Posts Tagged ‘Woody Allen’

The People Business

May 9, 2014

Wednesday May 7th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I want to talk more about the whole “game” aspect of show business. It’s easy to come off as a crusty old bastard brimming with bitterness – and I’m sure some think I am. Maybe they’re right to a certain degree, but I want to go into the reasons why. It’s not just something I felt like doing.

Most entertainers that last even a little while I find to be of above average intelligence as a rule. This is often where their problems originate, as the public as a rule are a pretty sorry lot. I wish it were different, but it is what it is. Alexander Hamilton’s quote “The masses are asses” rings just as true in 2014 as it did in 1790 when he said it. The bar for greatness has been set painfully low.

Quite often the great artists are on a completely different plane than the public, and that causes great pain because there is no outlet for their artistic output. A lot larger audience wants to see an Adam Sandler movie than wants to see Woody Allen’s next release. Aiming low is a wise target.

This is not to say nobody smart or talented ever makes it, or only idiots do. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am pointing out is that show business is a people business, and if one has no insight on one’s customers, it’s easy to come crashing down in a hurry. There are rules involved.

There are also dues to be paid like tolls on a highway. The next booth is going to charge you an individual amount for that particular stretch of road, not caring that the last dozen all took a piece of your bank roll. If you want to ride, you have to pay. Period. That’s how it is in showbiz also.

Where the difference lies is that most highways have very detailed maps and it’s easy to find a manageable route. If one doesn’t have a GPS device, there are usually maps of the area put up in rest areas for any and all to freely use to their advantage. Show business’s route is more hidden.

There aren’t any pubic maps posed, and more often than not others on the same highway either don’t know where they’re going or are deliberately on a path to self implosion. That can be part of the DNA makeup of a dented can, and it can cause that person to make unhealthy decisions.

I have made more than my share of unhealthy decisions along my turbulent life trail, but I also made a few solid ones. Probably the most solid has been that I have STAYED WITH IT. I could have put a bullet in my head or the heads of several others by now, but I haven’t. That’s my only advantage at the moment. I’ve been around the block plenty of times, and I have seen the game.

If I do manage to win in the end, I will end up being one of the exceptions people talk about. It isn’t easy for anyone, but my circumstances have been especially difficult. And who would care about that? Uh, NOBODY but me. Where someone comes from is unimportant. All that matters is where one ends up. And if I am going to end up a winner in life the game has got to be played.

A big part of the problem is that I no longer have the hunger to do it – at least at a comedy club level. Been there, done that, burned bridges and learned a lot. That doesn’t mean I can’t enter an entirely different league, and that’s what I intend to do. Corporate humor would qualify, and I’m going to handle myself a lot differently than I did in comedy clubs. I know the rules better now.

The Uranus project is another arena altogether, but there’s still a game involved. I know it now, and I didn’t when I started in comedy. I see things more clearly, and that’s the direct result of all those crippling mistakes. I may have hurt myself, but I’m not dead yet so there is still a chance.

Show business - like EVERY business - is a people business.

Show business – like EVERY business – is a people business. Too bad a lot of people are idiots.


Jay Leno

April 30, 2014

Monday April 28th, 2014 – Lake Villa, IL

Today is Jay Leno’s birthday, and I think it’s important to acknowledge exactly how huge of a career he has had. There have been controversial events surrounding him at times, but that’s not what I want to discuss. I don’t have enough information to claim to be able to speak intelligently on the subject. I heard what everyone else heard, but quite frankly none of that is my business.

What is my business is standup comedy, and Jay Leno was the absolute undisputed king of it at the peak of the comedy club glory years. He was in the right place at the right time, and everyone I came up the ranks with spoke his name in revered tones. He was the one everyone aspired to be – or at least his status. He worked the top venues for top dollar, and he worked CONSTANTLY.

I think the majority of the public has no clue what a work ethic Jay Leno has always had. I was privy to it through working with Zanies Comedy Clubs in Chicago and knowing the owner Rick Uchwat. Rick and Jay were very close, and Rick would always tell the rest of us how far we had to go to even get close to Jay’s work ethic. He figured it out early, and rode the wave to the top.

A lot of people choose to only look at his Tonight Show years, and base their opinion solely on that. That’s not the whole picture, just as people often judge Woody Allen on how he treated Mia Farrow and that whole situation. Again, none of that is my business and I have no right to judge.

