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In our final episode of the season we continue where we left off in our brief history of The Improv. This episode picks up right where we left off with the beginning of LA The Improv. We talk about Dave moving to LA and becoming Budd's assistant, the friendship and competition with The Comedy Store, the fire that nearly ended everything, and the rebuilding of an icon. Listen in as Dave and Tom continue down memory lane.
In this very special 2-part series, we are talking about the world-famous, original comedy club, The Improv. Not only did several famous comedians get their start here, so did our own, Dave Schwensen. Dave takes us through the history of the club from the very beginning with Budd Friendman and Silver Saunders, through to the '90s in NYC. You'll hear stories about Lily Tomlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Larry David, and many more!
David Steinberg rose to fame using his childhood as inspiration for one of his most popular bits, the sermon. He was a member of Second City for four years, inspired by Lenny Bruce, and was hated by Richard Nixon. He was a part of the Smothers Brothers firing scandal and was the voice of a generation. Listen in as Dave, Tom, and Kelly introduce us to David Steinberg.
George Carlin’s career took off in the ’60s and continued through the decades. The country watched as he transformed from straight edge comic to long-haired hippy comedian. Throughout his career, he appeared on The Tonight Show 130 times, produced 23 comedy albums, wrote 3 books, and several movies. Listen in as Dave, Tom, and Kelly introduce us to George Carlin and his 1972 album “FM & AM.”
This episode takes us all the way across the ocean to England where find a comedy trio that is so absurd and so hilarious that it could only be The Goon Show! Starring Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, and Harry Secombe these three created characters, made their own sound effects, and concocted elaborate stories on their British radio show named after a character on Popeye. The show went on for 10 seasons with many specials and influenced everyone from The Beatles to Monty Python before making its splash on America. Listen in as Dave, Kelly, and Logan tell us all about The Goon Show!
cIf you don’t love Richard Pryor, then you probably don’t know Richard Pryor! The best comedian of his time he was hated by Bill Cosby, played many characters on the stage, and was too unpredictable to be on television. In fact, the seven-second delay was created because of him! Like most comedians of the time, he had many demons and those demons would get the best of him from time to time. Listen in as Dave, Kelly, and Tom introduce us to Richard Pryor.
The comedian we are talking about in this episode was the only guitar comedy act to ever perform on The Tonight Show. He is an artist, a musician, a comedian, and an actor. He made history on network television in the 1990s. It’s North Ridgeville, Ohio’s own, Martin Mull.
Don Rickles wanted to be an actor, but as a way to make a buck he took up comedy, and not just any comedy, insult comedy. Nicknamed Mr. Warmth, no one was safe from his comedy antics including Frank Sinatra. Rickles and Sinatra became instant friends like they say 'that's amore!' There's much more to Don though and he even became a great actor. Listen in as Dave, Tom, and Logan introduce us to Don Rickles!
Jean Carroll entered the scene when women were only a part of the background, the straight man in a comedy duo, or on the Chitlin Circuit. Her elegant looks and casual, conversational comedy sent her straight to the top! Audiences loved her and she did 20 episodes of the Ed Sullivan Show, and was said to be the inspiration behind “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Listen in as Dave, Kelly, and Logan introduce us to Jean Carroll!
Jonathan Winters is a legend. A master of improv and storytelling he got his start after winning a contest for a new wristwatch. A family man at heart he cut his live performances short and became a studio comic. He was Robin Williams hero and had a guest role on "Mork & Mindy." In this episode Dave, Tom, and Logan take a look at his 1995 album “Crank Calls.”
Tommy and Dick Smothers also known as the Smothers Brothers quickly rose to fame after appearing on the Jack Parr Show in 1961. Their musical comedy act was one that hadn’t been seen before and it quickly led to several of their own television shows including the most famous Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Although there were only 3 seasons, it was the show to appear on. Do you remember The Who exploding drum incident? When George Harrison made an impromptu visit? Listen in as Dave, Kelly, and Tom tell us about the rise and fall of the Smothers Brothers.
Redd Foxx is most known for his role on Sanford and Son, but his career dates back all the way to the ’40s. When he was 17 he was a member of the trio “The Bon Bons,” for a while he wanted to be a singer and even released 5 singles, and he was friends with Malcolm X. Most of Redd’s comedy career consisted of blue party albums, but there is so much more to his lengthy career. Listen in to find out all there is to know about Redd Foxx…..including why there are 2 Ds and 2 Xs!
Freddie Prinze was an overnight sensation. He was invited to sit by Johnny Carson during his first appearance on the show which was an instant game changer. He starred on the show Chico and The Man where he coined the phrase “lookin’ good!” Ultimately this fame led to his demise: a drug problem, depression, and eventually suicide. Listen in as Dave, Tom, and Logan introduce us to the incredible Freddie Prinze.
The first housewife to break out of the mold, Phyllis Diller broke into the scene with her famous one-liners, fright wigs, and out of this world costumes! Phyllis is the first female stand up comedian, paving the way for all those who came after her. She loved getting plastic surgery and was known as the queen of the gays. She became friends with Bob Hope and traveled the world with him doing comedy. Listen in as Dave, Kelly, and Tom introduce us to the amazing Phyllis Diller!
Season 2 of What's So Funny! is coming very soon and, let me tell you, we are talking about some great comedians! With the same great hosts! And all-new comedy albums! But, this time around it's just all us all the time. Coming Nov. 10 our season includes Phyllis Diller, Freddie Prinze, Redd Foxx, and many more!
Dick Gregory broke barriers for African American comics. In fact, he was the first black comedian to sit next to Jack Paar becoming a trailblazer for other black comedians. He had a very successful comedy career, but he felt the call of civil rights activism which took priority over making people laugh. Not only did Dick Gregory run for mayor of Chicago, a year later he ran for President of the United States and even put his face on the $1 bill. He went on to become an actor, a health guru, and an author. The one thing he was committed to throughout his whole life was justice. Let’s take a listen to his very first album from 1961 “In Living Black and White.” The album we're listening to today is: "In Living Black and White," written and performed by Dick Gregory with introduction by Alex Dreier, Colpix Records 1961
Our final episode of the season features the one, the only, Shelley Berman and his album “Inside Shelley Berman!” Before becoming a comedian, Shelley worked quite a few odd jobs, but he didn’t let that stop him from becoming the comedian we know of today! He is most known for his role on Curb Your Enthusiasm but, he was one of the premiere comics of his time. . Listen in to find out what makes Shelley Berman unstoppable!
In this episode of What’s So Funny! we are listening to the one and only Moms Mabley and her 1970 album “Live at Sing Sing.” Jackie Moms Mabley is not only known as the funniest woman in the world, but she is also known as the first black stand up comedienne, the first black woman to take the stage at the Apollo theater, and the first black woman to play at Carnegie Hall. Her career spans over 30 years, and she really knows how to put on a show. Listen in to find out what it’s like to be Live in Si
In this episode of What’s So Funny! Dave Schwensen and Tom Megalis listen to original one hit wonder Vaughn Meader. His comedy album broke records when it was released in 1962 skyrocketing to the top of the charts, but his career took a turn for the worse when national tragedy hit. As the original presidential impersonator he changed the face of the nation as John F. Kennedy. Let’s go back in time to Camelot with Vaughn Meader’s “The First Family.”
It’s hard to believe, but the parents of improvisational comedy didn’t even like each other the first time they met! In this episode of What’s So Funny! we take a listen to the live recording of their Broadway show “An Evening With Nichols and May,” by Mike Nichols and Elaine May. This comedy duo rose to fame in just 2 short years and paved the way for improvisational comedy that we see today!
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