The Paul Leslie Hour Episode #29 – Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman is an entertainer who focuses on sleight of hand card magic. He’s also had an incredible career as a stand up comic and actor. He’s acted in such television shows as The Dukes of HazzardNight Court and Baywatch. Jeff Altman has been a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as well as more than 40 appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman. In fact, David Letterman called him the funniest person he knows. Esquire magazine called him a “comic genius.” He’s influenced Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Judd Apatow and others. It’s all here on a magical episode of The Paul Leslie Hour!

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The Paul Leslie Hour Episode #7 – Bill Scheft

I first became completely aware of Bill Scheft’s humor and way of speaking by watching him one night on The Late Show with David Letterman.  Bill Scheft was a joke writer on Letterman from 1991 until Dave’s retirement in 2015.  He was talking with Dave about his book Shrink Thyself and I could relate to his talking about therapy.  He struck me as someone who was aware of how people think and behave and the seed was planted that maybe one day I could interview him.

It didn’t happen while Letterman still had his late night talk show, but everything happens that should, when it is supposed to. The things he talked about at the end resonated deeply with me and I’m glad that I remembered verbatim much of he said. It’s gotten me out of trouble a few times and soothed my soul on a few nights that my thoughts weren’t kind and certainly not conducive to sleeping.   The Bill Scheft interview wasn’t what I expected, but it’s one I will never forget.  Thank you, sir.

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Visit Bill Scheft online, like him on Facebook and Follow him on Twitter.


Tom Dreesen: Stand-Up Comedian

Tom Dreesen is a man who has found the recipe for good health and happiness.  His prescription is that you do it 10 times a day.  He wants you to laugh.  

Like the song popularized by his friend the late Frank Sinatra, Tom Dreesen “took a few blows,” but he definitely “lived a life that’s full.”   
In this interview Tom shares his story with us, and it is an inspiring one.  

Sinatra called himself “a saloon singer” and his friend Tom Dreesen “a saloon comedian.”  Dreesen has made over 500 national television appearances, including many on The Late Show with David Letterman.  A friend of Dave’s, Tom Dreesen has even hosted the show in Dave’s absence.  A stand-up comedian, emcee, motivational speaker, and sometimes actor, he still considers himself a neighborhood guy.  


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. 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?


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?


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 …


… 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?


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?


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? 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.



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.



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.


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

Alright. Have a good one, Shecky.

So long, Paul.


Buddy Morra: Former Talent Manager for Billy Crystal, David Letterman, Robin Williams, etc.

Buddy Morra is a retired talent manager who worked for the prestigious management firm Rollins & Joffe.  Through the years he represented great talent like comedians David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli.  Needless to say, he’s got a lot of stories to tell.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure we welcome our special guest, Buddy Morra. Thank you so much for joining us.

It’s a pleasure to be here, Paul. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, but I’m here (laughs).

I think most stories are best from the beginning. What was life like growing up?

Growing up? It  was kind of nice. It was like a lower-middle or middle class family. We lived in the Bronx. My father had some fruit and vegetable stores. He also had a pushcart for a while. He had a truck for a while. And we always managed to eat and we always managed to have food so we were OK. It was kind of a nice, sweet growing up. I’m glad I grew up that way, actually.

Can you remember early on what you wanted to do as an occupation?

Yes. I wanted to be a singer.

And did you ever pursue it?

Yes I did. It wasn’t terribly good (laughs) and at some point I realized, after a couple of years of having a good time running around and sleeping late that, you know, I had nothing special to offer. And my oldest friend at the time was a comedian, asked me if I’d be interested in working for the guy that represented him. He said he had a, he was doing okay, he could afford not very much money but I had the job if I wanted it. So I went to work for this guy for thirty bucks a week – cash.

The all-important cash!

(Laughs) Very important!

What city was this in?

In New York City. In 1957. I had been on my own until then, yeah. I had my own office for a while after I decided to give up singing and was just scraping by, at best. And then this offer came along and I took it. So I went from thirty bucks a week to forty bucks a week. Then I went to fifty bucks a week and then he put me on a percentage. But he was much smarter than I was because the percentage turned out to be the same fifty bucks a week (laughs).

Early on, the business side of the entertainment business – was it something you enjoyed?

Oh, I always loved it, yeah. I always loved it. Even as a young man I would just – I would read all the gossip columns. In those days we had, like, I think five or six newspapers in New York. I used to read all those columns about what was going on in Hollywood, what was going on on Broadway. I was very interested in that, so yes.

Tell us about how you started to specialize in comedians.

Well, I had my own office, oh, for four years or so, something like that, and then I had the opportunity to join Rollins and Joffe. They offered me a job, which was, at that time, the most prestigious management company in the industry. They handled Woody Allen, Dick Cavett – lots of really interesting people. It was an incredible organization and I went to work for them, and that changed my whole life. They managed a lot of people but mostly comedians. They were very successful with that. So I just kind of fell into that.

What are your memories of them, personally? Jack Rollins and Charles Joffe?

Jack Rollins, who I recently saw about a month or two back – I was in New York visiting my grandkids and I went to see him at the hospital. He had not been well. He had been in the hospital for a while and we talked for a while. He was kind of semi-awake, in and out, and I said ‘Jack, I just want you to know that you changed my life.’ and he said to me (laughs) ‘A lot of people have told me that.’ And he did! And he did change my life. I went from the bottom rung of show business – wherever that was, it’s way the hell down – to the top rung in one leap, and learned an awful lot from them.

You said that they were at the top. What was it about Charles Joffe and Jack Rollins the made that management company what it was?

Without question, it was the most prestigious management company in the industry. Everybody wanted to be with that company. We never had a contract with anybody, which is unusual, then and even now. It was just a handshake and we went to work. That was it.

Why do you think they were so successful? Why do you think they were so prestigious?

