't prepared for it. He took the job because of his celebrity. But I'll tell you one thing. He was probably one of the nicest human beings I have ever met. I don't know what happened to him later on, because when you become a shut-in... and that's what you become when you're that big, you can go fucking crazy.

Kliph Nesteroff: Something that Jack Carter related to me was about his wedding. You were at his wedding. Corbett Monica was also at that wedding. And that you threw a cake at Corbett Monica.

Shecky Greene: He's a liar. He's a liar. I brought a cake. I never threw a cake at Corbett Monica. No. Corbett Monica was a kid that I put in show business and I may have been a little angry with him. I was the one who sent him to do the Mountains and everything else and then he started to do whatever material I did because he used to watch me all the time in St. Louis. But I never threw a cake at Corbett Monica. My friend Jack Carter has got a wonderful mind, but he takes liberties at times. It sounds much better that i threw a cake at him. Tell Jack Carter, if you see him, it was not a cake. It was a pie! I know Rickles was there, but I don't even remember Corbett Monica being there. I didn't stay either. I went up and I gave the cake and I left.

Kliph Nesteroff: February 1961, according to a newspaper column, you and Don Rickles were in the audience heckling Jerry Lester at Slate Brothers.

Shecky Greene: Never. Never. I was never with Don Rickles in all the years. We never went out together. Never. Slate Brothers? Jerry Lester and I were very close friends... I never even knew that Jerry Lester worked The Slate Brothers. I would not heckle a performer for all the money in the world... but when Rickles was working Florida, I went in with Sinatra and they were throwing cake... you know, you've got all the stories mixed together. They were throwing cake on the stage at Rickles at The Eden Roc. Then I got up onstage with Rickles and smeared the cake all over me - because I felt bad. That's what I did.

Kliph Nesteroff: What do you remember about Jerry Lester? His fame kind of peaked in the early fifties with his TV show - and then it was a steady decline into obscurity.

Shecky Greene: Jerry Lester did a terrible thing. He tried to make demands on NBC and they just plucked him out. But his show was one of the forerunners of all of that shit; Broadway Open House. I think his ego got the best of him. Jerry and I were very, very close friends and I loved him. The ego got the best of him. Little by little he went into Alzheimer's in the end and it was tragic what happened with his career. He was signed by NBC and he had a contract and I guess they just paid it off. It was tragic. He had Dagmar on the show and it was interesting.

Kliph Nesteroff: That was the bone of contention, right? NBC started to push his co-star Dagmar more than Jerry Lester and when she eclipsed him... that cause big problems...

Shecky Greene: I think the publicity in general... I don't know whether NBC did it. I think the magazines and the papers and everything picked up on Dagmar because of her big tits. In vaudeville that was a thing. To have a girl with big tits and you'd play off of that. That particular thing with Dagmar and Jerry, it was like a little burlesque sketch. But yes. They picked up on that and I think it bothered him, yes.

Kliph Nesteroff: I had heard a story, years ago, that when Dagmar made the front cover of Life Magazine - that's when Jerry hit the roof.

Shecky Greene: Oh, probably. I didn't know that, but I could imagine it. I think I would have too! First I would have hit her tits and then I would have hit the roof.

Kliph Nesteroff: Here's something from a Louella Parsons column. "November 1956. Lucky comedian Shecky Greene has been signed by Bing Crosby to appear at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Tournament."

Shecky Greene: I never knew it was in [a Louella Parsons column] but I was signed to do Pebble Beach and I did a lot of shows with Bing Crosby. Bing Crosby was one of my great loves. Every time I hear someone knock Bing Crosby and say he was this and he was that... I mean, I only saw the best in him. I was with him when he did charities and he did charities that people never heard about. Building hospitals and stuff like that. You heard about the Danny Thomases and things like that, but Bing did things far and above. Yes, I did Pebble Beach. I never even knew that Louella Parsons did that... that's nice. I did a lot of shows with Bing. And Phil Harris. The two of them. Phil Harris was unbelievable. I said to Bing Crosby one day... as a matter of fact it was at Pebble Beach and it was raining and I was in the hotel. He said to me,  "Bubbabubaboo boobaa booobaa boe boe boe boe." I had to translate it. He said, "Why aren't you watching the golf?" I said, "I hate golf." Which actually I didn't. Anyway, later on Phil Harris said (in Phil Harris voice) "Jesus Christ! What the hell did you say to the old man? I think he's pissed!"

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Shecky Greene: (laughs) Yeah, I loved him.

Kliph Nesteroff: Did you ever...

