Hal Kanter with Emerson College

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-and-a-half hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Hal Kanter (1918-2011) talks about how he got his start in comedy, writing for Eddie Cantor, as well as early radio shows he worked on. He discusses learning to write comedy, how to write for comedians’ voices, and structure jokes. He recalls creating the groundbreaking series Julia, starring Diahann Carroll, and writing for The Danny Kaye Show. Kanter speaks of dealing with several agents and managers in his career, and talks about how the industry has changed since he started. He gives advice to aspiring comedy writers, and concludes by discussing his role in the Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters Group. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on June 6, 2005 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"I appreciate when someone other than myself can amuse me. Because I find myself to be much more interesting than I find anyone else!"

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Hal Kanter on various comedy writers he admires
Hal Kanter on creating Julia, starring Diahann Carroll
Hal Kanter on early comedy writing jobs in radio
Hal Kanter on his public speaking career, and on being house humorist for Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters group
Hal Kanter on what makes him laugh
Hal Kanter on working with Elvis Presley
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On growing up Jewish in the South; on getting into writing for radio for Eddie Cantor, and pairing with writer Eddie Davis; on realizing he had a gift for comedy writing
On learning to write comedy from the greats; on early comedy writing jobs in radio; on learning to write for different comedians' voices for radio
On learning to structure jokes, and on working with Bob Hope; on creating Julia, starring Diahann Carroll; on various comedy writers he admires
On writing for The Danny Kaye Show; on dealing with agents and managers, and the business end of show business; on how the business has changed since he started
On the rise of "blue" humor; on how humor evolved over the years; on working with Elvis Presley
On advice to aspiring comedy writers; on summing up his career, and what makes him laugh; on his public speaking career, and on being house humorist for Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters group
Shows

Danny Kaye Show, The

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Hal Kanter on writing for The Danny Kaye Show

Julia

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia, starring Diahann Carroll
Hal Kanter on Julia addressing serious topics of the day like Vietnam, and on comedy dealing with social issues in general
Topics

Advice

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Hal Kanter on advice to aspiring comedy writers

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Hal Kanter on the rise of "blue" humor

Television Industry

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Hal Kanter on how the business has changed since he started
Hal Kanter on the rise of "blue" humor
Hal Kanter on advice to aspiring comedy writers
Professions

Writers

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Hal Kanter on realizing he had a gift for comedy writing
Hal Kanter on learning to write comedy from the greats
Hal Kanter on learning to write for different comedians' voices on radio
Hal Kanter on learning to structure jokes, and on working with Bob Hope
Hal Kanter on dealing with agents and managers, and the business end of show business
Hal Kanter on how humor has evolved over the years
Hal Kanter on advice to aspiring comedy writers
Genres

Comedy Series

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia, starring Diahann Carroll

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Hal Kanter on writing for The Danny Kaye Show
People

Eddie Cantor

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Hal Kanter on getting into writing for radio for Eddie Cantor, and pairing with writer Eddie Davis

Diahann Carroll

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Hal Kanter on creating Julia, starring Diahann Carroll

Bob Hope

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Hal Kanter on learning to structure jokes, and on working with Bob Hope

Danny Kaye

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Hal Kanter on writing for The Danny Kaye Show

Elvis Presley

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Hal Kanter on working with Elvis Presley

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