(Sighs) They were smart. They were intelligent – Jack Rollins was a very smart man. An intellectual, if you will. Read a lot. Could read a Woody Allen script and just be so precise about what was wrong and what was right about it that the first time, or any time that Woody Allen wrote a script the first person that would read it would be Jack Rollins. It was also that, and the manner that they worked in – no contracts with anybody. It was a very loose relationship with the clients and a very good one – and very honest, by the way. The company policy was – there was a little embroidery that was made by somebody that was hanging in the office that said ‘Don’t embarrass the office!’

(Laughs) That’s pretty good advice.

I had one made when I was living in LA and I misspelled it deliberately, thinking it would be funny but nobody ever caught on to it (laughs).

Did you have any personal involvement with Woody Allen during those years?

No. Outside of just knowing him, not terribly well but knowing him.  I found him to be a very, very nice man. My son, who was then a kid at the time, I don’t know, ten – nine, ten or whatever – was diving into magic and, uh, Woody had – and Woody was a very good slight of hand magician, by the way – and my son would come to the office every once in a while. And Woody would take him into the little conference room and he’d sit on the floor and do magic tricks for him. But no, I did not have any relationship with him in terms of business.

What about your move out to California– when did that happen?

About 36 years ago, 37 years ago.

Was the business in California different than New York?

I never found it to be different. I mean, people used to say that. I don’t know if they meant it as a joke – ‘Oh, it’s California …’ it’s not different. I’m dealing with the same people out here that I used to deal with in New York. Now I was much more face-to-face with them than I was on the phone, like I was in New York. But I found the business to be the exactly same. But probably a little less honest, maybe, out here than in New York, but the same, essentially.

What about working with Billy Crystal?

That was a joy. That was a joy. Yeah, I got a call one day from this guy – gosh, I wish I could remember his name – who was the manager of Sha Na Na. He called me from Buddah records and we had met a few times before. We didn’t really know each other terribly well and he said ‘Listen, there’s this very funny group, three guys, here that are just hysterically funny. You should come down and see them. They’re at the Buddah, the offices. So I went down – it was about three of four blocks from my office – I went down and I saw them. And I saw the group. I started to work with the group and, oh I don’t know, maybe for or five months later, I broke up the group and just started to work with Billy, who we thought had the most to offer at that point. My wife said to me ‘Why are you working with him? You should work with the others guys. They’re funnier.’ (Laughs) It’s the last time – thank goodness, I didn’t listen to her. I haven’t listened to her since (laughs).

What is Billy Crystal like to work with?

I found Billy to be a terrific guy. He’s one of my favorite people, one of my favorite clients. He’s a very smart young man, by the way. He knows a lot of things. I found him to be very pleasant, no problems. Did we ever have an argument? – we may have had one argument in 30 years or whatever, when we disagreed. But that was very rare.

What happens when a manager disagrees with a client?

The client usually wins. Well, unfortunately, what happens is – see, with our company, which was interesting, is that we never took a client except when they were just first starting out, they were brand new. We never took established clients. Not that it wasn’t possible to take one – we didn’t turn down established clients – but we liked working with someone who was brand new. Why? It was much more interesting. It was much more adventurous for us if we could, if we had a plan for them and that plan came to fruition after whatever – six months or a year later, you know, which is what the plan was, so they could essentially call their own shots at a certain point. And so when that happens, the relationship kind of changes, by the way. In the beginning, the client who is brand new relies on you totally. You are their god for a moment and, hopefully, you make the right decisions. Most of the time we did. Sometimes we didn’t, but most of the time we did. And once they get to a position of importance and becoming a much more important client and personality, the relationship kind of changes a little bit where you can’t just respond or act with them the way you did when they were first starting out. They won’t accept it, it’s not right, and you have to change with the times which took a little while to do, but we did.

When you think of all the clients that you had through the years, is it possible to pick a favorite?

Yeah. I would say probably John Pizzarelli.

What made him your favorite?

He seemed to have no ego. Now, we all have egos – some of them, the egos don’t come out. He was just a very easy guy to be with. He listened. You could say things, he listened. Sometimes he went along with what you said, sometimes he didn’t, but he listened. And it was just a joy to be with him. And he appreciated – he greatly appreciated what we tried to do for him and I think that made a big difference. And I still to this day, although I’ve been retired 14 years, I talk to John probably once a week, once every ten days.

What about the very first time you heard a young David Letterman performing?

Well, the first time I saw David Letterman was at the Comedy Store in Westwood, which doesn’t exist any longer. I was with one of my partners and one or two other people, and had never seen or heard of David Letterman but I knew when he came out and he started to talk – because he was never a very good stand-up comedian, but there was something special about him. I even said to my partner ‘This is the next Johnny Carson.’ And I went back to talk to him, but the guy who was running the back, the manager said ‘You know he has a manager.’ And I said ‘Oh, then I’m not going to go back.’ and I didn’t talk to him. But then a few months later, I was at NBC for some reason and he was doing a, hosting a game show – a pilot for a game show – in the next studio so I went over and spoke with him.

Letterman is very much a legend. When you think about him in those days and you see him now, is it hard to believe?

Not really. I always thought that he could do what he’s doing. I always thought so. And we got started with him and things just moved really quickly. I think one of the leading factors was that as we started to make a little noise out here, The Tonight Show called. And The Tonight Show, at that point, when they had comedians on the show it was kind of a policy that you never sat down with Carson until you’ve done three shots on that show as a stand-up. And I kept turning down the show because I knew Letterman’s stand-up was not that great but he’d be great sitting down with Carson because they had a lot of the same things in common. And I must have turned it down half a dozen times. And then finally they said to me one day ‘OK, he can sit down.’ then we took the show.

Wow. What makes a good manager a good manager?

(Laughs) Good question! Well, honesty for one, I think is very important, you know? I mean, you have to be honest with your clients and sometimes it’s not as easy as it may sound, you know? If you have critiques about a particular client, hopefully you’re right, well you try to explain that to the client – hmmm, you’re dealing with egos now and actors are very fragile, so it has to be presented in an interesting way where you’re not offending their ego but, at the same time, making your point. And sometimes it’s not easy to do, but you find a way – sometimes.

