Shecky Greene: Comedian

SHECKY GREENE is the most famous night club act. Even the name “Shecky” is synonymous with comedian. As a headliner in Las Vegas, his shows have been seen by millions. Shecky Greene is a man with many stories, like how about the time Elvis Presley opened for him? Or his many times as a guest on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, or the Merv Griffin Show.

Shecky Greene is rightfully a legend… a comedian who not only tells jokes, but sings, improvises songs and has never been too shy of becoming physical on stage.

Shecky really opens up in this interview, including his opinions on some of the younger comedians.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure that I introduce you to this man. The one, the only, the legendary Shecky Greene.

What a wonderful introduction! I wish I were all of those things. How do you become well-known, the only one and legendary? How do you become that in this business? Because all the people that I – at this age, I guess, become legendary.

Well …

… either legendary or dead!

(Laughs) That’s a good question. I guess there’s something to be said for hanging in there and continuing at your craft.

George Burns said (imitates George Burns’ voice) ‘Shecky do it as long as, as long as they – and make sure you work with people that are older so they don’t remember anything (laughter) and then, then, then keep on doing that.’

My first question. Who is the real Shecky Greene?

Who is the real Shecky Green? I mean, what made him legendary (laughs)? I don’t know who the real Shecky Greene is. All I know is I get up every morning. I have my breakfast. Sometimes I don’t have my breakfast. I do my things and when I went to work, I went to work. But I don’t think that’s a question – people say “Who is the real …?” How do you know what the real is because during the course of a life you do many things that you wish you didn’t do.

That’s very true. Take us back to the very beginning. I think most stories are best from the beginning. What was life like growing up in the Greenfield home?

Well, let me tell you, I was born and my – when I was first born I thought my name was “Oooh, oooh, oooh” ‘cause that’s what happened, as soon as I was born that’s what I heard my mother do “Oooh, oooh” (laughter) so I thought that was my first name. Then I was the third of two, of three boys and my brother did, uh, my middle brother did impressions and dialects and things, and I just emulated him. And that’s, basically, how I got into show business. But I, uh, I had a wonderful childhood in Chicago during the depression. I remember the people coming and picking up my father’s car – we couldn’t afford to pay for it anymore – and me standing the garage crying. Then I remember my mother going to work and we having to wait for her to see what she brought home from, from work. Kids don’t go through that today. I mean, the poverty is much different today.

Yeah. I guess it’s relative ‘cause people today, a lot of the things that they think is roughing it would have been living in luxury years ago.

What do you mean?

Well, it’s almost like we’re kind of getting spoiled.

Well, I mean we’ve got welfare, we’ve got different things. Today is an entirely different situation. It’s just like people say “Who’s your favorite comic?” There’s so many comedians today and with this “tube” and everything else, I don’t know who’s my favorite, who’s not my favorite. There’s just so many of them.

Yeah. Tell us what comedians influenced you the most.

Nobody influenced me. The only one I was influence by was my brother. I mean, we would, we would listen to radio and, uh, we would go to movies, and he would do things and I would do things. My, uh, forté was dialects and in all the years I that I’ve been in show business, everything that I did movie-wise, television-wise, nobody ever used me for a dialect. I mean, (imitates dialects) the Russian, I would do Russian, do the Jewish, Irish. And nobody ever wrote a script and said ‘Here. This is perfect for you as a character actor.’ So it was, it was all the success that I’ve had. Also, it’s been very frustrating, too, because I always wanted to be a character actor.

Hmm. How did you get the idea that comedy was something that – it could be more than just making somebody laugh, that it could be a profession?

Oh, I just, by luck. I mean, I did it in high school and everything else. And then when I, uh, when I got out of the service – oh, by the way, in the service when I was boarding an aircraft carrier, the Bon Homme Richard CV-31 Essex Class carrier, aboard that same ship was Jonathan Winters. He was a marine and I was in the Navy, and we did a few shows when we were in the Navy. But when I got out of the service, I was going to college and I went down to a resort and I got up on the stage, and from there I, I stayed in show business. It was easier because I knew I was not equipped to do anything else. I was not equipped to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, an Indian chief. I couldn’t have – as a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for the Japanese attacking us, I never would have gotten a high school diploma. And on my diploma it says (speaks Japanese gibberish). (Laughter) And it was a series of things. I was always quitting show business, Paul. I, I had success and then the job was over and I was going to go back to college, and then another job came up … and then another job came up.

