Comedy History & Why We Laugh: featuring Wayne Federman & Shawn Pelofsky
Who better to walk us through a history of standup comedy than the man who wrote the book on it, Wayne Federman, and authenticated, brilliant standup comedian Shawn Pelofsky. The first comedy club may have been a primitive weapon with some funny carvings, so we’re going back only as far as Mark Twain and Will Rogers and moving right on into podcasting and Tik Tok hilarity. Plus Fritz and Weezy are recommending American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, The History of the Sitcom on CNN and Streaming, Ted Lasso on Apple +, The History of Stand-up: From Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle by Wayne Federman and, brace for impact, Weezy and Shawn take a deep dive into The Bachelor in Paradise.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:00):
And welcome to the Media Path podcast. I'm Fritz Coleman
Louise Palanker (00:00:07):
I'm Louise Palanker.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:09):
You know, here at Media Path, we're like American pickers scrounging through the media crawlspace looking for good finds that will pique your interest and maybe bring you as much joy as, say, finding an so gas station sign from a forties under a rusty tractor. We try to do that and we also love talking to really interesting people about what makes them smart and interesting. Like Wayne Federman, who is a comedian and actor and author, a USC professor of standup and comedy history. He's written a book called History of Standup Comedy from Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle. A spectacular book if you're interested, in the great American art form that has standup comedy. Also the hilarious Sean Peloski, a comedian, an improv actor, an actor, a writer, a producer. Currently she's producing a game show on TV called Funny. You Should Ask. She's so funny and so fast. Sean Peloski. But First Weese. Yes. What do you have for
Louise Palanker (00:01:04):
Us? Oh, I've been watching tv. Fritz. Good. I recommend that. Um, so despite, or maybe because of a total lack of experience in soccer, American football coach Ted Lasso is hired to manage a British soccer slash football team. The club's owner maybe attempting to sabotage the team she won in a divorce settlement from her ex-husband. But Ted's relentless positivity is bombing tonic, which proves that love is a contagious and effective medicine. In fact, the show itself will heal your pandemic hardened soul <laugh>. The series, this series is so good in fact that the internet has risen up in protest to its kindness. Why don't you also hate on Candy and ponies? And it's a wonderful life internet. Go ahead and do that. I'll be over here watching Ted Lasso. Has anyone seen it? It's just the
Fritz Coleman (00:01:52):
Best. Yes. And it's exploding. Everybody's
Louise Palanker (00:01:55):
Watching it because it's so good. Season
Fritz Coleman (00:01:58):
Two just started. Yeah,
Louise Palanker (00:01:59):
Well I we're into it and now you have to wait. Every week. We're we're caught up, as they say in the streaming trade.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:02:04):
See, I, I just actually caught it on a, a, a plane. They, I saw about maybe they only had two episodes available. So they hook you in like that and then suddenly now you've gotta get Apple
Louise Palanker (00:02:16):
Tv. So planes are your pushers.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:02:18):
Fritz Coleman (00:02:19):
Know what paper you would say? Okay. An American comedic actor with a staff of British actors. I don't
Louise Palanker (00:02:26):
Know how It's completely international though. It's fantastic. I know. It's a soccer. They come from all over the world. No, I
Shawn Pelofsky (00:02:31):
Know, but that's why it's funny cuz it's international.
Louise Palanker (00:02:33):
I'm about soccer, but, and it's also why it's like a hug.
Fritz Coleman (00:02:36):
There it is. Alright. I have a book here. It's called American Dirt. It's a bestselling novel by Janine Cummins. This is the story of Lydia Perez and her son Luca. They are middle class Mexicans living in Acapulco. Lydia owns a bookstore. Her husband Sebastian is a fairly famous print journalist in Mexico. And the story starts with murder of 16 people in Lydia's backyard, including her husband and most of her family. The perpetrators are a rising cartel in the area called Los Hardin Nes, the gardeners. And they're named that way for the brutal way. They kill people with gardening implements.
Louise Palanker (00:03:19):
It's a comedy.