What’s the best thing about being Buddy Morra?

(Laughs) That’s a good question! You’ll have to ask my wife that, I think (laughs). We’re about to celebrate 50 years.

Wow. Congratulations!

Thank you. Early May we celebrate, yeah, end of May, yeah. It’s been an incredible ride. I mean, my – she is amazing. That’s all I can tell you. I don’t know where I’d be without her, quite honestly. I once said to her, not too long ago, I said ‘Why did you want to marry me?’ She said ‘I just had a feeling you were the right guy and you would do well,’ when I first met her (Laughs) I was making, like, twenty bucks a week or something like that on my own (laughs)! Yeah, I mean I couldn’t pay the rent, really.

So she saw a spark.

I hope so! (Laughs) Unless she was lying – I don’t know (laughs)!

What do you want to say to anyone who is listening to this interview?

Gee whiz. Well, if you’re going out to see live talent, do listen to them. Don’t make noise. Don’t slurp your soup. Otherwise, don’t go to the club. Stay home and listen to the radio or something. I mean, pay attention to these people. They work real hard. It’s important for them to get your acknowledgement and your applause, assuming you like them. If you don’t like them, then don’t applaud. But otherwise, be kind, be attentive, pay attention. You’ll learn a lot more that way. And I think, also, you get to be a bit more discriminating that way. If you see enough talent after a while, you can be a little more discriminating in your taste. Because everybody has talent. It’s just that what kind of talent is it and does it rise to where the general public can love it and like it and understand it?

Mr. Morra, it’s been a pleasure to do this interview.

My pleasure, Paul. Sorry I didn’t get you earlier but my daughter is back east, in Harrison, New York and there’s floods and things. I couldn’t get through for the longest time. I finally got through so we got a little time on the phone.

I appreciate it very much. It’s been a joy.



Eddie Brill: Comedian

EDDIE BRILL is a comedian, but as you can tell from this interview…he is a man with a lot of stories to tell.  He seems to be a busy man.  Just look at his resume!  In addition to being a comedian, he is also the warm-up comic on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Eddie Brill not only performs his brand of stand-up comedy regularly throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, but also has performed in Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, France, Holland and Hong Kong.

In this interview Eddie Brill talked about not only his comedy, but also his appreciation for the talent of others.  He also talked about his work with Reader’s Digest and appearing as a cartoon on the acclaimed show Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist.

Enjoy this in-depth interview!  We would love to one day interview Eddie Brill in person.

We think you will agree with us that Eddie Brill is a comic of and for the people…

It is our pleasure to welcome comedian and actor, Eddie Brill. Eddie Brill is a worldwide comic. He is also the warm-up comedian and talent coordinator for The Late Show with David Letterman. Thanks so much for doing this.

Oh, it’s my pleasure Paul. I got an email from you that said you had talked to my pal, Alan Kalter, and now, uh, you know, I’m sure if it’s good for Kalter, I’d be more than happy to be on the show.

 (Laughs) Well, I think most stories are best from the beginning so tell us a little bit about where you came from.
I’m originally from New York and I had lived there as a kid ‘til I was just about 12 and then moved to Hollywood, Florida which is the other end of the spectrum, you know, from Brooklyn, New York. I went to junior high school and high school there and it was pretty nice. And, uh, I never thought I’d do any comedy. I always loved comedy and I loved George Carlin – he’s my hero – and Richard Pryor and all the comedians I would listen to on albums. Uh, and I was, you know, all ready to maybe go into college to go for maybe math or science. But my stepfather, who was very young and very close to us, died very young and I just changed my whole life and decided, you know what, I was going to do things that were really fun in life because you didn’t know how quick it could be over. So, I changed my sort of dream to go into maybe broadcast journalism and I went to a college in Boston for that, Emerson College. And then all these, uh, very funny people at the beginning of school, we formed a comedy group and it was the first foray I ever had in comedy. And it was a lot of very successful people and, uh, very successful people now. And a lot of people who were involved both, on both sides of the industry, you know, people like the president of Comedy Central and then, you know like, Denis Leary and, you know, a mixture of a lot of different kinds of people. But one of our best friends was Steven Wright and he was doing stand-up. So we would go watch him and it sounded fun so we started doing a little stand-up. Um, I did it for a little bit during college and then when I graduated I moved back to New York and said ‘You know what? You need a real job.’ And I went, I quit comedy and did some advertising writing. And I realized I was lying for a living and not making that much money. And I went back into comedy so I could tell the truth for a living and, uh, have a much better career.

I’ve never heard it put that way, ‘telling the truth for a living.’

Yeah. Since 1984 so, in a row, I’ve done it for 25 years.

Wow. Now, what do you think it is about comedy that attracts you?

Um, well, it’s just you know, pfff, it’s just so alluring. It’s, there’s no, you know, the feeling of, the cathartic feeling of laughing is just so wonderful. And when you make other people laugh there’s no better feeling. It’s really is, you know just, pfff – I mean, I’m giving you sounds effects. There’s no words really to describe the feeling. And to be able to, to make people laugh is just very, very fulfilling. And once you get a laugh, it’s like a drug. You chase that laugh for the rest of your life.

You mentioned just a moment ago George Carlin.


Now, who would you say is your all-time biggest influence?

It would be George Carlin.

And what about, what about him do you think, makes him so?

Um it was just that, you know, the way he thought, the way he just told the truth and was silly. He was smart and silly and that was attractive to me, and a lot of things I heard him say were sort of echoing the way I thought. So I couldn’t get enough of, you know, somebody who was making people laugh, thinking the way I was thinking. And, eventually, that’s the path I took. And the beautiful story, part of the story, is that we ended up becoming close and, uh, respecting – he respected what I did which was, you know – now I can die (laughs). I got my hero to respect my work and it was a really wonderful thing. He taught me a lot and he was really just a wonderful man. And anybody who’s ever met him would say the same story. Butit’s not like it was just me – he was good to a lot of people, a lot of people.