I wanted to ask you about The Preview Lounge. What were your memories of that? What did you think of New Orleans?

Well, you see, I was already almost out of show business when I went. Some guy offered me two weeks to go down to New Orleans. And the funny thing about it – the guy that was there before me, and was the [] when I came in, was SammyShore, who was my first partner. I went in, Al Hirt was the orchestra leader, and I went in. And I never had any material. I mean, I would get on the stage – it’s what, today, what the kids today would call improvising, you know? And I would just, I was working with what happen during the day, and working with Al and things, and talking about New Orleans, the oysters. But that probably was my major thing in my career, was going down to New Orleans. And the town, I – you want to know something? I never really got with New Orleans. I never, never, in depth, really studied New Orleans and it was a magnificent town, a historical town and everything. But I never got into those things. I was playing the horses. I had a guy down there, we’d go to the racetrack instead, so I didn’t get to see it and know that much about the town.

What do you like most about the horseracing?

(Laughs) Oh, what do I like? Well, you something? That’s a sickness. That’s like, that’s like talking about you got cancer and what do you like about cancer? (Laughter) I mean, horseracing – it’s any form of gambling. What they’re doing in this country today, with New York is going get gambling in their places, Chicago is going to get gambling. I mean, besides the Indians. It’s bad enough that the Indians got all over it. I worked for a boss in Connecticut, an Indian, who said to me (imitates American Indian gibberish). Besides telling me what to do, it started to rain after he finished. But I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s disgusting. I think it’s destroying this country with this gambling and everything. I have a sickness and I, I went to, uh, Gamblers Anonymous and found out it was a loan company (laughter).

How do you tailor your acts to an audience?

After so many years and everything that I’ve been in this business, I sort of – I can sense when I walk out. To talk about it, I mean, I can’t say I specifically do this, I specifically do this. I don’t. I have a, a wonderful thing that I, that has been with me – I sing a little bit and I walk out and before I’m even talking to the audience, I sing, you know (sings) Around the world, I’ve searched for you … and I get a feeling about that, and a little applause, and an inspiration. But the audiences have been so good to me and I’ve been in it so long that, generally, the people who come to see me have seen me or know about me. It’s not like a new kid just starting out on the block.

You mentioned that you really weren’t influenced by anybody, that it was mainly your brother, but if you could, who do you think is the best comic?

No, I could never say that. I mean, I work with so many and I knew so many, I could never say who was the best. There are so many different types. I mean, there’s the physical comedian, there’s the monologist, there’s the clownist – I mean, there’s so many different types. I met the George Burnses, the Jack Bennys. Those are the people that I admired because I grew up listening to radio and listening to these people and seeing these people, so it’s – and the Fred Allens – it’s the people that I used to listen to on radio. I mean, you can’t say to a kid – they don’t even know what radio is anymore. But I – and then we had vaudeville and I used to go when I was a kid. I would go in to the theaters, and every comedian they had used to impress me and, and the dancers and – I just liked the whole idea of show business. I love the ballet, I love the opera.

What do you think of Don Rickles?

I love Don Rickles. Don Rickles got very lucky because there was a Shecky Greene in Vegas and because of Shecky Greene, he got lucky and they brought him to Vegas, and that was really the start of his career. But Don and I are very good friends.

I understand that, at one point, Elvis Presley was your opening act.

In 1956. Elvis was my opening act. They – it, it was sort of a mixed bag with that. We had a – the program was Freddy Martin, Elvis Presley, Shecky Greene. Well, when Elvis first – after the first show, they changed the whole line-up in the night. I closed the show. Elvis was just not ready to work that kind of room. He would come out with a baseball jacket on, the scrim would come down behind him and it could have been in a bar, the way he worked. The moods. The two records that had were Blue Suede Shoes and – what was the other one? Blue Suede Shoes and what was as the other big one that he had?

