Comedian


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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Highlights
George Carlin on advice he gives young comedians: write it down and classify everything
01:28
Steve Allen on putting together a comedy act and bombing on stage
01:59
Phyllis Diller on her advice to aspiring comics
02:22
Bob Newhart on performing and writing comedy routines
01:23
Keenen Ivory Wayans on the "comedian's code" during his time at The Improv in New York; about stealing jokes
01:48
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on how they became a comedy team
01:23
Who talked about this profession

Steve Allen

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Steve Allen on putting together a comedy act and bombing on stage
01:59
Steve Allen on his first late-night show for radio - gradually talking more and playing less music and the show taking off as a comedy show; on the response he got to ad-libbing
06:50

Shelley Berman

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Shelley Berman on writing for Steve Allen's Tonight show; on his first appearance on the show and realizing he was a comedian
Shelley Berman on when he realized he had become a comedian through his work at the Compass Players (which later became Second City) 
Shelley Berman on becoming a recognized performer and how it affected his performance as a comedian
01:29
Shelley Berman on doing stand-up comedy at the various clubs in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago in the 1950s
Shelley Berman on coming up with new material for his 22 Ed Sullivan performances; on not worrying about censors
06:21
Shelley Berman on playing both comedic and dramatic characters on TV
01:10
Shelley Berman on his advice to an aspiring performer
00:47

Ken Berry

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Ken Berry on performing the physical comedy in F Troop
05:20

Sid Caesar

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Sid Caesar on advice he has for aspiring performers
00:34

George Carlin

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George Carlin on getting fired from the Copacabana and being relieved to finally leave mainstream comedy
06:31
George Carlin on the origin of his famous routine "Seven Dirty Words"
04:09
George Carlin on the evolution of his comedy
05:27
George Carlin on getting to write about the "freak show"
02:08
George Carlin on defining himself and his role as an entertainer and a comedian
02:59
George Carlin on his creative process
03:22
George Carlin on why he never gets tired of performing his routines
03:03
George Carlin on advice he gives young comedians: write it down and classify everything
01:28

Carlos Mencia with Emerson College

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Carlos Mencia on making a connection with his audience as a comedian, and the commonalities between people of different backgrounds
04:09
Carlos Mencia on the risks and rewards of doing edgy or racial humor
04:43
Carlos Mencia on aiming to inspire people, as well as make them laugh, though his comedy
03:00
Carlos Mencia on how comedy can heal divides, and solve problems in society
03:45
Carlos Mencia on his reaction to the notion of political correctness in comedy, and in life
10:13
Carlos Mencia on using "blue" material in his act, and how the choice of words can affect comedy
02:01
Carlos Mencia on comedians tailoring their acts to their environments
03:00
Carlos Mencia on being responsible to his community in his comedy
01:45
Carlos Mencia on having been accused of stealing jokes from other comedians
08:03
Carlos Mencia on advice to aspiring comedians
04:08

Shecky Greene with Emerson College

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Shecky Greene on why he started in comedy, and on his earliest gigs
05:36
Shecky Greene on the relationship between laughter and depression
03:26
Shecky Greene on developing his comedy act, characters in comedy, and his role in creating the Comedy Store
04:36
Shecky Greene on doing dialects in his act, and on working for the mob
02:03
Shecky Greene on what he has gotten out of his comedy career
02:23
Shecky Greene on his comedic persona, and on appearing on Today with Katie Couric
06:46
Shecky Greene on surviving in comedy
02:34
Shecky Greene on the then-current state of comedy, and on Jewish comedy and the joys of performing
04:29
Shecky Greene on summing up his career
03:08

Lewis Black with Emerson College

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Lewis Black on his early interest in drama, and on becoming a comedian
05:45
Lewis Black on doing open mic nights at Catch a Rising Star in New York City
03:11
Lewis Black on working out his stand-up routine in front of audiences
03:47
Lewis Black on developing his comic persona
05:41
Lewis Black on the source of the anger in his comedy, and learning how to use the anger
07:53
Lewis Black on audience reaction to the evolution of his angry character
01:52
Lewis Black on doing political humor
06:26
Lewis Black on judging how far he can go with audiences
04:03
Lewis Black on whether comedy can be taught
05:54
Lewis Black on dealing with the business end of show business as a comedian
07:21
Lewis Black on longevity in a comedian's career
02:59

Eddie Brill with Emerson College

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Eddie Brill on learning comedy
03:34
Eddie Brill on developing a comedic voice
02:20
Eddie Brill on comedians using blue material
02:34
Eddie Brill on learning from older comedians
01:40
Eddie Brill on comedians being born or made
01:16
Eddie Brill on dealing with the business end of show business
01:57
Eddie Brill on the comedian's relationship to their audience
04:37
Eddie Brill on auditioning, and on working with Aretha Franklin
09:13
Eddie Brill on writing jokes, and on the power of laughter
03:12
Eddie Brill on what he gets out of being a comedian
01:37

Paul Rodriguez with Emerson College

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Paul Rodriguez on developing his early stand-up routine, and on being Richard Pryor's runner
05:02
Paul Rodriguez on being inspired by Richard Pryor to use his Mexican heritage and identity in his act, and on the language he uses in his act
05:32
Paul Rodriguez on the importance of comedians taking chances, and on basing his comedy routines around his life
06:57
Paul Rodriguez on dealing with agents and managers in his career, and on longevity in his career
06:04

