Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Interview with Rich Little

On August 8th, Impressionist Rich Little will be one of the panelists featured at Comedy Talks, a series of conversations by comedians about comedy and their careers. We talked to Rich about his many years on the stage, some of the highlights and lowlights and asked him about his current project, a one-man show in which he plays Jimmy Stewart.

Q: What advice would you offer to young comedians or comic actors?
A: They’re different types of standup comedy. What I do is basically tell jokes. Many of the comics today tell anecdotes and real-life stories, and I always tell jokes with a very distinct set up followed by a punch line. It’s a different type of comedy. I put a lot of jokes in my act—not one-liners or stories. Everyone has a different approach of how they do comedy. Back in the early days, guys like Milton Berle, Henny Youngman and Bob Hope told jokes. And then you had people like Shelly Berman and Bob Newhart who told a lot of stories about things that had happened to them. I’m probably of the old-school, but what I’ve been doing for many years is taking an impression and then having a joke in there as well. That way, I’m getting a reaction for the impression, and then I get another reaction from the joke. The best thing I can tell a young comic is get on stage as much as you can, because there’s no substitute for getting up there and doing it. Try not to perform in front of your family too much, because they’re nothing like a live audience. They won’t heckle you and we won’t get an objection.
Q: Henny Youngman told me once that there’s a big difference between getting up on stage and saying random things or developing an act and working it—do you agree?
A: Yes, I am very constructive with my material. I have developed some bits around my voices and these have become some of my standards over the years. For instance, I do a series of jokes based on what stars would sound as an animal; or within a game show featuring many of my voices. I think of an idea on how can I present these characters in a different setting and that’s where I find my hook with some foundation. I do it in a new, refreshing way without just banging out just bit one after another. I’m very conscious of what I’m doing with these voices, instead of just knocking them out.
Q: When did you think wow, I can make a living in this business?
A: The first time I got paid. I was doing shows in my hometown in Canada, doing shows at Knights of Columbus and Shriner’s conventions. Back then I was just a kid who does a few voices and that’s what I liked to do. In the early days, it wasn’t much more than a hobby. I never thought it was going to be a full-time thing, but one day the phone rang and someone told me they’d pay me $50 to perform. Well, I was in shock. I almost told them I would settle for $15! I said to myself, I can actually get paid for this? Not much, but it was a start. I never thought of myself as a comedian during those early years. I thought of myself as a guy who did a few impressions.
Q: When did you first realize you could make “insane” money?
A: When I got on the Judy Garland Show. For a kid in his 20’s, that was huge. After I got that TV exposure, I started getting bigger gigs and that’s when things changed for me. I’m most proud of that period in my life. Some of the work I did with Judy Garland is considered my best.
Q: What were best and worst gigs?
A: I would say that some of my appearances on the Dean Martin Roasts were great fun. My performance at the Reagan Inauguration was also a high point. My worst experience was at the 2007 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Everyone talked during my entire performance and the reviewers weren’t kind.
Q: You have always worked clean?
A: Well, not 100%. It depends on what you call clean. A lot of times, you can leave it in your imagination without really saying the words, it’s debatable if that’s working blue or not. I may do some suggestive material, but I’ve never worked blue. I never swear. People like naughty material, but it has to be written cleverly. Nowadays, some these comics are more graphic than ever. Somewhere along the line, it became popular to be shocking.
Q: What are you working on currently?
A: I’ve developed a one-man show playing Jimmy Stewart. I’m touring the country with that and I want to take it to big theaters and then eventually on Broadway. It’s not just Jimmy Stewart, but 23 different characters as well. We think it appeals to anyone, even if they’re not familiar with Stewart. We’d love to bring the show to San Francisco at some point.
Comedy Talks: Conversations with the Legends of Comedy is a panel discussion that brings the classic late night talk show format to the live stage, presenting a panel of three comedy legends, with host Robert Strong. “These comedy icons will talk about their careers, personal lives, insider gossip, and tips of the comedy trade,” Strong said. “Kind of like a late night talk show, but live on stage. Our hope is that the audience gets to reunite with beloved entertainment personalities so familiar that they feel like old friends. And we'll have a Q&A period too, so people will be able to ask the panelists questions."
Sunday, August 1st: George Segal, Paul Mazursky and Ronnie Schell
Sunday, August 8th: Rich Little, Carol Channing and Steve Rossi
Sunday, August 15th: Robert Morse, Shelley Berman and TBA

All shows at USF Presentation Theater (2350 Turk) at 4:00 pm.

Friends of Northside SF get a $10 discount off of any price level if you purchase your tickets before August 8, 2010. Simply enter the word "northside" in the discount code field when you go to make your purchase, and then choose one of the specially discounted tickets.
For more information about all three shows, visit www.ComedyTalks.com.

4 comments:

ninest123 said...

polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, gucci outlet, nike air max, nike roshe run, sac longchamp, ralph lauren pas cher, burberry, air jordan pas cher, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, longchamp, christian louboutin outlet, louboutin, chanel handbags, tory burch outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, nike free, louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, tiffany and co, jordan shoes, michael kors, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, prada handbags, uggs on sale, louboutin shoes, louboutin pas cher, air max, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, replica watches, nike free

ninest123 said...

nike air max, oakley pas cher, air force, nike roshe, abercrombie and fitch, true religion jeans, michael kors, nike free run uk, north face, timberland, burberry outlet online, vans pas cher, nike air max, sac guess, hollister pas cher, nike air max, michael kors, michael kors, lululemon, north face, nike blazer, burberry, michael kors outlet, hogan, true religion jeans, mulberry, new balance pas cher, true religion outlet, hermes, hollister, converse pas cher, ray ban pas cher, ralph lauren uk, tn pas cher, vanessa bruno, coach outlet, coach purses, kate spade handbags, michael kors outlet, michael kors, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, ugg boots, coach outlet, replica handbags, ray ban uk, michael kors outlet, lacoste pas cher, michael kors outlet, true religion jeans

ninest123 said...

north face outlet, nike huarache, lululemon, soccer shoes, giuseppe zanotti, iphone 6s plus cases, valentino shoes, chi flat iron, wedding dresses, iphone 5s cases, iphone 6 plus cases, louboutin, reebok shoes, vans, nike air max, nike air max, celine handbags, vans shoes, mac cosmetics, nike roshe, herve leger, oakley, insanity workout, s5 cases, ralph lauren, p90x workout, iphone 6 cases, beats by dre, hollister, longchamp, iphone 6s cases, hollister, iphone cases, babyliss, mont blanc, bottega veneta, nfl jerseys, ipad cases, new balance, ferragamo shoes, abercrombie and fitch, mcm handbags, hollister, asics running shoes, baseball bats, jimmy choo shoes, instyler, north face outlet, soccer jerseys, nike trainers, timberland boots, birkin bag, ghd

ninest123 said...

canada goose, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, barbour jackets, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose outlet, thomas sabo, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, links of london, pandora charms, converse outlet, moncler, gucci, juicy couture outlet, barbour, moncler, pandora jewelry, supra shoes, montre pas cher, moncler, wedding dresses, converse, doudoune canada goose, moncler, moncler, marc jacobs, louis vuitton, ugg boots uk, ugg pas cher, canada goose outlet, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, lancel, pandora charms, coach outlet, sac louis vuitton pas cher, replica watches, toms shoes, ray ban, moncler, swarovski crystal, karen millen, bottes ugg, moncler outlet, canada goose, canada goose uk, canada goose, canada goose, swarovski, hollister