Hound Dog maybe?

Hound Dog. Yeah. But I’ll tell you, he was – he didn’t do that well so he, he sang both of them at the some time. Got off earlier (laughter).

What do you think of the new crop of comedians? Has there been any that have caught your eye?

Paul, I, I don’t know but you say “the new crop.” There’s so many of them that you – I don’t know what’s the new crop, the old crop. I enjoy when I see comedians on television and I see the, the things that they do, I enjoy them all. Anybody that’s got the….guts to get up on stage and do that, I enjoy them. I’m a little – there’s one girl that I really was liking, that Chelsea, but she’s got a little bit of an arrogance about her that I don’t like. She’s very great and very talented but there’s an arrogance that I don’t like.

Chelsea Handler.

Yeah, I guess that’s her name.

The blond.

Yeah.

Yeah. I also wanted to ask you about your worst gig of all time. Can you remember it?

Have you got an hour?

(Laughs) Come on.

Oh, I’ve had so many. Some guy booked me a long time ago, I mean at the beginning, in South Dakota and a Greek owned the club. And there was – the town was dry. They brought their own bottles. And I had to wait for them to build a stage before I could get on it to work. The guy came – the carpenter came and built the stage and then I had to bring in a piano player from Minnesota. And I got on the stage and none of the people in the audience were watching me. So I tapped a guy on the shoulder and I said to him ‘Sir, I’m a physical comedian. You have to turn around.’ He said ‘If you were good you wouldn’t be in this place.’ I said ‘You know, you’re right.’ And I got off the stage, I went to the boss, I gave him $300 and I started to leave but it was snowing. There was such a blizzard outside, I couldn’t get a plane or anything else and I had to stay there. It was one of the worst gigs of my life.

Hmm. Well, what about a best gig?

I – you know what? Truthfully, probably the best thing for me was the lounge in Las Vegas, at the Riviera and the Tropicana, because that was – it’s a true, whatever Shecky Greene is, that was a true Shecky Greene. I can create, I can make up, I may write songs. I did everything, you know, on that stage. Matter of fact, when I had to go back into the big rooms, it really didn’t bother me because I had to have an act and I didn’t have an act as per se, from A to Z, you know. It was, it was kind of nice working in that, that freedom that I had in the lounges.

Maybe you could give the listeners a heads-up. What’s the best place to eat in Las Vegas?

You know what? There’s so many. When I first came there, we had gourmet places and every hotel had a gourmet place, and they were all great. But now when you go to Vegas – we’re not talking about us, I’m talking in the hotels – you’ve got every top restaurant in the country there, and some in the world. So to say which is the best place to eat is ridiculous. There’s so many wonderful, magnificent places. And probably – I should say this. The place where I would probably say is the best place of all for dinner is Michael’s at the South Point. Michael’s is the best food. It used to be the Barbary Coast and when he built the South Point, he took the whole – piece by piece, he took the whole place and built it in the South Point from Barbary Coast.

What do you get there?

You get stone crabs, which you don’t get, rarely you get in other places, you get a Dover sole that’s, that’s about the size of a shark, you get a steak that is second to none, you get – the service is unbelievable the way they take care of you when you go to dinner. As a matter of fact, you don’t even care if you eat. You just, you want to make friends with the people that are serving you.

(Laughs) They should be giving you an endorsement check.

Well, except for one little guy that serves the wine. (Speaks with a Latin accent) ‘I want to tell you something. I am the wine steward and I want to get you some good wine. You want some Ripple? You want some Thunderbird?’ I said ‘A Chateau Lafite Rothschild, ’59.’ He said ‘I want that, too.’ (Laughter) (speaks Spanish gibberish) – that used to be the French sommelier. Now they’re all Mexican kids. (Speaks with a French accent) ‘Monsieur, would you like a bottle of wine? I want to give you something beautiful.’ I mean, you don’t get that anymore. Today it’s (speaks with a Latin accent) ‘I want to tell you something. I came over from Cuba by inner tube.’ (Laughter)

So, how did you meet your wife?

