Jack Riley with Emerson College

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Jack Riley (1924-2016) talks about his early years and performing sketches in college. He recalls his first job in television, as a writer for The Don Rickles Show, and how he has dealt with managers and agents over his career. He discusses stints acting on The Joey Bishop Show, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and his friendship with Don Adams’ brother Dick Yarmy, which led to the creation of the “Yarmy’s Army” group of friends. Riley recounts playing the memorable character of “Elliott Carlin” on several episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, as well as working with Newhart over the years. He details the many who have influenced his acting and comedy, including people like Jackie Gleason and Jonathan Winters. He concludes by playing a few of his comedic song compositions. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 14, 2007 in Hollywood, CA.

"I'm so happy I didn't have to go to a cubicle every morning. With acting, your work is your vacation. The hard work is sticking with it over time."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Jack Riley on playing "Elliott Carlin" on The Bob Newhart Show
Jack Riley on how styles of comedy and setups have changed
Jack Riley on his roots, and on his early radio show "Baxter and Riley"
Jack Riley on what made him get into comedy, and on the early days of Bob Newhart
Jack Riley on advice to aspiring performers, and on his song writing
Jack Riley on writing for The Don Rickles Show, and on how writer's salaries have changed
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his roots, and on his early radio show "Baxter and Riley"; on what made him get into comedy, and on the early days of Bob Newhart; on doing comedy sketches in college, and on his early comedy career
On how styles of comedy and setups have changed; on writing for The Don Rickles Show, and on how writer's salaries have changed; on dealing with agents and managers as an actor
On playing "Elliott Carlin" on The Bob Newhart Show; on appearing on The Joey Bishop Show, and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In; on Don Adams and his brother Dick Yarmy, and on "Yarmy's Army", and on the healing power of laughter
On comedy becoming more blue since he started, and on the comedic actor honing his craft, and on what he finds funny, including Jonathan Winters and Jackie Gleason; on what made his character of "Elliott Carlin" funny on The Bob Newhart Show; on advice to aspiring performers, and on his song writing
On doing voice overs, and on appearing in various feature films; on appearing in "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," and The History of White People in America; on summing up his career
On b-roll-at the piano playing songs he composed
Shows

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

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Jack Riley on playing "Elliott Carlin" on The Bob Newhart Show
Jack Riley on playing "Elliott Carlin" on The Bob Newhart Show
Jack Riley on what made his character of "Elliott Carlin" funny on The Bob Newhart Show

Don Rickles Show, The

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Jack Riley on writing for The Don Rickles Show

Joey Bishop Show, The (1967-69)

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Jack Riley on appearing on The Joey Bishop Show

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

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Jack Riley on appearing on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Jack Riley on working with George Schlatter on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Topics

Advice

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Jack Riley on advice to aspiring performers, and on his song writing

Characters & Catchphrases

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Jack Riley on what made his character of "Elliott Carlin" funny on The Bob Newhart Show

Pop Culture

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Jack Riley on what made his character of "Elliott Carlin" funny on The Bob Newhart Show

Television Industry

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Jack Riley on advice to aspiring performers, and on his song writing
Professions

Actor

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Jack Riley on dealing with agents and managers as an actor
Jack Riley on advice to aspiring performers
Jack Riley on doing voice-overs, and on appearing in various feature films

Performers

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Jack Riley on dealing with agents and managers as an actor
Jack Riley on advice to aspiring performers
Jack Riley on doing voice-overs, and on appearing in various feature films
Genres

Comedy Series

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Jack Riley on playing "Elliott Carlin" on The Bob Newhart Show
Jack Riley on playing "Elliott Carlin" on The Bob Newhart Show
Jack Riley on appearing on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
Jack Riley on what made his character of "Elliott Carlin" funny on The Bob Newhart Show

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Jack Riley on writing for The Don Rickles Show
People

Don Adams

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Jack Riley on Don Adams and his brother Dick Yarmy, and on "Yarmy's Army," and on the healing power of laughter

Steve Allen

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Jack Riley on Steve Allen

Jackie Gleason

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Jack Riley on comedy becoming more blue since he started, and on the comedic actor honing his craft, and on what he finds funny, including Jonathan Winters and Jackie Gleason

Pat McCormick

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Jack Riley on Pat McCormick

Bob Newhart

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Jack Riley on what made him get into comedy, and on the early days of Bob Newhart

Don Rickles

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Jack Riley on writing for The Don Rickles Show

George Schlatter

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Jack Riley on working with George Schlatter on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

Jonathan Winters

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Jack Riley on comedy becoming more blue since he started, and on the comedic actor honing his craft, and on what he finds funny, including Jonathan Winters and Jackie Gleason

All Interviews

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