The Chinese Gourmet Club

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 wife in 1960, Brooks had spent a...

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, 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...

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...

Trading Places

By Peter Richmond GQ, July 1992 The lights are rheostated low inside a customized bus parked on Tenth Avenue in Manhattan at nine o’clock on a winter dark evening. Two candle flames dance on a table. Eddie Murphy stares at them, without speaking. Hammer just dropped...

The Gookie

The origins of “The Gookie,” from one of the great showbiz memoirs, Harpo Speaks! The man who first inspired me to become an actor was a guy called Gookie. Gookie had nothing to do with the theatre. He rolled cigars in the window of a cigar store on Lexington Avenue....

Beyond Laughter

By David Hirshey Rolling Stone, April 1981  Out of the blue, in the middle of the action, an extremely clever comic actor began counting, very slowly, and with great concentration: one, two, three, four … enunciating each of the numbers with the utmost...

Martin Mull is Almost Famous

By Paul Slansky New Times, January 1978 Martin Mull’s manager has forgotten to make a reservation, so we stand in the entrance to the Universal commissary waiting for an empty table while stars like Lily Tomlin and Sly Stallone march past us to immediate seating. “I...