Which wife is that? I’ve had three.

Marie Musso.

(Corrects pronunciation) ‘Moo-so’ Marie Musso is the daughter of Vido Musso and when I was very friendly with Vido Musso, she was a very young girl and I met her then. And I’ve always had eyes for her and I wanted to marry her forty-some years ago but she saw me drinking one night and we broke up. Then she got married, then I got married, and I kept in touch with her. And finally we got, 30 years ago we got married. She is the best. She cooks. She does everything. She knows my act. It’s nice to have, when you walk out on the stage, to have your wife standing next to you, telling you what you forgot (laughter). ‘Here, sing this song. You forgot this song.’ (Laughter)

Is it true or is that – are you serious?

No. But I mean, you know, sometimes she’s offstage and she says ‘Do that! Do that! Do kaka on the moon!’ you know? I do a routine about kaka on the moon that when I was on the Johnny Carson show, they – NBC said they would never have me as long as I did think it was so dirty. Little kids use the word ‘kaka’ you know?

Yeah.

And now, every comic that you hear – I mean, the filth and everything that, that’s on television. I watched Chris Rock the other day who I think is, in between the words, is kind of clever. But I have never heard that much of the word that it just gets to me – that they use in movies, too, now. Every time I go to a movie, if they use it five times before the credits, I get up and leave.

Do you think that sometimes some comedians are using that as like a shortcut? Instead of being clever, they are just …

Well, it’s a shock value. It’s a punctuation of everything. You know, that’s the way Chris Rock uses it. He punctuates. He says – he’ll get on a subject and he punctuates with that word. Every time, he finishes with that word, and then the other word. And I watch this audience laughing and I’m, and I’m really sick. Not that the kid isn’t clever. I’m sick that they’re forcing themselves. I see them forcing themselves to laugh. They think they’re supposed to laugh, you know, when they hear that word. I, I saw this kid – the one that’s got his own talk show. The Scotch kid. What’s his name?

Scotch kid … what’s he look like?

Oh, the guy at night. Umm, Conan?

Let’s see … Conan, Jimmy Kimmel.

No …

Jimmy Fallon, Letterman, Leno.

No. The guy who used to be on the Drew Carey show. (Imitates a Scottish accent) He’s got a very good sense of humor.

Oh, yeah, yeah.

(Still using Scottish accent) And he’s very, very sharp and everything. And I saw him in person and he used the word also. He must have been doing a Chris Rock act, you know what I mean? I could notbelieve what I – (returns to normal voice) what is his name?

Oh yeah. I know who you’re talking about. Darn it!

Fargeson .. Ferguson …

Yes, yes – Ferguson. Craig Ferguson.

What is it?

Craig Ferguson?

Yeah, Craig Ferguson.

That’s it.

(Speaks with Scottish accent) Craig Ferguson is a very talented man but I want to tell you , he can do without the word, too. (Speaks in his normal voice) I just don’t know what it is, that they punctuate – I think they all think they’re doing Lenny Bruce. Lenny did – Lenny wasn’t half as dirty as these guys are today.

Yeah. Hey, have you ever listened to this guy, Louis C.K., by chance?

No.

He’s one that I think is awesome. I think he might be the next – well, he maybe already is (laughs). What do I know?

Louis C.K. …

Yeah. Just “Louis” and then his last name is capital “C” lower-case “k”. I love Louis C.K. Anyways …

What about this kid, Black, is great?

Black? What’s his name?

Oh, I don’t know what his first name is. There are so many of them and I – they’re all good but I get – it’s a terrible thing, at this age, to say, you know, to mention a name and not remember their first name. But he’s very good. Jewish guy that does – with glasses – and a lot of political things. Some of the political satirists – I love this Stewart. I love the other guy …

Oh, Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart and the other guy that follows him …

Yeah.

… with the glasses. Look at this – I know his name backwards and forwards. Maybe I better look backwards. It begins with a “C”.

