Gary Owens with Emerson College

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The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Gary Owens (1934-2015) talks about his early career beginning on radio and later drawing a comic strip. He describes working on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and working with that cast including Lily Tomlin and Goldie Hawn. He recounts various comedians with whom he worked in his career, including Bob Newhart, Mort Sahl, Jackie Mason, Jonathan Winters, and Tim Conway. Owens discusses comedians’ mental health, as well as heath challenges he’d faced in his later years. He concludes by speaking of the importance of imagination in comedy, and summing up his career. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 14, 2005 in beautiful downtown Burbank, CA.

"There's no one who enjoys working as much as I do. And I think working hard is never going to hurt you in any way, shape, or form."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Gary Owens on starting in radio, and drawing a comic strip
Gary Owens on appearing on McHale's Navy with Tim Conway
Gary Owens on Goldie Hawn on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and the rest of the cast
Gary Owens on the mental health of comedians, and on his diabetes
Gary Owens on being the original host of The Gong Show
Gary Owens tells a joke
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On chatting about his early years; on starting in radio, and drawing a comic strip; on Goldie Hawn on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and the rest of the cast
On Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In producer George Schlatter, and on providing voiceover for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast; on working with Red Buttons; on various people he's worked with in his career, including Herb Alpert and Toni Tennille, and on working on Sesame Street
On the comedic aspect of his career, and on working with Jonathan Winters; on what drew him to comedy and comedy writing; on working with various comedians in his career, including Bob Newhart, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, and Shecky Greene
On the explosion of reality television; on his comedic style; on being the original host of The Gong Show, and on Murray Langston, "The Unknown Comic"
On his then-current project, and on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; on being thrown out of the Brown Derby while lunching with Pat McCormick and Jack Riley, and on Pat McCormick's sense of humor; on appearing on McHale's Navy with Tim Conway
On being cast on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and on various people he's encountered in his career; on the mental health of comedians, and on his diabetes; on the new generation learning from older comedians, and on imagination
On puns and on various people he encountered in his career; tells a joke; on summing up his career, and on Howard Cosell
Shows

Gong Show, The

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Gary Owens on being the original host of The Gong Show, and on Murray Langston, "The Unknown Comic"

McHale's Navy

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Gary Owens on appearing on McHale's Navy with Tim Conway

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

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Gary Owens on Goldie Hawn on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and the rest of the cast
Gary Owens on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In producer George Schlatter, and on providing voice over for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast
Gary Owens on being cast on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and on various people he's encountered in his career
Topics

Pop Culture

View Topic
Gary Owens on being the original host of The Gong Show
Professions

Performers

View Profession
Gary Owens on the importance of the straight man in comedy, and on working with Jonathan Winters
Gary Owens on what drew him to comedy and comedy writing, and on his days of being a disc jockey in Los Angeles
Gary Owens on his comedic style

Voiceover

View Profession
Gary Owens on the importance of the straight man in comedy, and on working with Jonathan Winters
Gary Owens on what drew him to comedy and comedy writing, and on his days of being a disc jockey in Los Angeles
Gary Owens on his comedic style
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Gary Owens on the comedic aspect of his career, and on working with Jonathan Winters
Gary Owens on appearing on McHale's Navy with Tim Conway

Game Shows

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Gary Owens on being the original host of The Gong Show, and on Murray Langston, "The Unknown Comic"

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Gary Owens on Goldie Hawn on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and the rest of the cast of the show
People

Red Buttons

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Gary Owens on an event for gossip columnist Jim Bacon, and on working with Red Buttons

Tim Conway

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Gary Owens on appearing on McHale's Navy with Tim Conway

Bill Dana

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Gary Owens on Bill Dana, Spike Jones, and Doodles Weaver

Goldie Hawn

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Gary Owens on Goldie Hawn on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

Spike Jones

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Gary Owens on Bill Dana, Spike Jones, and Doodles Weaver

Jackie Mason

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Gary Owens on working with various comedians in his career, including Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, and Shecky Greene

Pat McCormick

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Gary Owens on being thrown out of the Brown Derby while lunching with Pat McCormick and Jack Riley, and on Pat McCormick's sense of humor

Bob Newhart

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Gary Owens on working with various comedians in his career, including Bob Newhart

Jack Riley

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Gary Owens on being thrown out of the Brown Derby while lunching with Pat McCormick and Jack Riley, and on Pat McCormick's sense of humor

George Schlatter

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Gary Owens on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In producer George Schlatter

Toni Tennille

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Gary Owens on various people he's worked with in his career, including Herb Alpert and Toni Tennille, and on working on Sesame Street

Jonathan Winters

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Gary Owens on the comedic aspect of his career, and on working with Jonathan Winters

All Interviews

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