Jay Leno was a huge success long before he ever got The Tonight Show, and had he not gotten it he would definitely not have starved to death. Money is one thing he mastered early, and I’m a fan for that alone. He found a way to get paid top dollar, yet he never coasted. He had two jobs at all times since he was young – one that he lived off of and one that he saved. That’s SO unusual.

I read several times where he said he saved every penny he made from The Tonight Show, and lived off the money he made in comedy. I did the exact same thing when I had my radio jobs, but unfortunately none of them lasted long enough to make a difference. I was always able to squeak out a living in comedy while I was doing radio, and I banked the radio cash. I see how he did it.

What’s so fantastic is that he did it for so long. At one point a lot earlier than most, he was at a place where he didn’t have to work if he didn’t want to – but he totally wanted to. He was out on the road constantly either opening for music acts or headlining from coast to coast. He worked it, onstage and off. I saw him live in the ‘80s and it was like nothing I’d ever seen. He was amazing.

I think he did somewhere around two hours, and it was rapid fire JOKES with zero fat. He had the crowd in his pocket the entire way through, and I was in awe. He brought the goods, and did it night after night after night. Young comics coming up the ladder today and those that may not have enjoyed him on The Tonight Show need to realize how great a standup he is and respect it.

What I found odd is that Jay is left handed. Many entertainers are, but he is so mechanical that I was surprised to hear of it. He’s also dyslexic and overcame that quite nicely. I have respect for Jay Leno’s tremendous accomplishments, and I wanted to make it public. He earned his success.

Everyone has their opinion, but the fact is that Jay Leno was THE KING of standup comedy during the boom years of the 1980s. Period.

Jay Leno was the undisputed KING of standup comedy during the boom years of the 1980s. Period. He earned it.

Maxwell’s Silver Humor Newsletter

January 14, 2014

Sunday January 12th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I’ve been busy like a worker bee getting my new and improved monthly email newsletter ready to send out, and learned today it’s not going to be completely ready by tomorrow which had been the original target deadline date. I’m not disappointed at all, and in fact I’m feeling really good.

The advantage I had going in is that NOBODY is expecting it, and it won’t upset anybody. The only ones that knew the deadline even existed were my pit crew Eric and me. We have both done our jobs like we said we would, and it’s almost ready to go. We fully expected to have glitches.

I’m working on the content side, and Eric is dealing with the nuts and bolts of getting all of the technical aspects handled. He set up an account on a website that will let us send it to up to 2500 people, and we’ve both been working on sorting the email address list into distinct categories.

This is going to be a huge project, and a continuous work in progress. We’re both up for it and know what it entails – or at least we think we do. There will constantly be names being added to the list, and others will fall off. We hope to be able to grow each month but we need to start first.

Eric has about 1500-2000 email addresses to load into the system, but that total is deceiving. A significant number will probably bounce back, as I haven’t contacted them for a while. Many of the others are personal friends or other performers. It’s nice to say hello every month, but they’re not going to book me. I know that going in, and I’m not getting cocky about having a large list.

The long term plan is to collect fans everywhere I go, and keep them aware of when I might be back. There are places like the three Zanies Comedy Clubs in the Chicago area or Donnie B’s in Springfield, IL and several others where I perform regularly. I want to become a legitimate draw.

99.999% of comedians would not have dreamed of doing this years ago, but this isn’t years ago and I’m not a comedian anymore – at least not in my marketing strategy. I’m a HUMORIST, and humorists get paid a whole lot more to basically do what a comedian does. It’s about perception.

Humorists also have a ton of products for sale. Dave Barry has a library of books, as do people like Lewis Grizzard, Erma Bombeck, Al Franken and several others. George Carlin wrote books toward the end of his career, and Woody Allen wrote them at the beginning. I need at least one.

Building a list is the smart way to go, and worth all the time and effort we’re investing now as we breathe life into it from absolute zero. I went over to Eric’s house tonight and we plugged the content I wrote into the template we chose, and of course there were glitches with the actual text.

It didn’t line up correctly, and wasn’t pleasant to look at. It had poor eye appeal. It had nothing to do with content, but we still have to deal with it. Eric will figure it out, and that’s why we’re a team. I am not good with those types of things and I know it. He’ll get it fixed and we’ll send it.

But that’s just the beginning. We’ll need to keep cranking it out month after month to more and more people and that will go on perpetually. I’m calling it “Maxwell’s Silver Humor Newsletter” after the Beatles’ “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”. If you’d like to get it, send your email address.