Colbert! Stephen Colbert.

Colbert. I love him.

Yeah, Stephen Colbert.

Very talented, talented. And see, Bill Maher, to me – I’d like to put Bill Maher on a hook.

Why is that?

Because he’s an arrogant, conceited little (speaks Italian gibberish). (Continues speaking with Italian accent) I make up-a the words for you because no dirty word but it sound dirty the way I say (repeats Italian gibberish). See? Now, somebody would think that that’s dirty. If I’m doing that onstage, see, a lot of people would say ‘Gee, did you hear what he just said in Italian?’ I said nothing!

Hmm. What do you think of Letterman?

I like Letterman very much. I like Letterman very much. Letterman – a lot of these guys should kiss my feet because I’m the one that got MitziShore and The Comedy Club. And that’s where they all started, in The Comedy Club. So, uh, they should have a night for Shecky Greene. There wouldn’t have been any of those kids if theydidn’t have The Comedy Club which she really, that thing really made those kids. The David Lettermans the Robin Williamses – different people like that.

Yeah. I wanted to ask you, what are your recollections of Johnny Carson?

(Laughs) What do you mean?

Oh, I don’t know …

Johnny Carson – it was a wonderful thing to do his show because it was the most popular show out, and we were friends. I can’t say “good” friends because I don’t think Johnny Carson ever had good friends. I don’t remember him being that close to anybody …

Yeah. It seems like there’s …

… including his last 12 wives.

Yeah (laughs). He certainly racked up the wives, that’s for sure. I know that Wayne Newton said that, uh, he, uh, he almost, he almost punched Johnny Carson in the face.

Well, Johnny was always doing jokes and I, I did jokes about Wayne, too. I was – when I was working in Vegas and everything. I mean, you know, that’s the type of humor that we do and sometimes it gets a little vicious. But I did jokes on, on Wayne, and Johnny did them. And, of course, I didn’t do them on television the way Carson – and he went backstage, he waited for Carson and he, he said to him (imitates Wayne Newton’s voice) ‘Danka shoen, and if you ever mention my name again I’m gonna knock you down. (laughter) Danka shoen. I’m gonna danka shoen.’ He finally took some steroids and he, it got heavy with the voice. I think it ruined him, the steroids, because after he hit 375 it was turned into the baseball people.

What is the best thing about being Shecky Greene?

You keep on saying that but I don’t know who Shecky Green is! You want to know what’s funny? I’ve spent 85 years of my life – well, I’m not quite that old – trying to find out why I do this? Why did I do that? Why did I not do this? Why did I marry this girl? Either they had no feeling for her. I mean, I’ve been looking, searching, hunting so if you find any human being – including a psychiatrist – that knows who I am or what I am, please let me know. I’ve gone to psychiatrists who – one guy from Vienna who said (speaks with a Viennese accent) ‘I would like to tell you something. You are brilliant onstage. Why are you not the same person offstage that you are onstage, alright?’ So I went around doing dialects and singing songs offstage, and people used to kick me out of places (laughs). I don’t know, you know? Who is …? The wonderful thing about certain personalities, they get established. The Rickles has a definite personality. You know who Rickles is. George Burns had a definite personality, what he did. You knew who he was. Jack Benny who with the cheap thing and everything, you knew who he was. I mean, generally, most stars in that one dimension that you can remember and everything. Cary Grant (imitates Cary Grant’s voice) ‘My goodness gracious. There she is now. I love her.’ Well, you know when you heard that you knew you were watching – Shecky Greene did, sometimes, too many things. And I found out that with the, like, television you gotta basically be like this kid with the cable man – whatever his name, who I think – every time I see him I, yeah, I run. That’s one guy I run from. I don’t know why. I want to give him a bath all the time, this guy.

But I mean, when I see this kid and everything and (speaks with a southern accent) ‘I want to tell you something.’ – that’s a definite character that you know. And television is one-dimensional. And if you get into that thing and they take with your personality, that’s fine. Then you, then you become a star. I – there was a, a – Sammy Davis. They tried to give him his own show? He couldn’t because “Sammy Davis” did too many things. Sammy Davis sang, Sammy Davis danced, Sammy Davis did impersonations. You didn’t know who Sammy Davis was. It’s the same with, in my case. I danced, I sang. Matter of fact, I did Sammy Davis.