Shecky Greene: The reason I got close with Bing was because I was close with his kid Gary. Bing wanted me around Gary so I could watch Gary and make sure he didn't get drunk and do all the things he did, but I did it all worse than Gary - which Bing didn't know about.

Kliph Nesteroff: I just watched an episode of The Phil Silvers Show the other day in which Gary Crosby and all of his brothers appear. Did you ever drink with Phil Harris?

Shecky Greene: I never really ever drank with Phil Harris. I mean, I sat with Phil Harris when he had a drink, but he really wasn't that... he wasn't that much a drunk or anything. And Bing never drank. Bing was a drinker way, way long time ago, but Bing didn't drink at all. It bothered him about the kid. All of those kids are gone. They all died. One of the twins committed suicide, Dennis... Phil was the last one to die... it's just such a crime.

Kliph Nesteroff: Something else I came across was a blurb about an ill-fated TV show that featured yourself, Hal March and Phil Foster called Laughs For Sale.

Shecky Greene: Uh, yeah, well, that show was on a while. I wasn't the star or anything. I just did it a couple of times. Somebody just sent me a tape of that.

Kliph Nesteroff: What was it exactly?

Shecky Greene: It was... it was... a bad show (laughs). It was not good.

Kliph Nesteroff: But what was...

Shecky Greene: I had a success with Combat. Combat was... they wanted me and they kept on... I was basically the one who really sold Combat.

Kliph Nesteroff: Really?

Shecky Greene: I was working Vegas and I didn't want to give up Vegas to just do Combat. I did the right thing. It was bullshit. I was in the Navy in the second World War, so I saw action, but I didn't see as much action in the Navy as I saw in Combat.

Kliph Nesteroff: But how many episodes of Combat did you do? Something like ten - and then you moved on?

Shecky Greene: Yeah, something like that. I walked from the backlot to the frontlot... we had one scene that was very hot. Sitting in the truck. The director, Bob Kennedy, kept on saying, "Vic, do you want to do that over again?" Finally I said, "Fuck this! Do it over again?" And I walked off. I walked to the front lot and I said, "I want to quit." He said, "Don't do that, please! We're going to get you your own show." He really saved NBC with that show and General Hospital. It was the same guy who had both shows and he said to me, "Please. Don't go. You'll get your own show eventually." I said, "I don't want it!" I wanted to hide! I didn't want to be with all the bullshit. Big star bullshit never meant anything to me.

Kliph Nesteroff: Shecky, another thing I read was that in 1965 you were signed to do a TV pilot for Universal called Kelly's Kingdom...

Shecky Greene: I did that.

Kliph Nesteroff: You played a butcher that takes on the US government?

Shecky Greene: No, no, no, no. Henry Morgan played the butcher. I played his brother-in-law.

Kliph Nesteroff: Harry Morgan or Henry Morgan?

Shecky Greene: Harry Morgan. Henry Morgan was one guy and the actor was also Henry Morgan and he changed his name to Harry Morgan. Kelly's Kingdom was a terrible, terrible pilot. I did three pilots and they're all bad. I did This is a Hospital for Columbia - Screen Gems. It was terrible. Yeah, I was not for that world. I was good to do nightclubs and to hide away.

Kliph Nesteroff: I didn't ask you about the famous story last time, but I must get you to tell it to in your own words because many accounts of it exist - all from the mouths of other people. But what do you remember about that famous time you crashed your car into the Caesar's Palace fountain - and do you remember anything about the lead-up to that famous moment?

Shecky Greene: Yes. I was completely drunk. I had finished work. I was completely insane. I forget what time it was in the morning. The gave me my car. They always gave me my car when I was drunk because they loved to see what was going to happen.

Kliph Nesteroff: (laughs)

Shecky Greene: I mean that couldn't possibly happen today. You couldn't drive down The Strip like that, but I was driving about one hundred miles an hour. I hit a post. They had just put in breakaway posts the week before. If that other type of post was there I would have been dead. The post broke in two, went across my car, I lost control, swerved across the street, hit two signs and went right into the fountains. And that's a true story. And when the cops came I said, "No spray wax."

Kliph Nesteroff: Right. The famous joke. Was there any fallout or retribution for all of that?

Shecky Greene: Yeah. I had to get a new car. But you want to know something? There really wasn't. In those days we had a different situation in Vegas. Everybody was close. They would just talk to the sheriff's office and that was the end of that. I never even got a ticket. The only thing I felt bad about was, in the back of the car, I had a football signed by the Green Bay Packers who had just won the Super Bowl. Somebody, when they took my car away, stole the football. That's the only thing I felt bad about. But it seems like everything bad I did, turned into a joke. Something I still use in the act.