What about the comedians that are, are active today, like the young guns? Who out there do you have to give the respect to?

Well, Chris Rock I would think is the best comic of our generation. Dave Chappelle, um, you know he’s not been around as much in the public side but still out there at the comedy clubs. He’s pretty damn terrific. Uh, you know, there’s Jim Gaffigan, uh, Brian Regan, and Jake Johannsen who are sort of really smart, funny network guys. And then there’s the people like Norm MacDonald and Nick DiPaolo and Colin Quinn and Nick Griffin, who may be a little darker but, uh, still hilarious and smart and great. And I’m sure there’s a million people I’m leaving out. Lewis Black is very funny. And you know, there’s a, there’s a good group of really great stand-up comics. And young kids like Joe Wong and Tommy Johnagin, who are, you know, coming up through the ranks, are – as young guns who are, you know … Bill Burr who’s a phenomenal comedian, Greg Giraldo, Louis C.K. You know, there are so many great comics out there really doing smart, great stuff.

Well, tell us a little bit about this comedy club that you had in New York City called The Paper Moon.

Well, what happened was is, I wasn’t really thinking of getting back into stand-up. I was working with the group in college and you know, because it was so successful, the people we went to college with respected what we did. So there was a gentleman who worked at this restaurant and heard that they wanted a comedy night downstairs in this cabaret room. And he called me because he knew – you know, the connection of going to school with these people – Joe Mauricio, and we started comedy at The Paper Moon in 1984. And all of a sudden, I was hosting the shows just to, you know, take care of the shows. And I was paying these comedians out of my pocket with my day job just so we could get really good comedians in there. And, uh, it just became a comic’s club for a bunch of really great comedians from all over the country – could come into the city and work out. And it was very widely popular – ‘widely popular’? I don’t know if those are even two things that go together (laughs) – it was wildly good and very popular. And, uh, it was very successful and I did that for a while. Unfortunately, there was a – the drinking age went up from 18 to 21 and that was a real NYU kind of a place. It was called The Paper Moon. And Adam Sandler was going to NYU at the time and he would come and work out there. And Colin Quinn would work out there, and Susie Essman and Mario Cantone and Paula Poundstone and Bob Goldthwait, and all of these different folks from all over, you know, from that era. Dennis Miller would come by and work out material for Saturday Night Live at the club. So it was a pretty phenomenal place. That lasted for a while but, as a comic, I started having some success and I didn’t want to be tied down to this club because I wanted to now get out there and do some good things for myself.

Something that I thought was really interesting was, uh, your work with Reader’s Digest.

Yeah, you know, that happened by accident. They, um, because of the connection with the Letterman show oftentimes I’m asked to judge competitions which is ironic because, you know, you can’t really judge comedians. … really said it best when he says ‘I’ll give you two famous painters. Tell me who is the better one.’ But you can’t. It’s art. It’s subjective. But oddly enough, I was asked to judge this joke competition for Reader’s Digest. The host got sick or hurt – I think it was hurt – and I was forced then to be the host of the show. I worked with them, um, I, it was a thing for Reader’s Digest and, um – all of a sudden their name slips my mind. I work with them all the time! You’ll help me with this one, it’s uh, Marlo Thomas’s charity – St. Jude’s. I got it. Yes, it was St. Jude’s. I was able to figure it out myself (laughs). And I work with them a lot. I love what they do. So you know, it worked out really great and I got very close with these organizations – so much that I remember their names … uh, after prodding. But um, then I, you know, got involved, you know? And they said ‘We like what you do. Would you help us put together some more shows and be a consultant for us?’ And then they had me come in and work on their web site and read some of the jokes that came in and it’s – I’ve just had a very, very nice relationship with them. They’ve, you know, quoted me a lot and they’ve also printed some of the things that I’ve written as well.

There’s was a TV show that you did a guest spot on. I’ve always felt like this was one of the funniest TV shows on television and I tell people the name of the show – and a lot of times people seem to have forgotten it already – but that was Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.

Oh god, yeah. That was really terrific. You know, as a little boy I was a cartoon guy and I loved cartoons and in my era, you know, I was a cartoon nut I guess. I don’t know, I’m sure people are that way now, maybe even with animé or whatever, but growing up I just loved all of the cartoons. And to be able to be in a cartoon was one fantastic thing but for them to make a cartoon of you and your voice it’s, you know, like a dream come true – like a little boy’s dream come true. And I did Dr. Katz and it got really great response. And I actually did a second one. Um, I was there recording the same day with a few other comedians who were getting ready for their next season, I think their third season, and the show didn’t get picked up so none of those shows went out. It would have been nice to do another one. It would have been really fun.

Another TV show that you’re currently associate with – The Late Show with David Letterman.

That’s right.
Tell us about how you became associated with Dave.
Well, you know, in this business, it’s really who you know. You know, you have to deliver once you get to place with who you know but Louis C.K. and Bill Scheft, a couple of guys who worked at the show, uh, I think Jeff Stilton who was there at the time as well, I think – and they had recommended me. They were looking for a warm-up and I had done some warm-up over the years. You know, nothing really major but just here and there and there. You know, I actually – Dana Carvey Show, I actually worked on Saved By The Bell for a very short time in it’s infancy and when I was out in L.A. So I’d done a few things. Well, they said they’re looking for a warm-up and I figured OK, I’ll give it a shot. They gave me a six-week trial period and in February of 2010 it’ll be now 13 years. And during the time I was there I got to, you know, get to know Dave and get to know the staff and the people there. And eventually I got moved up, in 2001, to be the stand-up comedy booker on the show which is a huge thrill. You know, nobody really in this industry has ever done that position and is also a stand-up comic. So, you know, because I am a stand-up and it was my dream to do the show, I know what it’s like for other comedians who want to do the show. And I think I’m equipped in a way that I can really help comedians out in a very good way, and treat them the way I would have wanted to be treated if I was, you know, dealing with a booker. And sometimes I’m very good at it and sometimes I’m not always great at it but I give it my best shot and try to be as approachable and as honest as you can be, as one can be in that position.