Can you bring out Sammy now?

(Imitates Sammy Davis, Jr. singing) ‘Hey there’ – Sammy Davis sang out of one side of his nose – ‘Hey there, you on your high-flying cloud, love never made a fool of you. You used to be too wise.’ (Laughter) I worked with Sammy and, uh, he sang out of one side of his nose and I sang out of the other side of my nose (laughter). I worked with Buddy Hackett. Buddy Hackett (imitates Buddy Hackett) talked out of the side of his mouth. And people thought it was a telethon they were watching (laughter). See, Buddy Hackett, one dimension. Buddy Hackett had his character, and if he had that character, that’s it.

What about Cosby? What do you think of Cosby?

Well. I like, I like Cosby. I think Cosby is a very, very bright … I think he was the first African-American – you know, I don’t know, sometimes when I say “African-American” they get mad. I shouldn’t say “African-American”. If I say “black”, sometimes, you know, they get mad. I had Lena Horne get mad at me when I said black. She said ‘What color is that?’ I don’t know, but Bill Cosby uses his intellect. Bill Cosby was the first one that came on the scene that played who he was. You know, he didn’t have to play a character. And he’s very bright and he’s very good – and very, very rich. As a mater of fact, if he was around right now I’d borrow some money and go right to the track (laughter). (Sings) ‘Billy, you may think I’m silly but of course I need to bet on a horse.

This is probably another tough question. Could you pick a favorite memory of yours?

Yes. I will pick a memory. My mother was – I took my mother to Florida, my mother, Bessie Greenfield, and my father and my brother and sister-in-law. And they were sitting in the back of the Eden Rock Hotel and I was onstage. And my mother was just going into dementia. My mother walked with – her head was down and everything, and we were really beside ourselves. We didn’t know what to do. ‘Ma, did you want this?’ and we’d try to feed her. We’d try to do this, and it was breaking my heart. So onstage I said about – I told a joke that I’d just made up about being a hooker. I said I was in Dallas, Texas, at the Stony Plaza Hotel, and I called down to the bell desk and I said to the bell captain ‘Can you send me up a hooker?’ He said ‘Mr. Greene, we don’t have a hooker but I’ll send you up a crocheter.’ My mother started laughing in the back. I jumped off the stage – you hear what I’m telling you, Paul?

Yeah.

Jumped.I leapt, leaped, whatever – lupt, licked, lupt – and I ran to the back, grabbed my mother and said ‘Mama, you heard that?’ And I hugged her and was kissing her and everything. And she says to me ‘That was funny.’

(Laughter) That’s awesome.

That will be a memory that will last me the rest of my life.

My last question and it’s kind of two-part. First I was going to ask you, we have listeners all over the place – what would you like to say to them? And then part two, what song would you like us to play at the end?

What song? (Laughs) You know, that’s very, that’s very difficult. I mean, you know, I love music. I’d just like to thank the public for, for all the years I’ve had and the people that I’ve never met that have enjoyed me and some that haven’t. I mean, sometimes you get 50-50 and 50-50 is pretty good. But if I could just touch everyone and say what you’ve done for me because they’ve done, they gave me, they gave a life, that I really didn’t know what kind of life I wanted at the beginning. I certainly didn’t want to be a salesman and, as I said before, I wasn’t equipped to be a doctor or lawyer. But the public gave me a life that was wonderful. And the song that I sing, it goes like – there’s so many songs. (Laughs) There’s (sings) I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. I believe that somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows. I believe for someone – that kind of song, inspiring or the ones they sing at the end of a funeral (laughs) – well, this is not a funeral but (laughter) I love everything. I was just – you know something? Just before I came in the house here, I was listening to Sergio Franchi and I forgot how good he was. Do you remember Sergio Franchi?

I’ve heard him, yes.