'Humorists' are revered and get paid big bucks. 'Comedians' tell dirty jokes in saloons. That's the perception - at least with those who pay to hire performers. I'm a humorist, thank you.

‘Humorists’ are revered and get paid big bucks. ‘Comedians’ tell dirty jokes in saloons. That’s the perception – at least with those who pay to hire performers. I’m a humorist, thank you.

My monthly "Maxwell's Silver Humor Newsletter" is about ready to launch.  If you want to receive it, send me your email address.

My monthly “Maxwell’s Silver Humor Newsletter” is about ready to launch. If you want to receive it, send me your email address.

Supposedly, women like a man with a sense of humor. I wonder if she thinks I'm funny?

Supposedly, women like a man with a sense of humor. I wonder if she thinks I’m funny?

Woody Allen And Richard Pryor

December 3, 2013

Sunday December 1st, 2013 – Island Lake, IL

Today is significant in the annals of standup comedy, as it is the birth date of a pair of certified legends of the field in Woody Allen (1935) and Richard Pryor (1940). They’re about as opposite as opposites get, but their contribution and influence have transcended generations of comedians.

I can’t think of two more influential names in 20th Century standup comedy and both graduated to successful movie careers. That’s about where the parallels end though. They had very different life and career paths, but both should be studied by anyone who is serious about standup comedy.

Woody Allen is quite simply the most prolific comedic artist of our time. Period. Who else can even come close? He started writing jokes in high school, and has kept cranking out product on a regular basis without ceasing. Between four books of humorous essays, three standup recordings, several successful plays and virtually a movie a year since the 1960s, he has had an epic output.

I know how much hard work was required to put out the two comedy CDs and DVD that I did. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to amass the body of work Woody did. He has kept it up for decades, and continues to do it today. The discipline and talent required for that is huge.

There are people who don’t care for his work, and that’s fine. Any art is subjective, and it goes with the territory that not everyone will appreciate anyone’s work. Still, the sheer volume of how much he was able to accomplish over one lifetime is absolutely staggering. He won’t be equaled, at least not in our lifetime. Whoever does do it will have to set out early and labor for a lifetime.

I personally am a huge fan of Woody’s work, especially his standup comedy. His writing is as good as it gets, and I play his classic ‘The Moose’ routine in my comedy classes even now. He’s a mega talent, and his work ethic is incredible. That combination is the recipe for major success.

Michael Jordan had it in sports. He was naturally gifted, but his work ethic was the key to what made him a legend. One without the other won’t cut it. It’s rare to have both, and that’s why the ones that do are considered superstars. In the comedy universe, Woody Allen is Michael Jordan.

Richard Pryor was no slouch, and he was loaded with natural talent. He came along a few years after Woody Allen, but they crossed paths in New York in the 1960s. I have never found Pryor to be on my list of favorites, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect him as I totally do. He influenced countless comedians, and continues to do so to this day as does Woody. They’re both superstars.

I don’t think Pryor had nearly the work ethic Woody Allen does, but very few artists of any ilk do. I know he struggled with drug abuse for years, and I don’t think Woody ever has. He put all of his energy into his work, and continues to. Good, bad or indifferent, Woody stayed the course. Pryor was all over the place, but he still managed to capture the pulse of a large part of society.

My hat is off to both of them, and it’s odd that they would both be born on the same day. Who knows if that has any significance? I share a birthday with Albert Einstein, and there aren’t very many similarities there at all. He was dead before I was born, but I still think it’s pretty neat we have that in common. Woody Allen and Richard Pryor both left their marks, and I respect them.

Woody Allen is THE most prolific comedy artist of our time. Period. Nobody will touch him, at least not in our lifetime.

Woody Allen is THE most prolific comedy artist of our time. Period. Nobody will touch him, at least not in our lifetime.

Richard Pryor had a huge influence on both the public and comedians of his generation. He was never one of my personal favorites, but that doesn't mean I don't respect him. He was a giant.

Richard Pryor had a huge influence on both the public and comedians of his generation. He was never one of my personal favorites, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect him. He was a giant.

Quality Content

June 4, 2013

Sunday June 2nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   It never hurts to pound positive principles into one’s head, even if they have been heard before. I want to do all I can to turn the tables and get myself out of this current funk, so I buried myself in quality content all day long. There’s nothing like learning from the best in a particular field.