Fritz Coleman (00:03:20):
It is a comedy. It isn't a comedy, but it's fantastic. It really is. I should have said that ahead of time. So it was also
Wayne Federman (00:03:26):
Fritz Coleman (00:03:28):
Wayne Federman (00:03:29):
Okay. I'm, I'm
Fritz Coleman (00:03:30):
Not following, not following, not following. Okay. The, the only survivors of this massacre are Lydia and her son Luca. There are lines drawn between the murders and a customer at Lydia's bookstore with whom she has an intimate yet platonic relationship. The story unfolds as Lydia and Luca begin to escape across Mexico because she's convinced that the cartel will be coming for her and her son. Next. It's the story of Mexican cartels, the constant fear expressed by citizens of Mexico because of the cartels. It's about illegal immigration. It's over the last several years, one of the main topics of political conversation. It's really good. And we've talked about immigration on our side of the border a lot with the left for the last four years. While this is the reverse, it got glowing reviews by Oprah Winfrey and Stephen King. It's been option for a movie by the same people that did the Mule with Clint Eastwood. It's a really controversial book. Some Latinx writers and critics think it's an Anglo size cartoon about the immigration world. Oh, except Cummins even had part of her book toward canceled because of the threats to her safety. I found it to be a gripping read. And for somebody who doesn't know anything about that life, it was a great exposure to this dark world that Mexicans live with every day.
Louise Palanker (00:04:44):
I think that maybe the controversy is that the, the author is white and that she begins her book. Like it's a cozy, she's
Fritz Coleman (00:04:50):
Half Puerto Rican though,
Louise Palanker (00:04:52):
But she begins her book like it's a cozy mystery. Yeah. And then did you read it? No. But from what you were telling, as soon as a bookstore is involved in garden implements, then Oh,
Fritz Coleman (00:05:01):
Louise Palanker (00:05:01):
Part of the criticism was
Fritz Coleman (00:05:04):
<laugh> that it misrepresents who the migrants are. Cuz this is a middle class Mexican family, and they have good money. It's not about poverty, it's just about the politics of the cartels. And it's about this trip. They talk about labia, which is the beast, which is this train that people take their lives in their hands to jump on, to ride from Guatemala up to the United States to escape the awful circumstances. It's fantastic. Particularly if you don't know anything about that life, it might not be, you know, straight down the line accurate for everybody that knows everything about the history of Mexico. I just found it interesting.
Louise Palanker (00:05:39):
I don't think it matters what the book is or what the piece of work is. It's never completely accurate or completely satisfying to everybody. You know, not everyone is satisfied with our extrication from Afghanistan, but it's something that, that we're doing. And, you know, you can't, you know, that's a weird political, uh, <laugh> analogy. Analogous. We're used to it. I love it. No, it just means that you can't make everyone happy. Right? No,
Fritz Coleman (00:06:05):
Louise Palanker (00:06:05):
That's what it was. But you learned something and you, and you found the book
Fritz Coleman (00:06:08):
First. I, I, I thought it was beautifully written. I, it it was gripping. I I love the relationship between the mother and the son and I, I, I, you know, the, the tension of these people trying to get across Mexico, uh, was something that I hadn't considered before. And that's, that goes on every day. You know, it's, the caravan they said was coming up to take us over. Yeah. So it's
Louise Palanker (00:06:27):
Good. And now we have the tension of people trying to leave Afghanistan and billions of stories are gonna come. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> out of that. I'm quite sure. I think it's my turn to tell. Go about something. Okay. So let's see. What should I, all right, here we go. So, there's this book called The History of Standup from Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle by a Wayne Federman. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, the history of Standup Chronicles. The evolution of this American art form. From its earliest pre vaudeville practitioners like Artemis Ward and Mark Twain to the present day comedians of H B O and Netflix. Like Sean Pawlowski, drawing on his acclaimed history of standup podcast and popular university lectures, veteran comedian and adjunct USC Professor Wayne Federman guides us on this fascinating journey. Wayne is a wonderful writer, and this book reads like a story told by a wise and fascinating friend. I devoured it. I'm a history nerd, and the history of the topics about which I am most obsessed is a specially delightful to me. Thank you for this book, Wayne. Wow.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:19):
That's great. Yay. Don't, don't talk ridiculous. Give you your proper introduction. Yeah. We're gonna build towards the,
Louise Palanker (00:07:24):
I'm sorry. There's a podcast and a book and it was fun to read the book first and then listen to the podcast where he plays excerpts. It's like a highly, it's not like some kind of like low rent show like ours where people are just y you know, yacking. It's, he's got elements and you can hear some of the comedians and some of the shows that he's talking about.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:42):
I just heard him on with Larry Wilmore, who's not as much of a comedy historian as you are, but he's as enthusiastic about the art form. And it was so much fun to listen to you guys heightened each other's, you know, uh, energy about you. Like he can't talk yet. Now we're, we're gonna, we have to compliment the crap outta you and then you can come in and alright.
Louise Palanker (00:08:01):
And contest it that.
