Shandling Agnosites

By Gerri Hirshey GQ February 1997 Garry Shandling is worrying a piece of plain chicken (no skin, no sauce, no guilt) with a plastic fork. The tines quiver with indecision (eat? talk? eat and talk and risk having a meteor of thigh meat land on those dry-cleaned jeans …...

At Large with Bill Murray

By Harold Conrad Smart July/August 1989 “In the end, everything is a gag.” —Charlie Chaplin It is 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday in January. Bill Murray has just driven his Jeep from Malibu to Palm Springs. I am waiting in his suite at Maxim’s de Paris, an ultrafancy spot in...

Eddie Murphy Is on Top of the World

By Peter W. Kaplan Playboy January 1983 Eddie Murphy, a man of 21 years, has a check for $45,000 in his back pocket, a manager with tinted sunglasses standing near the bar, a producer from a Hollywood studio watching him from the door, a sound-and-video crew recording...

The Risible Fantasies of Gilbert Gottfried

By Peter Mehlman GQ July 1987   “Gilbert, my God, you look great!” “Jesus, Gilbert, that suit looks amazing on you.” “It’s the suit they gave him on the Cosby Show!” “Gillie! I got hold of the Cinemax special—it’s, it’s … beautiful!” “Gillie, who’s doing your...

David Letterman, the Vice-President of Comedy

By Peter W. Kaplan Esquire December 1981 I have no troubles that I can’t tell standing up and to several million people at once.—Jack Paar When David Letterman enters a small club, other young comics make way for him, and although he moves among them, he is separate....

The Chinese Gourmet Club

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Here’s something fun. From Kenneth Tynan’s lavish 1977 New Yorker profile of Mel Brooks (available online only to New Yorker subscribers though you can also find it in Tynan’s wonderful collection, Profiles): After separating from his...

How Pryor Put Cosby Behind Him

By Scott Saul From Becoming Richard Pryor 2014 When Richard Pryor first came on the national scene in the mid ’60s, he was a comic who consciously followed the blueprint established by Bill Cosby. Never mind that Pryor, even when he was doing a clean act, lacked...

Comedy is Not Pretty

By Ivan Solotaroff The Stacks Reader November 11, 2013 Charlie Barnett was pivotal in getting started as a full-time journalist. I spent close to six months—a late fall, entire winter, and early spring—watching him and getting to know his story—not only his crack...

Little Big Mouth: The Unfunny Comedy of Andrew Dice Clay

By Ivan Solotaroff The Village Voice 1990 A hundred or so surprisingly subdued leather boys and their women are guzzling Budweiser and Bud Lights on a bottlenecked New Jersey Transit bus to the sold-out, 21,000-seat Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands, headed to...

Mel Brooks Says This Is the Funniest Man in the World

By Harry Stein Esquire June 1976 Harry Ritz will say it himself, but he prefers that others say it for him. “As far as I’m concerned,” says Mel Brooks, “Harry Ritz was the funniest man ever. His craziness and his freedom were unmatched. There was no intellectualizing...

Mel Brooks: The Playboy Interview

By Brad Darrach Playboy February 1975 “The rich,” according to a Spanish proverb, “laugh carefully.” They have a lot to lose. The poor, on the other hand, need to laugh in order to forget how little they have to laugh about—which may be why the Depression was the last...

Lenny

By Seymour Krim Nugget June 1963 We come, with mixed feelings, to the Case of Lenny Bruce. You probably have an opinion—who doesn’t?—but sit still long enough to hear ours. First, so that no matter how finky you finally think our stand is, let it be triple-clear that...