Tony Roberts 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, Tony Roberts talks about his early life and growing up around famous people like Zero Mostel, and how that led to his interest in becoming a comedic performer. He describes his comedic influences, including Hiram Sherman, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Milton Berle, with whom he worked in Las Vegas on his first show business job at age 23. Roberts discusses various aspects of being a comedic actor, including doing improv, playing to an audience, and his distaste for television sitcoms. He concludes by outlining the ups and downs of his career, and how he’s enjoyed acting overall. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on April 8, 2005 in New York, NY.

"I have a constant dialogue in my head between the bitter, disappointed resentful me, and what a rotten business it is, versus how lucky I am that I am in this business, and what wonderful people I know as a result of it, and what a great time I've had. I'd have to say that the latter wins out all the time."

Highlights
Tony Roberts on growing up around famous people
02:32
Tony Roberts on improv comedy, and on why he avoids watching sitcoms
10:10
Tony Roberts on taking chances in comedy, the use of the laugh track, and on Milton Berle
03:45
Tony Roberts on how an actor deals with being typecast
03:45
Tony Roberts on how he feels about his career
02:18
Tony Roberts on how different audiences react to comedy
05:17
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On growing up around famous people, including Zero Mostel; on his early aspirations to be an actor, and on doing dramatic and comedic roles; on the craft of being a straight man, and on his philosophy of comedy
11:41
On how different audiences react to comedy; on the comedic actor Hiram Sherman, and on what he learned from him as well as Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and others; on learning comedic technique from Milton Berle, and on farce
18:22
On improv comedy, and on why he avoids watching sitcoms; on taking chances in comedy, the use of the laugh track, and on Milton Berle; on working with Woody Allen
16:54
On dealing with the peaks and valleys of an actor's career; on an actor dealing with and learning from his audience
09:59

Chapter 2

On summing up his career as an actor, and how he has navigated it; on the role agents and managers have played in his career
07:32
On how an actor deals with being typecast; on how he feels about his career
06:03
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Tony Roberts on the comedic actor Hiram Sherman, and on what he learned from him as well as Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and others
04:27
Tony Roberts on learning comedic technique from Milton Berle, and on farce
07:44

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Tony Roberts on Zero Mostel and the Hollywood Blacklist
01:07

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Tony Roberts on Zero Mostel and the Hollywood Blacklist
01:07

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Tony Roberts on the comedic actor Hiram Sherman, and on what he learned from him as well as Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and others
04:27
Tony Roberts on learning comedic technique from Milton Berle, and on farce
07:44

Television Industry

View Topic
Tony Roberts on Zero Mostel and the Hollywood Blacklist
01:07
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Tony Roberts on the craft of being a straight man, and on his philosophy of comedy
03:59
Tony Roberts on dealing with the peaks and valleys of an actor's career
08:02
Tony Roberts on an actor dealing with and learning from his audience
01:56
Tony Roberts on summing up his career as an actor, and how he has navigated it
04:38
Tony Roberts on the role agents and managers have played in his career
02:52
Tony Roberts on how an actor deals with being typecast
03:45
Tony Roberts on how he feels about his career
02:18

Performers

View Profession
Tony Roberts on the craft of being a straight man, and on his philosophy of comedy
03:59
Tony Roberts on dealing with the peaks and valleys of an actor's career
08:01
Tony Roberts on an actor dealing with and learning from his audience
01:56
Tony Roberts on summing up his career as an actor, and how he has navigated it
04:38
Tony Roberts on the role agents and managers have played in his career
02:52
Tony Roberts on how an actor deals with being typecast
03:45
Tony Roberts on how he feels about his career
02:18
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Tony Roberts on learning comedic technique from Milton Berle, and on farce
07:44
Tony Roberts on the craft of being a straight man, and on his philosophy of comedy
03:59
People

Woody Allen

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Tony Roberts on working with Woody Allen
02:57

Milton Berle

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Tony Roberts on learning comedic technique from Milton Berle, and on farce
07:44

Zero Mostel

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Tony Roberts on Zero Mostel and the Hollywood Blacklist
01:07

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