Sergio Franchi used to sing opera and he was wonderful (sings bit of Italian opera). I was listening to that. So when you ask me what song, I really don’t know. I think the Star Spangled Banner if we do it right! We don’t have to have Roseanne to sing it, Robert Goulet sing it. Poor Robert Goulet almost ruined a career with that. You were too young to remember that.

What year was that?

That was at the Sonny Liston fight in Maine, at Lewistown, Maine, and he got up and he sang (sings ala Robert Goulet) ‘Oh, oh say … oh, oh, say … If ever I should leave you, it wouldn’t be by the dawn’s early light. No, not by the dawn’s early light are the candles’ red glare. On a clear day …’ and he career was almost over.

(Laughs) Oh. Well, we’ll pick something.

Pick something, yeah.

And Mr. Greene …

Well, after talking to me, what song do you think I would like?

Hmm. What song do I think perfectly encapsulates the Shecky Greene experience?

Yes.

Oooh, that’s a good question.

Well, I’ll tell you, with this conversation and I can hear an echo. Maybe we should do Little Sir Echo. (Sings) Little Sir Echo, how do you do? Hello. Maybe that’s the one we should do.

I was thinking maybe – Harold Arlen composed – Forget your troubles. Come on, get happy.

No.

No? Veto on that.

I like a down song (sings) Smile though your heart is breaking. That was written by Charlie Chaplin – people don’t know that – in Limelight.

Really?

Yeah.

So you’re more attracted to a down song.

Yeah. That’s how, I’m a down, that’s – my whole life is a down. I walk around and I tell you I don’t recognize people by their face, just by their shoes. I walk around like that. Hello Mr. Blue Shoes! I remember you (laughter). We met in New York one time.

I’m kind of am the same way. I like, I like the sad kind of dreary songs.

Songs that bring a tear to your eye.

Yeah. They resonate with me more than anything.

Well, it’s like all the Irish songs are that way – (sings with Irish accent) I was there in a pub and I drinking my booze. What did I did? I remember I lose. I lost at the track that day and my wife then came and took me away – those sad songs. (Speaks with Irish accent) I’m telling you the truth. That’s the way that life is, Paul! (Laughs) See, this is what I do. And that’s why I never did, in 60 years of doing the TV and movies and such, they never used me for that. They always had some little director ‘Listen, do you mind, Mr. Greene? Do not do the dialect. Just do it straight.’ (Laughs) But they let Robin Williams do the dialects. Very clever boy.

Mr. Greene, again, I appreciate this interview very much. It’s been a great pleasure. It’s been very entertaining.

Well, thank you Paul. If you ever get any money, send me a couple of bucks.

Okay.

Alright?

I’m always looking for a couple of bucks myself.

(Laughs) Then let’s get four bucks. I’ll tell you how bad I went – I bet on LSU. That’s how bad I went. I went to bet – for a month I was going to bet on Alabama. I bet on LSU, so you know how bad I go.

Aw, man.

LSU shouldn’t have been on the same field with that team.

They definitely got their clock cleaned.

It’s going to be the Saints and Green Bay. Remember that.

Oh yeah? Do you have a favorite?

No, but I’m going to tell you that the Super Bowl is the Saints and Green Bay.

Are you planning on putting any money on it?

(Speaks with an Irish accent) Oh, when it comes, lad, you’d be surprised! I’ll get a few bob up there. I cannot, can’t not hesitate making a bet on that. (In normal voice) That’s what you lived for in those days, you know, in our days when you gambled. You lived for the Super Bowl. You lived for, whatever – the BCS – whatever that was.

Yes. The BCS Championship.

Yeah. But I actually bet on LSU. Not much, but I bet on LSU.

Those are the breaks.

Unbelievable what’s happening.

Let me know if you’re ever in Atlanta.

Well, you’d be surprised, Paul. I’ve got some friends down there and I’ve been, a for a long time we’ve been trying to make a trip down there – but I may do it.

Okay!

Say hello to everybody in Atlanta and tell everybody I love them.

Alright. Have a good one, Shecky.

So long, Paul.

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA

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