   First, I listened to a recording of Woody Allen talking about comedy and comedy writing. It’s part of the extensive research done by author Larry Wilde for his classic book ‘Great Comedians Talk About Comedy’.  He recorded interviews with great comedians of the past and it’s been one of my favorite books for years. I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in standup comedy.

   There’s a website called that sells the interviews Larry did with comedy icons like George Carlin, Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld and many others including Woody Allen. This was the precursor to the overdose of podcasts we have today. Marc Maron has the one everybody seems to be familiar with, and he gets the best guests of this generation like Larry did years ago.

   I can’t think of anyone bigger in the comedy world than Woody Allen. He is THE most prolific comedy artist of the 20th Century if not all time. His work ethic is unmatched by anyone and he’s still doing it today. Whether anyone happens to be a fan of what he does or not, he cranks it out.

   I happen to be a huge fan of Woody’s, and the sheer amount of product alone he’s generated is awe inspiring. I churned out my two little CDs and a DVD, but those seem like Chihuahua turds compared to Woody’s body of work. He’s written four books of essays, has three comedy album projects that are now condensed onto a two CD set and has done a feature film a year since 1969.

   In a word – WOW! What other artist has come close to that kind of output? Steve Martin has a lot of films to his credit in addition to albums and books, but he’s not in the same solar system as Woody. Nobody is. Like him or not, he’s the standard setter for generations to come. His number of completed projects dwarfs everyone, and even though all of them weren’t big hits many were.

   I listened intently to Woody’s interview, and even though I’ve heard it at least a dozen times or more there is always something that jumps out at me that I hadn’t heard or need to hear again. He is truly the master’s master of the craft of comedy, and I enjoyed listening to him all over again.

   After that, I popped in a five cassette program from an author and mail order guru I’ve listened to for years named E. Joseph Cossman. He made millions marketing products that were given up on by others, and had a number of big hits including the potato gun, ant farm and several others.

   I’ve got a few tape programs from him, and they’re all great even though some of the info may be a bit dated. He died years ago, before the internet. Still, his acumen is rock solid now as it was when it came out and I wanted to refresh my memory and hear it again. It inspired me all over.

   Maybe now I’ll actually DO something rather than bitch about being in a slump. His principles of business are very solid, and he was a world class entrepreneur. What better way to learn about anything than to go to the top of any field and study the masters? E. Joseph Cossman is a master.

   Woody Allen is a master also. So is Larry Wilde. Gene Perret is another. I would love to get on a list like that, but I have a ways to go. Right now I’m hoping to be able pay my rent next month. I doubt if Woody Allen is worried about that. He’s thinking about his work – just as he should be.

Woody Allen - Comedy Master

Woody Allen – Comedy Master

E. Joseph Cossman - Mail Order Master

E. Joseph Cossman – Mail Order Master

A must read for any student of comedy.

A must read for any student of comedy – by Larry Wilde.

World Class Woody

December 3, 2012

Friday November 30th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   If there had to be a single humorist chosen to be ‘the one’ for the modern era, I don’t see how it could be more than a one horse race. Woody Allen is the clear cut winner, and probably takes the second and third place spots as well. Everyone else is choking on his dust, left to fight for scraps.

What a spectacular career he has had for more than half a century, and continues to have today. Who else even comes close, either in length or versatility? Either one would be a remarkable feat for anyone to accomplish, but together it’s something I don’t think we’ll see for a very long time.

Woody turns 77 tomorrow, and I wanted to pay my respects but I don’t know where to start. In a field where it’s difficult to survive much less excel at ONE thing, he’s done several to the point of legendary status and that just blows my mind. I don’t think he is appreciated nearly enough.

He started writing jokes in his teens, and soon after was bringing in more income than both of his parents combined while still in high school. How many can say that? He continued and got a job writing for ‘Your Show of Shows’ with Sid Caesar and worked with some of the top comedy writers of all time. Again, that alone would have been a major victory but there was a lot more.

His standup comedy helped change the game as we know it, and to this day is some of the most well written material of all time. That combined with his neurotic stage persona and well defined nerdish appearance is what legends are made of. His character is timeless, and remains hilarious.

‘The Moose’ is a classic standup routine I play for every one of my comedy classes. If there’s a more well structured piece of standup comedy ever written I’ve sure never heard it, and his talent combined with a vicious work ethic make him the number one humorist of all time in my book.