Dick Gregory with Emerson College

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Dick Gregory on what comedy can do and cannot do for society
03:52
Dick Gregory on what he wanted to accomplish with this stand-up comedy, and on his early experiences with nightclubs
04:47
Dick Gregory on coming up with material for his act
07:13
Dick Gregory on defining what a comedian is
01:47
Dick Gregory on using his life experiences as fodder for his act
09:45
Dick Gregory on advice to aspiring comedians, and on profanity in comedy
05:23
Dick Gregory on comedians developing a technique
08:29
Dick Gregory on the role of the comic in society
07:31

Shelley Berman with Emerson College

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Shelley Berman on the type of performer he is, and on developing his early nightclub act
07:39
Shelley Berman on stand-up comedians using a stool, and various other props of the trade, and on the challenges faced by a stand-up comedian
08:00
Shelley Berman on the comedian Jim MacGeorge, and on his own poetry
04:33
Shelley Berman on the source of comedy in a script or situation, and on "teaching" comedy
04:16
Shelley Berman on the construct of comedy, and the difficulty in pinpointing what is funny or why people laugh
03:03
Shelley Berman on the importance in comedy of the audience relating to the comedian, and on the evolution of comedy in terms of explicit language
07:07
Shelley Berman on the importance of comedy in his life, and American life in general
05:07
Shelley Berman on his reputation for being difficult, and on the ups and downs of his life and career, including the loss of his son
23:16

Bill Dana with Emerson College

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Bill Dana on the importance of having a good agent
02:38
Bill Dana on the difficulties comedians face
02:39
Bill Dana on comedy being a difficult job, and on the most important quality of a comic
02:27
Bill Dana on comedians using situations and constraints to their advantage, and on the impatience of audiences
04:39
Bill Dana on learning to use humor as a weapon to disarm
01:33
Bill Dana on when he first learned he could make people laugh, and on attending Emerson College
03:31
Bill Dana on his early comedic influences
05:24
Bill Dana on what he's learned about the business side of the entertainment/comedy industry
03:13
Bill Dana on comedians stealing each other's material
02:22
Bill Dana on the source of his comedy, and his characters, and on Jonathan Harris as "Mr. Phillips" on The Bill Dana Show
02:26
Bill Dana on his answer to the question "What is funny?"
01:40
Bill Dana on the need for a performer to pay their dues
01:42
Bill Dana on his answer to the question "Was it worth it?"
01:28
Bill Dana on ethnic humor, and on the importance of good representation
04:22

Charles Grodin with Emerson College

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Charles Grodin on his brand of comedy, and on figuring out he was funny
04:58

Bill Dana

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Bill Dana on advice to aspiring writers and comedians
01:14
Bill Dana on founding the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College and on the challenges of being a comedian
03:06

Richard Dawson

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Richard Dawson on crafting his first act as a comedian and getting into acting
13:27

Phyllis Diller

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Phyllis Diller on her trademark laugh
01:16
Phyllis Diller on her advice to aspiring comics
02:22

Dick Van Dyke

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Dick Van Dyke on learning from Phil Silvers and discovering his love of comedy and his "funny bone"

Ed Begley, Jr. with Emerson College

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Ed Begley, Jr. on the "rules" of comedy, and on then-favorite comedians, and managers of comedians
07:06

Brad Garrett

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Brad Garrett on his start in stand-up
01:52

Geri Jewell

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Geri Jewell on the first time she did stand-up comedy, and how she talked about cerebral palsy in her routine
05:57

Jerry Lewis

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Jerry Lewis on his father's influence on his performances
01:35

Rose Marie

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Rose Marie on comedy
01:40

Anne Meara

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on how they became a comedy team
01:23

Bob Newhart

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Bob Newhart on his comedic style and how it has and hasn't work on TV over the years
00:53
Bob Newhart on performing and writing comedy routines
01:23
Bob Newhart on advice to aspiring performers
00:21

Garry Shandling

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Garry Shandling on being fascinated by comedians
03:27
Garry Shandling on writing George Carlin-style monologues and meeting Carlin
04:36

Jerry Stiller

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Jerry Stiller on considering himself a comedian
04:34
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on how they became a comedy team
01:23

Jimmie Walker

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Jimmie Walker on dealing with disappointment and rejection in his career
01:37
Jimmie Walker on what he loves about stand-up comedy
00:55

Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans on finding out about the Improv in New York and changing his life to move back to the city and become a standup; how it changed his approach to comedy
03:09
Keenen Ivory Wayans on the advice his mentor Chris Albrecht gave him about comedy; make it specific
01:46
Keenen Ivory Wayans on the "comedian's code" during his time at The Improv in New York; about stealing jokes
01:48
Keenen Ivory Wayans on his stand-up act then and now
08:03

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on doing his early stand-up comedy routines and on doing improv
04:28
Larry Wilmore on his comedic influences
04:12
Larry Wilmore on his stand-up act
08:47
Larry Wilmore on transitioning from writing jokes for himself to writing them for other people, and on finding his voice as a comic
04:25
Larry Wilmore on considering himself to be primarily a producer, and on his kinship with standup comedy
01:38

Jonathan Winters

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Jonathan Winters on advice for creating characters
02:44
Jonathan Winters on advice to those starting out in comedy
03:37