Our son’s news arrived via Facebook earlier this week, among some items billed as “exciting things to announce …”
“I auditioned for and was invited to take the next step in joining the fine folks at ComedyCity.”
That was pretty exciting, especially for his old Pops, the comedy nerd.
I’ve been a student of comedy ever since staying up late and watching Johnny Carson’s monologues with my dad in the late ’60s and early ’70s. My irreverent yet dry sense of humor was shaped by Carson, Carlin, Pryor and Python, with generous servings of Mad and National Lampoon. Long ago, my friend Hose once wondered whether I’d ever considered doing standup. Ah, no.
One of my Christmas gifts last year was “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy,” the tremendous work by comedian-turned-historian Kliph Nesteroff. Highly recommended.
The only problem for me, the comedy nerd, was that I’d already read much of it in Kliph’s wonderful interviews with old-time comedians on his blog, Classic Television Showbiz.
Anyhow, now there is another student of comedy in the family.
Evan, now 21, is working with our local improv comedy troupe. Several of his friends are already among its performers. Not sure when Evan will take the stage with them, but when he does, we’ll be there.
However, his old Pops, the comedy nerd, will have to keep his head full of comedy knowledge to himself. Evan will learn improv comedy the way ComedyCity wants him to learn it, which is the way it must be.
But should he ask, his old Pops will dive deep, past Carson and Carlin, past Pryor and Python.
You’ve never heard of Victor Buono, his old Pops will say, but you should hear him. He used to wedge himself into the chair next to Carson, wield an elegant cadence and slay him with comic poetry like this …
“I’m Fat,” Victor Buono, from “Heavy!” 1971. Also available digitally.
You’ve never heard of Hudson and Landry, his old Pops will say, but you should hear them. They were a couple of Los Angeles DJs who slayed their pals at the golf course with comic bits like this …
“Ajax Liquor Store,” Hudson and Landry, from “Losing Their Heads,” 1972. It’s out of print, but this cut is available digitally.