He also wrote a total of four books of humorous essays, another difficult task. Even harder is to make a reader laugh out loud, but there are several examples of that in all the works I’ve had the chance to read and it’s been several years since I’ve read them. It’s about time to refresh myself.

Then, if standup comedy and humor essays weren’t challenging enough, Woody jumped into it even deeper and began writing, directing and often starring in feature films. His first effort “Take the Money and Run” remains one of my all time favorites, and I still laugh out loud when I see it.

ONE successful film is no small feat, but Woody has continued to crank out about a film a year for more than four decades. Why does anyone need to work that hard? I don’t think anyone does, but if creativity is in one’s blood it’s the only alternative. It becomes a way of life for a lifetime.

I don’t see Woody Allen ever retiring of his own free will. He’s a creative artist, and he’s done about as much as any one person I can think of for as long as anyone I can think of. One doesn’t have to personally be a fan of his work to admire the effort it took to make it come to be. Woody has a work ethic and then some, and his vast body of work will be around to entertain generation after generation. If that isn’t professional success, I don’t know what is. He has set the bar high.

Preparing To Prepare

June 18, 2010

Friday June 18th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

No gig tonight but that’s ok. I’m working tomorrow, and then the summer tumbleweeds come rolling in. July is very dry, and August is weak too. Then things pick up again in the month of September on many levels. I’ve got some comedy work, classes, a week of good networking in Las Vegas and I’ll settle in for the big ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show.

October is looking pretty good too. I’ve got ‘Schlitz Happened!’ booked a few places so I’ll hopefully be able to establish a little roll, and I haven’t even gotten my dates from any of my staple places like Zanies, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor and Kansas City.

I also am working on some online comedy writing classes with both Bill Gorgo and also Linda Perret and have been hired to teach comedy at one of the big community colleges in the Chicago area. Not only that, I’m looking at releasing another comedy CD October 1st.

That’s a lot to prepare for, not to mention Uranus Factory Outlet and some of the rest of the ideas that are rolling around in my head. This is the time to crank out as much as I can because I’m not getting any younger. Old age will find me long before I want it to, so this is the time to get it all done. I’m under the gun and it’s up to me to get ready on my own.

This is going to require a lot of self discipline, something I’ve not always been good at. I’m ok with working on things, but I usually like to do it how I want and when I want. It’s going to take a view of a much bigger picture to get things done on a higher level, which I really want to do. I don’t just want to drift off into the sunset. I want to have a battle plan.

Woody Allen is a perfect example of someone who just keeps working. His films might not be for a mass audience, but he keeps making them and he has enough fans that keep it economically feasible. I’ve read where he’s already sketching out the next film as he does the one at hand. He’s developed a great work ethic and his lifelong body of work is vast.

George Clinton is another example. He’s almost 70 and still continues to tour, even if it is out of financial necessity. That’s not why he does it, and that’s not why Woody does it either. They’re artists, and that’s what they do. Money is a sidelight. It’s all in the doing.

I feel that way to a certain extent, but money sure would be nice. In my opinion. George Clinton should be filthy rich, along with a lot of his cohorts. He was behind an empire of spectacular creativity that continues to shine brilliantly today. They’re not an oldies act.

What I need to do is be absolutely ready when ‘the call’ comes. What is it? When will it come? Who will be on the other end of the phone? I don’t know any of those answers, but I don’t have to. All I need to do is be ready. When I get another chance, I’ll be prepared.

I was able to do the Craig Ferguson show and not embarrass myself. That’s great. Now, it’s time to take that farther. I’ve got to be ready for another one. And another after that. If I focus on survival only, that’s all I’ll ever do. I need to create a bigger picture of success.

Wilde About Larry

January 27, 2010

Wednesday January 27th, 2010 – St. Charles, IL

Most people, including many comedians, don’t realize how much devotion it requires to keep improving the onstage part of our business. There’s so much to do off stage it’s hard to keep growing as a performer, and that’s exactly why it’s so important to keep doing it.

The ‘act’ is the product we sell. Part of that includes jokes, but it’s also a mixture of all kinds of other intangibles from confidence to experience to presentation. It’s a developed persona wrapped up in a total package, and if it’s done correctly it should always evolve.

George Carlin is a perfect example. He had a 40 year career but was constantly evolving to the point of where it even changed his physical appearance. He started out with the suit and tie look and short hair, and evolved into the counterculture hippie wearing jeans and a t-shirt with long hair and a beard. His comedy evolved along with him. He kept growing.