Tell us a little bit, a little bit more about what that job entails as talent coordinator. Do you listen to, like, tapes of comedians or how does that work?

Um, there are many, many ways. One of them is listening to DVDs or VHS tapes of comedians – and I get hundreds and hundreds in a very short period of time – and I have to tackle them all the time. And it works against me as a comedian a little bit because I hear so much comedy. You know, for me to be able do my own style, I have to really compartmentalize and just think do I think – and actually, my comedy has gotten better because I’m really just doing stuff that’s from my perspective. But back to the question, I do look at a bunch of stuff and I also, um, people will send me their links online. Then you know, as a comedian, I travel around the world doing shows in different places and in many of these places they’ll set up showcases for me to look at the local comics and that really is helpful. Plus, other comics will say ‘Hey Eddie” – people I respect, comics I respect will say ‘Hey Eddie, there’s, uh, a comedienne I worked with and she was great and, you know, you should look at her to put her on the show.’ Or this other person, a manager will call me and say ‘I don’t manage this guy but I saw him in a club and he’s so right for the show.’ So, you know, everyone knows everybody in the business, kind of, or, you know, and we keep each other informed so that the right people get into the right position.

And what exactly are you looking for? I mean, other than a funny person.

(Laughs) Yeah, that’s a big one! You know, laughter is good for a comedian. That’s probably number one. And, um, but no, really, honestly it’s about – we’re looking for the real artist, the real one-of-a-kinds. You know, the ‘Ray Charles’ of comedy. The soulful comics. You know, the people who really have, artists – you know, you know that there’s no other comics like that in the world. And there are, there are a smaller percentage of those kind of comedians You know – the Pryors, the Carlins, the Cosbys – those kind of guys. The Seinfelds, you know, through history the Ray Romanos, and you know, of course I’ve skipped ten thousand billion brilliant comics. The one-of-a-kinds. The ones that you remember, not because they’re famous but because they’re really great comedians. And that’s who we put on the show. We look for that. We look for that spark, that one-of-a-kind-ness you know that. But it’s gotta be smart and it’s gotta be silly. It’s gotta be a combination like that. It’s, uh, a nice you know, and – it’s not the same ‘style’ we’re looking for. We’re looking for the same kind of uniqueness and most of the time we get it right.

What do you think about David Letterman’s comedic delivery?

Oh, he’s you know, I mean, he’s just one – you know, I would consider him one of the best ever at what he does. And, you know, he’s really who he is and there’s that one-of-a-kind guy who just, you know, stood out from everybody else during that time, and he’s only gotten better and better. And you know, the only way to ever get better is to go out there and do it. Well, he’s done over 5,000 shows, you know, in late night television and in the morning. Altogether, you know, that’s a, that’s a nice little catalog of work so he’s really good at what he does, you know? He’s brilliant. And he’s a great interviewer as well and he’s a very compassionate man, and it’s, uh, you know, silly and fun and it all comes across, I believe. You know, in this business all the comedians, the real pure comedians, respect Dave the most. Not that they disrespect anybody else. I mean, there are some incredible people out there that are doing the same thing but Dave is the guy everyone looks up to. I mean, even Conan O’Brien has said it out loud ‘He is the man. He is my hero.’ And that’s what they do. And, of course, all of us including Dave’s hero, was Johnny Carson. You know, and all of those guys – the Johnny Carsons – they looked up to the Jack Paars and the Steve Allens and the Ernie Kovacs’s (laughs). And you know, it all goes – it’s generational, from one to the next. Dave is the guy of this era.

Our special guest is Eddie Brill, the warm-up comedian for The Late Show with David Letterman. I was hoping you could tell us, through your association with The Late Show, do you have a favorite memory?

You know, there are so many. There’s some of the biggest thrills of my life. I mean, again, I feel like a little boy going, you know ‘and then I got fire truck and then I got a toy boat.’ (laughs) You know, I got to meet Sophia Loren. When I was a kid, you know in my era – I’m 51 – all of the kids had Farrah Fawcett posters. I had Sophia Loren. Not … I didn’t ‘have’ her, but in my mind I did (laughter)– you know but every night I was there falling asleep with that poster. But, um, I got to meet her and be, you know, I was charmed by her. And I got to sit at the piano with Burt Bacharach and chat with him. And I got to, you know, hang out with George Carlin or Elvis Costello or talk – you know, I mean it’s, again it’s ‘I got a big truck!’ (laughs) and that’s just what I feel like – that kind of a guy. And I got to hang out with the President and I got to talk to Paul McCartney and it’s just, I mean it’s just too much fun. It’s too great and I’m just, I’m just very, very blessed.

What’s the best thing about being Eddie Brill?

(Laughs) That’s a weird, interesting question because if I thought … ‘Oh, what do I want to say about me?’ I don’t know. I mean, I’m not ashamed to say good things about myself. I know I’m very passionate about what I do. I’m a workaholic. I do so many different kinds of things. I’m involved with a lot of things. Like, I’m very involved with this comedy festival called The Great American Comedy Festival in Nebraska, in Johnny Carson’s hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska. I’m involved in both sides of the business – in front of the camera and behind the camera. You know, so that’s a big part of who I am. And I guess, I’m, you know I grew up with very, very humble beginnings and I appreciate the really cool things that have happened for me. And it’s all happened for me because I worked my tail off because I love what I do. So it’s, you know, I don’t know. I’m proud of my life. I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out, you know? Any mistakes I made along the way I don’t regret. You know, I just have to move on and learn from them and, you know, try to get better and better. And you know, I just have to make sure that I’m always true to my, you know, values and beliefs. And as long as I can do that, and get the respect and integrity of my friends, um, and peers then I’m doing OK. So those are the good things, you know. It’s a hard question to answer – but I just talked about it for an hour, I guess.