Fritz Coleman (00:08:03):
Alright, here, here's one that's sort of, uh, it's like being an adjunct professor. It's between defunct and adjacent. Is that what adjunct means? Oh, okay. Ken. Yes. But he was part of one of these HBO o or, uh, uh, CNN documentaries, which I just love. I think some of the best work on CNN other than their breaking news coverage is the documentary series, like the history of movies, history of tv, history of late night, which, uh, Wayne makes an appearance on. And this one, the history of sitcoms. I'd love this. It's an eight part series, starting with the development of the sitcom of the fifties to the present. There are 180 interviews with known in loved sitcom folks, Norman Lee and Tina Faye and Tracy Morgan and Lisa Kudrow, Jason Alexander, and Ted Danson and Jimmy Walker. Lots of people. It puts the sitcom into historical context, which is kind of what Wayne's book does about standup. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It shows us what the sitcoms of a certain era say about American culture during that same area. And what happens to the sitcom writing when the culture shifts? There are episodes about sex in the sitcom, friends in the sitcom, families in the sitcom, the workplace in the sitcom. The last episode is aired on cnn, but it's streaming now on cnn. Go. If you missed it, I highly recommend
Louise Palanker (00:09:12):
It. Yeah, that sounds awesome. So now we're gonna, you guys maybe you want to go take a smoke break. We're gonna talk about the Bachelor in Paradise. Well, the Bachelor franchise in general, I think that Sean and I are maybe students of this genre. Students, we'll call it reality dating. You may call it reality lust. You may call it whatever you wish. You may leave the room and wait until it's over. Uh, you could hide under the couch. There's lots of options. But, but
Shawn Pelofsky (00:09:37):
Why would you,
Louise Palanker (00:09:38):
It's absolutely enchanting and captivating to watch people either pretend to fall in love. Are they pretending to fall in love, Sean? Or are they
Shawn Pelofsky (00:09:46):
Falling? They're falling in love. Okay. You, you're not buying this wheezy. Uh, we're all invested How many years you do you know, the Bachelor has been on 20 years. 22. Oh.
Louise Palanker (00:09:58):
But how do you get someone to fall so deeply in love that they throw a cake into a fire? Well, that's passion,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:10:04):
First of all. Isn't isn't she Latina? That girl Marina? Is that what we're talking about? She's, she was like, miss Puerto Rico. She's beautiful. She's stunning.
Louise Palanker (00:10:12):
So you're saying she's fire.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:10:14):
I'd say she's a fiery woman. I mean, she's a full fledged, beautiful, fiery woman. And so she feels passionate about the guy that she's with. And when she told White and, and now, so
Louise Palanker (00:10:26):
You should back it up a moment because they're fighting over a guy.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:10:29):
Well, now, first of all, we're talking about Bachelor in Paradise, which is very important to know. There are, there are two different types of segments of The Bachelor. There's the Bachelor and there's also the Bachelorettes where there's one bachelor, there's one Bachelorette, and then there's 30 something people that all fight to be with this one person. And then the producers got really, really smart and they started something that's even better than the Bachelor in the Bachelorette. And it's Bachelor in Paradise, where they take previous bachelor and bachelorette contestants that didn't quite make the cut or got kicked off the first night. Nobody wanted them, they never got a rose. And then they take them and they put them on a, an an, an island in Puerto Vita, which is literally a 20, uh, maybe a 20 minute boat ride from the main island. So you too can go to this place and interrupt the whole filming, which I tried. So, um, not ashamed to say that out loud. Um, and it's so, it's so fun to see all these people all fall in love and people really have gotten married off these series, not just the Bachelor in the Bachelorette. And yes, not all of them work, but a lot of them have. And Bachelor in Paradise has married off quite a few people. People have had babies from it. So it's a thing. People love, love that is international. And if you don't love love, then get outta here because that, that's why we watch
Louise Palanker (00:11:47):
This. We watch it because it's just, it's the same plot every season. As soon as someone looks at the camera and says, Cynthia and I are completely solid, we've fallen in love. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we're gonna leave here with rings on our fingers. The next thing you know, someone's coming down the steps. Who Cynthia also has a crush
Shawn Pelofsky (00:12:05):
On. Yes. So before, and it's
Louise Palanker (00:12:06):
The same every season, Sean. And we're just as drawn to it. There's no new plot
Shawn Pelofsky (00:12:11):
Twists. But you know what, that's cuz we expect it and we love it and we embrace it. Have you stopped watching? No, never. Never. What I've noticed this year is producers have run outta things to say. So the clips that they give, you know, when they interview some of the, the people on the island now this year, everybody has the same, like, they all turn around and they're like, well Maura's very upset. I'd have to say a Moura storm is a common, like now it's something is a, a storm. Like just because they're on an island, it's a moura tsunami is a cumin <laugh> a moura hurricane. Like that's all, like, that's their only bit that they, they can seem to offer.