I’m very much at that point myself, and I relish the challenge. I have more material than most comedians already, only because I made a point to keep working on it over the years while everything else in my life exploded around me. Focusing on comedy kept the bullet out of my mouth in some ways, but it also gave me something to do that I really enjoyed.

Comedy is FUN to me. It always has been. I can’t stand dealing with the club owners or the bookers or the brutal travel schedule or the sleazy motels, but the time onstage is what I live for. It makes up for all the other stuff, and if I’m going to sacrifice a ’normal’ life to get it I’m going to go about it correctly. Comedy is a craft, and it needs to be developed.

There are many aspects to that craft, onstage and off. Both are difficult. I’ve spent years which grew into decades learning the ropes onstage, and it didn’t come easy. Many nights I’d wonder if I made the right choice as I stood on the stage of some honky-tonk hell hole hundreds of miles from home hoping to hypnotize a handful of hooched up hillbillies.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but I did learn from it and now I’ve attained a level of expertise as a performer very few ever achieve. Why? Because I stayed with it a lot longer than most others would. Part of that is because of my love of the craft, the other is probably part stupidity. By all accounts I probably should have given this up years ago.

That being said, this is exactly why I need to keep growing. It would be easy to phone in my shows and focus on other things like I’ve seen a lot of other comics do. Unfortunately, some of those things they focused on were bitterness, booze or something else on the ugly list and it ended up destroying the act it took so many years of hard work to put in place.

I don’t think it has to be that way, and I’m going to do something about it. I never drank or did drugs, so that’s a huge minefield I avoided right there. Bitterness on the other hand has been a problem. It’s hard not to be bitter about things that are unfair in life, but who’s going to change that? The only thing any of us can do is become the best US, and let what happens after that happen. That’s where I’m sitting right now. I still can improve greatly.

A major part of that will be reworking my entire onstage act from top to bottom. Every single aspect of everything I do is up for review. It’s like totally remodeling a house that’s been lived in for 25 years. Over that time things wear out or break down and there’s a list of things to fix or improve to bring it back up to speed again. Plus, it’s good to refresh.

My act can use a total rework, and that’s not going to be easy. It’s a matter of busting up a lot of things that have been there for years, but also keeping some of the pillars in place to start rebuilding with a strong foundation. There has to be a well planned blueprint first.

My first 25 years in comedy were very unorganized. I didn’t have much of a battle plan at all other than to just get better on stage and stick it in the ass of everyone who bothered me. That was pretty stupid, especially the last part. Now, I’m not worried about what any other people think. I know where I want to go, and I hope I’m not too late to get there.

The first smart thing I’ve done is knowing what I want to do. I’ve never had that before. The second one will be doing my homework before I start. I’m going to go back in history and study guys before me and see what they did, both right and wrong. I’ve always been a student of the game, but now it’s time to dig even deeper and see what I can find to use.

Larry Wilde is a guy who published over fifty books about comedy from joke books to a classic called “Great Comedians Talk About Comedy”, which interviews a bunch of the biggest names of the 20th century from Bob Hope to Woody Allen to Johnny Carson and a lot more. Larry asks pointed questions and gets some amazing insights from the masters.

There are recordings of his interviews sold on a website called I have all of them and enjoyed every one. It’s fascinating for me to hear what the guys before me have to say about the craft, and it’s amazing to hear how much of it is timeless, even now.

Larry has his own website at and years ago we came into contact, even though I don’t remember exactly how. He’s always been very friendly and I do hear from him on occasion asking me about something comedy related. He’s what I consider a super student of the game, and that’s what I aspire to as well. He’s on top of his business.

He’s also a great entrepreneur, something I really need to learn. I contacted Larry about buying some of the recordings he made with more obscure but equally brilliantly talented comedians like Dick Gregory, Ed Wynn, George Jessel and Joey Bishop. I told him I was interested in buying out all he had and they came in the mail today. I can’t wait to listen.

The complete list besides the people I mentioned are Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Shelley Berman, Jimmy Durante, Danny Thomas, Maurice Chevalier, Jack Benny, George Burns and Jerry Seinfeld. Those are some heavy hitters and I’m sure I’ll learn from every one.

This is the kind of stuff most performers won’t do. One, it was an investment of money. Larry cut me a deal, but it still will cost a chunk of change not to mention the time it takes to listen, make notes and implement what I learned. But, it’s worth it. I‘ll really improve.