Well I have two final questions. I asked Alan Kalter this one. New York City has absolutely some of the best places you can eat.

Where do you like to eat in New York City and what do you get when you go there?
Well you know, there again, it’s like, you know ‘do you have two hours?’ We could do a whole show on this, you know. But there’s a place in the East Village that no one knows about – maybe now everyone will know, hopefully – called Café Orlin. And it’s open 24 hours on the weekend and during the week it’s open ‘til midnight, and they have breakfast ‘til 4, and it’s the most nondescript place. You gotta really find the name, which is on a glass window – it’s very hard to find. But it’s a little place that’s so humble and so unique, and the food is fantastic. There’s not one thing on the menu that’s not terrific. And it’s hardwood floors and exposed brick and always great music playing in the background and it’s very, very delicious and it’s great. But famous places that are great – I love Mesa Grill, the Bobby Flay restaurant. I did his show – you know, we didn’t get paid in cash but we got paid in a much nicer way (laughs). We got paid with dinner for two at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and I’ve been going there ever since. Southwestern food, really great. And also, I love the Red Eye Grill which is almost in a very touristy part of town but they have some of the best seafood in New York. And there’s so many great – like I said, we can go for hours, you know? But if a tourist comes to New York City, they should ask other New Yorkers which restaurants to go to, not read out of the books and go to the tourist places because most of the tourist places are mediocre, you know, run-of-the-mill. In fact, in Times Square in New York where all the tourists are, there are no original restaurants with, you know, any flair or one-of-a-kind-ness or a uniqueness that is really New York. It’s more like Disneyworld there where there’s, you know, all these famous chain restaurants, selling processed food that, you know, all frozen stuff that comes off a truck. You know, probably every restaurant in Times Square gets the same delivery and they just put a different name on it, you know? That’s not what New York is about. If you’re gonna eat in New York, stay away from Times Square. You know, if you want to see New York, stay away – if you really want to see what New York is – stay away from Times Square (laughs).

Wow. Well, my final question for Eddie Brill. This broadcast goes out all over the world so what would you like to say to all the people who are listening in?

Hmm, OK, uh, you know – hmm. I would just say do not take life very seriously, it’s very short. And, you know, you should take risks in this world because if you do you’re going either go really high or you’re going to go really low. And you know what? If you go up and down and up and down – if you look at it like a graph, like an EKG machine – that means you’re alive. But if you don’t live life and you just take the safe way out all through the rest of your life, you might as well be dead ‘cause you’re just flat-lining, you know? So that’s my one message – to live life. And also, don’t care what it looks like when you, when you make a mistake or don’t care how it looks when you fall because, in reality, at least you’re in the game. You’re not on the sidelines pointing and judging other people. You’re in there giving it a shot. And that, I guess that would be sort of the biggest philosophy I live my life by.

Very well put. Thank you so much, Mr. Brill. It’s been a pleasure to speak to you.

It’s my pleasure Paul and good luck to you, Have a wonderful holiday.

You too. Godspeed.


Jackie Martling: Comedian

Jackie Martling is a comedian who got his start with music.  He was a legendary cast member on The Howard Stern Show.  In this interview, the humorous Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling discusses several things including his record album “Happy Endings” as well as the highlights from his time on Howard Stern’s radio program.
Sometimes Martling’s sense of humor can be suggestive, if you don’t have a sense of humor you may want to skip this one.  If you do have a sense of humor, enjoy!

Adam Carolla: Broadcast Personality, Comedian, Actor

ADAM CAROLLA had just written his book In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks when we did this interview.  We were invited to see him perform his comedy at the Tabernacle in Atlanta and unfortunately somebody forgot to put us on the list.
The door guy told us to take a hike.

We hope we get to see him soon, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy his unique perspective in this interview.

What was the most surprising thing in Adam Carolla’s interview?

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s our pleasure to welcome our special guest, Adam Carolla.  He’s going to be appearing at the Tabernacle here in Atlanta on September 30th.  First of all, thanks so much for joining us.
Thanks for having me, Paul. 

You left radio for the podcast format.  What do you like about podcasting and where do you think it’s going?
The thing that’s really nice about podcasting is everyone always says, “Wow, you get to say whatever you want.”  You don’t get to say whatever you want because if you do say whatever you want, and people are still listening and they’re still plenty of groups out there that will protest and try to getyour sponsors to leave you and that kind of stuff.  You can use whatever language want but you can’t say whatever you want.  So there’s a little misnomer there.  I never found radio confining.  The thing I do like about the podcast is the flexibility in the schedule.  For instance, I do my podcast every night at 8pm, and that’s just the way we do it but tonight, my dad is celebrating his eightieth birthday and so we’re going to do it earlier so I can go to my dad’s eightieth birthday tonight, which is something, you know, in radio, you don’t get to do.  The show’s when it is and it’s that time every day and, you know, if your dad’s eightieth birthday happens to fall on the night when you’ve got to do a show, “Too bad Pops,” you know. 

Where do you think this is all going?  Do you think it’s the new frontier?
Oh yeah…I didn’t answer the second part of your question.  I don’t know.  I think it’s going about the same place music did eight years ago, which is…I don’t think there’s ever going to be such a thing as a multi-platinum record that sells anymore or disc.  It’ll be downloaded and people will find it on their computer and some people will find it on Amazon but they’ll find it.  It’s the same way…it’s the same thing that’s sort of happening with books.  It’s the same thing that’s happening with TV.  You know, back in the day, TV shows would get forty million people watching.  Now, if you can get five million people watching, you’re doing pretty damn good and books would sell a million copies and now if you can sell a hundred thousand copies, you’re doing pretty good.  The pie is getting sliced up into thinner and thinner pieces.  So there’s so many people out there and there’s so much product that there’s so much to go around that it’s being consumed in smaller little bit-sized pieces.  So those days of selling millions of copies of this or having a fifteen share of television, for the most part, are gone.  You’re going to take your little core audience of a couple hundred thousand people and just go off and make money with them. 