Kliph Nesteroff: Now was that "No spray wax" joke something you came up with or did Buddy Hackett originally come up with that line?

Shecky Greene: You wanna know something? Buddy Hackett initially told the joke. "My friend Shecky had the accident..." and he told the joke. He called me and told me and I started using it immediately. But that's the kind of humor that Buddy had.

Kliph Nesteroff: About one year ago you were onstage in Las Vegas and Jerry Lewis was in the audience. You said something directed at him that caused a stir and resulted in you having to issue an apology...

Shecky Greene: Well, I don't want to... please don't. Let's not get involved in that again.

Kliph Nesteroff: Okay.

Shecky Greene: No, that's a terrible thing to [talk about] and it was a terrible thing for me to say. Jerry was very much of a man and a gentleman and I went to see him [the following week] and everything was [forgiven].

Kliph Nesteroff: I am not totally clear on what...

Shecky Greene: No, I'm not going to say what it was or what it wasn't that I said.

Kliph Nesteroff: No, but was it a result of something that happened between you two in the past, a long time ago...

Shecky Greene: Yes. Yes.

Kliph Nesteroff: The other thing I wanted to ask you about was the Bernie Madoff debacle...

Shecky Greene: Yes. Yes. Lost a fortune, oh, yes. I just fell into the trap with everyone else. I mean, brighter men than I did it.

Kliph Nesteroff: Bob Hope proclaimed himself "Shecky Greene's number one fan."

Shecky Greene: We had a very, very close relationship. Bob once flew in from Iowa. He phoned me. He said, "What time do you go on? Hold the show. I'll be there." I said, "What do you mean you'll be here?" He said, "I'll go to the Air Force. They'll get me a plane and fly me in." He flew into Chicago and he got onstage with me. He used to come onstage with me quite a bit. Yes, Bob Hope was another one. Like Crosby, you know? They both were a little cheap, but I guess that's from their background too. But Bob was something else.

Kliph Nesteroff: I read that you used to attend dinner parties at the home of Groucho Marx.

Shecky Greene: Never. Never. Groucho once got up and said that I was the greatest comic entertainer he had ever seen onstage. But of course by that time he was one hundred and twenty-two years old. I wish he would have said it when he was sixty! He said (in Groucho voice), "I want to tell you folks and I mean this in all sincerity..." and he got up, you know, wearing that hat. Then the newspapers grabbed that and it was nice.

Kliph Nesteroff: You mentioned last time that you had accompanied Lenny Bruce to a number of his court trials and supported him through that.

Shecky Greene: I actually only went to court with him once and that was in San Francisco, but Lenny and I were very close. But the guy that was with me, my ex-partner, was very, very close with Lenny. I didn't like to be around Lenny. I didn't like to be around Lenny because I would get very nervous around Lenny. The whole thing with the dope and everything else, that wasn't my cup of tea and I didn't like to see a man destroy himself like that.

Kliph Nesteroff: Who was your partner that hung out with him?

Shecky Greene: It was a guy named Frankie Ray. His real name is Frank Perelli. He used to do impressions and stuff and he became very close with Lenny.

Kliph Nesteroff: Frankie was a business partner of yours?

Shecky Greene: Well, no he was a comic. We had a club in New Orleans. What club? We had a place for him to take money. That's all. Everytime I would come back the cash register was empty.

Kliph Nesteroff: How did you first get to know Lenny?

Shecky Greene: I met Lenny through Buddy Hackett many, many, many years ago. When I was working Billy Gray's Band Box. Buddy took me out to meet Lenny because they grew up... well, they were kids together.

Kliph Nesteroff: Jack Carter was telling me he grew up in the same neighborhood as Buddy Hackett.

Shecky Greene: Yes. They were good friends at one time, but I don't know what happened. That wasn't Jack's doing. That was Buddy's doing. You know, Jack Carter happens to be magnificent. He's a strange man, but he happens to be a wonderful man.

Kliph Nesteroff: He has been very generous with his time with me.

Shecky Greene: Yes. He's that kind of a guy.

Kliph Nesteroff: His mind is still sharp.

Shecky Greene: Ahhhh, listen. We just went to a memorial for Eddie Fisher and he was there and he was brilliant. He just took off and just (laughs) - he had me laughing my ass off.

Kliph Nesteroff: He told me a fascinating anecdote about playing Vegas when they were testing the atomic bomb in the desert. It shook up all the locusts and there were insects covering Vegas, in everyone's food and drink and everything else...

Shecky Greene: Well, that wasn't really the bomb, that was my wife's perfume.