A Comedian of Guilt

By Albert Goldman Life Feb. 7, 1969 The publication of a book is not often a major event in American culture. Most of our classics, when they first appeared, met with disappointing receptions, and even the much-ballyhoed best-sellers of recent years have rarely cut a...

Remembering Gil Schwartz (and Stanley Bing)

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader May 4, 2020 Let’s take a moment to celebrate the one and only Gil Schwartz who passed away a couple of days ago. Some of his grief-stricken pals were kind enough to offer some of their memories and we are the richer for it. Take it...

Jerry Goes to Death Camp!

By Bruce Handy Spy May, 1992 To artists and intellectuals, the twentieth century has posed no questions more vexing than these: First, can art make sense of the Holocaust? And second, why do the French love Jerry Lewis? The first question can’t really be answered, at...

Richard Pryor: Teetering on Jest, Living by His Wit

By Frederick D. Murphy Encore American & World News November 24, 1975 Richard Pryor may be the funniest, if not the most obscene, comedian in the world. On stage, he exploits all the social norms and taboos. The most intimate moments of human behavior are laid...

The Hollow Clown

By Alfred Bester Show January, 1964 Every show reflects the character and quality of its star. When you enter the Perry Como studio, the atmosphere is warm and friendly, and total strangers will come up and tell you about their kids. The Sid Caesars were kicky and...

Jerry Lewis, Birthday Boy

By O’Connell Driscoll Playboy January 1974 “And then they say, ‘Now, ladies and gentlemen, here’s the star of our show,’ and we both come out and go for the microphone, and you grab it and start right in, ‘Good evening, folks, it’s so great to be here in Miami,’ and I...

Will the Next Lenny Bruce Please Speak Up?

By Robert Ward GQ August, 1984 I remember everything about the first time I heard Lenny Bruce. I was filing records in the Modern Music House in Baltimore, Maryland. They were Miles Davis records, and I was putting yet another copy of his masterpiece, Kind of Blue, in...

Mr. Mike’s America

By Paul Slansky Playboy March 1983 It was a time when people walked the nation’s streets with orange-foam pads clamped to their ears and antennae bouncing above their heads. The newspapers of the day told of several thousand men and women who had allowed themselves to...

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...