Well, a second ago you mentioned your father.  The name of your podcast network is the ACE Podcasting Network…Ace Broadcasting Network…a lot of really great shows and one of them is ‘Life Lessons with Jim Carolla.’  I really enjoy listening to that one.  This might be a tough question, but what is the greatest life lesson your father has taught you?
You know it’s funny that that’s the name of the show, or ironic.  My dad never…he wasn’t the type to like ever sit me down and go, “Listen, there’s two kinds of ladies out there son.”  You know, it was never like a good Johnny Cash song.  We never talked that much.  He never told me anything.  He rarely had any advice for me like not in a bad way…just like, “Eh, go out and live your life,” like.  But he always kind of said, and it wasn’t a great feeling, but he always sort of said, “Try to figure out what your part in this scenario is and see if you can fix it.”  In other words, every time I’d get into an argument with somebody or every time something goes wrong or you get fired from a job or you get cut from a team or you get divorced or your girlfriend dumps you or your boyfriend dumps you…whatever the situation is, instead of doing all the externalizing, which everyone just does like, “Screw that guy!  He’s an idiot!”   You know, go, “Why’d you get fired from your boss?”  “Why’d you get fired from your job?”  “My boss is an a-hole!”  Like, alright…that doesn’t really help you fix whatever reason you got fired for, unless in fact, your boss is, in fact, an a-hole and just fired you just because he’s an a-hole. But usually your boss fires you for something you did, even if he is an a-hole.  And I love those people who do the thing where they go, “Hey man, I did the work of three people.  He was just jealous so he fired me.”  Like, don’t externalize it.  Look in, meaning if you go to a restaurant and you go to the restaurant on a Friday night at seven o’clock and the restaurant is closed, you could be outraged and go, “This is nonsense!  What kind of restaurants close on a Friday night at seven o’clock.”  But you know what my dad would say?  “You should’ve called first.”  And I’d go, “What are you talking about?  It’s Friday night at seven o’clock.” He’d go, “Still, if you’d called, you would’ve found out they were closed.”  All I’m saying is, take a look inside and figure out what you could’ve done and don’t beat yourself up about it but if you want to avoid a trip to a restaurant that’s closed, call first. 

Very sound advice.  I was reading your new book, and to all the listeners out there, it’s entitled ‘In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.’  There’s a tremendous emphasis on embracing what it is to be a woman.  You see that every day.  But you don’t really hear anything about embracing manhood.
It’s so funny when you hear women up on the podium, whether it’s Nancy Pelosi or Cher…whoever…and they’re going like, “We are strong.  We are independent.  We make the world go round.  We need to set aside a month to celebrate us.”  I mean, just imagine a dude doing that.  By the way, when you make the proclamations and announce why you’re so strong and have days set aside for you and your strength and your independence and all that, it usually means things aren’t going that well so you should probably knock it off (laughs).  Rich white guys rarely have that meeting…”Hey!  We need a day for us!”  Trump, take the podium…talk about how, uh, how smart we are how strong we are and how proud we are and what great fathers we are.  Let’s do that.  Let’s take a day to celebrate us.  Nah…we’re kind of busy making money and ruling everything.  So I would say, no matter what group you’re in, don’t have those press conferences or those marches or whatever it is where you make the proclamation of how much the world needs you.  It’s usually not a good sign. 

You record your podcast show out there in the seat of the entertainment world, California.  Who have you met in Los Angeles that has the most integrity?
Oooh…wow…let’s see…I would say, if you’re going to use the word ‘integrity, it might be my buddy, Jimmy Kimmel.  I mean, Jimmy is one of these guys, in a town where everyone gets paid for doing nothing, like you know when you watch these shows and there’s nine producers?  Eight of them do nothing.  They literally just get paid.  They don’t show up on the set.  They’re called “non-writing producers.”  They do not much…we live in a town where people frequently get paid for nothing. An old manager would get paid for doing nothing and they have no problem with it.  They’re entitled to it.  Jimmy is one of the only dudes I know in this town who says, “I don’t want to get paid if I’m not doing something.  So if I’m not actively creating on this show, then save your paycheck.”  Other than Jimmy, there’s a hand…you know the thing about this town is there’s a bunch of really good, solid dudes and then a bunch of colossal douche bags and everyone’s focus is on the colossal, do nothing producers or chicks running the studios….there’s tons of just hacks and phonies and imposters and just idiots that I’ve worked with….most…every producer that I’ve worked with has been a colossal douche bag.  But they get the reputation and they sort of ruin it for the rest of the town.  And the reality is, there’s whole bunch of really cool people and it’s sort of like rich guys…rich guys have this reputation for being evil rich guys.  Well, most of the rich guys I know are like…they’re really nice and they’re super hard-working and their and they’re generous.

Well on that note, you mentioned producers.  Are there any other people you’ve met in the industry, or maybe a specific person, who you just do not like?
Yeah…(laughs)…almost everyone.  The industry attracts narcissists with personality disorders.  So, I mean, you have to be…there’s usually something wrong with you and like I said, look, if you’re a writer or you’re a comedian or you’re a storyteller or actor or greater, you probably have a personality disorder but at least you do something.  I mean, at least you go, “Hey!  I’m funny.  I’m going to write some jokes.”  It’s the producers who don’t contribute anything…I mean, like when we did ‘The Man’ show all those years, this producer didn’t do anything.  Here’s all you people need to know about producers:  for the first four seasons of ‘The Man Show,’ we produced the show.  Stone Stanley, who claimed to produce the show, they weren’t allowed on the set.  They were off somewhere else.  They were literally not allowed there.  Jimmy didn’t like them and they just weren’t there.  So, for the first four seasons, that was ‘The Man Show’ that was done the way we would’ve done it.  The fifth season, when we left, then the producers got to produce and that’s what you got.  You got the fifth season on ‘The Man Show’ with Doug Stanhope  and Joe Rogan  and that’s what the show would’ve looked like if the folks who, in quotes, “producing it” were producing it the first four seasons.  Oh, they got paid.  They got paid the first four seasons and they got paid the last one too but that’s what producers do. 

One of the other people on your network is Larry Miller.  What do you think about Larry Miller?
I should have brought him up when you were asking me about, uh, integrity.  I love Larry Miller.  He is the nicest guy in the world.  He’s just like old school, just solid dude, you know…a good husband, a good dad, and funny, sincere, always in a good mood…one of these guys that calls you “pal,” like every time you see him, “How are you, pal?  How you doing?  Good to see ya.  Good…” always seems happy to see you there.  He’s always happy to be where he is.  Like, just the nicest guy you’re ever going to want to meet.

Who have you had on the ‘Adam Carolla Show’ that you were proudest to welcome?
I was excited to get to sit down with Albert Brooks for a good eighty minutes the other week and interview him because I’ve always been a fan of Albert Brooks and I’ve never seen any just long-form, sit-down interview with him.  I was excited to have Francis Ford Coppola.  I was excited to have Ken Burns, the documentarian on.  I found that guy really compelling.  One of the guys I was most excited about was the actor, Christoph Waltz because I’d just seen ‘Inglorious Basterds’ and I was literally, I felt like a sneak preview of ‘In Glorious Bastards’ like a week before it came out and I saw Christoph Waltz and I was blown away and I was like, “This guy’s going to win the Oscar for sure.  He’s gotta win the Oscar.”  I mean, doing it…he’s acting in three different languages.  He came in and sat down with me, you know, like a few days after I saw the preview for the movie and I was like, “Buddy, you’re getting an Oscar this year,” and no one knew the guy’s name at the time and, I don’t know, four months later he was up there, claiming his Oscar. 

Anyone that has a talk show, there’s always a guest that deludes you…that drives you crazy.  So, who is that guest been for you?
Who I wanted to get on and haven’t gotten on?
There’s always that, “Oh, sure it’d be great to get Justin Timberlake on the show,” but I’ve never tried to get Justin Timberlake on the show so I wouldn’t say he’s been “eluding” me.  And, you know, it’s like I’d love to get Tom Hanks on the show but I never tried to get Tom Hanks on the show so I don’t feel like that.  I don’t really…I…I never really think of it that way.  There’s people that I’m fans of and people I go, “Man, that guy’s good,” and it would be great to sit down with Dwayne Johnson but on the other hand, I never went after Dwayne Johnson.  I don’t know if a chick can ignore you until you send over a drink and I never sent over a drink for anybody so I sort of go in every night and go, “Whose on tonight,” and someone goes, “It’s this guy,” and sometimes I go, “Whose that,” and they go, “It’s an author,” and I go, “I never heard of that guy,” and half the time, “that guy” turns out to be way more interesting than the guy you’ve heard of and then other nights, it’s guys you’ve heard of.  But, I never really plan it out.

You’re appearing at the Tabernacle in Atlanta and that’s going to be on September 30th, as a comedian on the road and have you had any strange encounters with fans that you can tell us about?
(Laughs)  You know what?  For the most part, they just show up and they’re nice and sometimes they’ll make me a t shirt or get me some toys for my kids or something…or I’ll be complaining about Southwest taking nuts off the airplane ‘cause somebody had a peanut allergy and called in, and they’ll give me a bunch of Southwest peanuts or something but for the most part, every once in a while you get that sort of drunken fan and they do this one, which is funny…like you’re leaving the show and you’re walking out in the parking lot and you’re getting into the car and the guy’s like, “Hey!  Hey Adam!  Hey Man Show!  We just saw the show.  Can we get a picture?”

And you’re like, “Yeah, yeah sure…we’ll get a picture,” and you get a picture.

 And then his buddy will go, “Oh no…get the camera and let me get in here too,” and then they switch cameras.

And the third buddy goes, “Hey, let me get a picture too.” 

And you go, “Alright.” 

Then they go, “Let’s get a picture of all three of us.”

“Alright…let’s get a picture of all three of us.”

“Hey man, can you sign my ‘Hammer’ jacket?”  (Independent movie I did)

“Sign my book…sign my book…”  “Alright, I’ll sign my book…” and I’ll sign the thing.

“Let’s one more picture.”

“Alright.”  So you get the one more picture and then you go, “Alright pal, thanks.  I’m going to head back to the hotel.”

“Oh…so that’s it?  That’s all?”  (laughs)  “You just going to leave us hanging?  Is that how you roll?”

You’re like, “Wait, wait, wait….what’d I do?”

“So you’re just heading out?  Just checking out now?  That’s how you roll?”

I’m like, “What do you want?  Some sex behind the dumpster?  What are you looking for here?”

You know…
It’s weird…you sign the guy’s book, you take nine pictures with him and you go, “Alright.  Thanks for coming to the show pals.  I’m going to get in the Towncar,” and they say

“Whoa…so that’s it, huh?”

Yeah, you

Well, my last question:  the great thing about podcasting and internet radio, there’s no geographic limitations anymore.

So for anyone who hears this interview in Atlanta and beyond, what do you want to say in closing?  Open-ended…

Oh geez…now, in what language?  If you enjoy good conversation and you enjoy some compelling talk and some free talk and some open talk, then, uh, you can check out the podcast, pick it up.  People are a little intimidated like, “Wow, I don’t know how to work a computer.”  You just go to iTunes and hit podcasts and you’ll see a picture of me and if you’ll click on it, it’s free and nothing to it.  Believe me I don’t know what the hell I’m doing around a computer and even I can figure it out.  So, check it out.  And you might want to grab my book, too.  I’m pretty proud of that.  In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.  I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.  So, uh, and other than that…enjoy your life.  And dance with your kids, that’s what I wanted to say.  Once a week at least, have a little dance party with your kids.  Because when daddy’s depressed it always bums the kids out.  So have a little dance party with your kids.

Our special guest has been Adam Carolla.  Thanks so much for doing this interview.  I really appreciate it.
My pleasure.