Louise Palanker (00:12:52):
No, but then they like to have where there's drama or something, you know, someone's gonna steal someone's mad and then they cut away to like a bird eating a crab.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:13:01):
Yeah. Well the crabs have always been part of a bachelor in paradise. Cuz apparently when you go to this island, which by the way, they do not sleep on this island overnight. In this place it looks like this big villa with bunk beds and everybody has their own makeup mirror to get ready outside with no air conditioning <laugh>. So they aren't staying there. I know for a fact really that they stay at that place where they always take them to for date nights. Oh. That's where they all stay. So
Louise Palanker (00:13:29):
They get to go indoors at the end of the night.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:13:30):
Yes. They boat them there and then oh, then they take him back to air
Louise Palanker (00:13:34):
Conditioning. Okay. So Sean, how do you feel about the revolving hosts and the drama with Chris Harrison?
Shawn Pelofsky (00:13:40):
Okay. Um, the whole Chris Harrison thing, he shot himself in the foot. So, uh, apparently if you didn't know the drama with this, there was on a previous bachelor, there was an African American bachelor, the first one ever. And it was such a big deal. Oh my gosh. And this guy was, you know, this big hunk and all the girls were fighting for him. And this one girl that he narrowed it down to that he had chosen, uh, I, I think they had done some research like right after, I guess he had chosen her and they had found out that she had attended a, uh, what was the
Louise Palanker (00:14:19):
Party called? A plantation party?
Shawn Pelofsky (00:14:20):
Yeah, it was like a, it was like in the south because
Louise Palanker (00:14:22):
She probably went to Old Miss and all the freshmen get dolled up in like Yes. You know, antebellum garb. Yes. And go to these plantation. Yeah.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:14:29):
Like sorority parties, fraternity. It's all bs. So
Louise Palanker (00:14:32):
Like that's an okay thing to do, but it's such a cultural thing. And you would need to teach the child at age eight. Like when you go to college, don't do that.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:14:40):
Yeah. <laugh>. Um, exactly. It's
Louise Palanker (00:14:43):
Extremely racist. Yeah. But they're never taught that. Yeah. So they just get dressed up and they go to a ball. Yeah. And they do that. What they're doing
Shawn Pelofsky (00:14:49):
Don't do that. And the elephant walk just, uh,
Louise Palanker (00:14:51):
Don't, don't those
Shawn Pelofsky (00:14:53):
Avoid those things. Yeah. You don't know what the elephant walk is. Come on Wayne. No. Do you Fritz, do you, did I just, is it, I
Louise Palanker (00:15:00):
You what I'm talking about. You make a trunk with your hands. No, no. <laugh> did I just, nobody knows what this is. Is it like the walk of shame? No, you carry your head heel.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:15:09):
Louise Palanker (00:15:10):
Wait, is it when you don't forget? No, it's <laugh>
Shawn Pelofsky (00:15:16):
Very good. It's when the fraternities, it's a hazing process where guys will, uh, take their privates and the other guy has to hold their privates with their hand below and they have to walk around like they're holding an outfit. Anyways, it's an old school thing. I never did the elephant walk because, well, mine's not that big, but it's a, it's a whole thing, but, and
Louise Palanker (00:15:36):
It, when filmed it can ruin careers.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:15:37):
Great. So can we get back to the Antebellum party? Yes. Anyways, so she
Louise Palanker (00:15:40):
Goes to this antebellum party and then, and it's confusing cuz there's two people named Rachel in this story.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:15:46):
Yes. So, so it got, it leaked out that there were pictures of her at this. And then, uh, either there was a who there was a, who there was, well there was those two, there was a whole uproar about this on social media. And so one of the previous Bachelorettes who was the first African American bachelorette was interviewing Chris Harrison. It was on e it was on, it was on a major, I can't remember which TV show it was. And she'd asked him how he felt about that. And he actually defended Rachel the girl in the pictures and just said, come on. It was 2018 when this happened. And it was like
Louise Palanker (00:16:27):
Scree. He tried, he was mansplaining and race explaining and it was not a good look. And he knew that she was the one that Matt picked. So he's just trying to like, rewrite her story so that it's palatable. But it wasn't going down.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:16:43):
No, it did. And it did not bode well. Therefore, he's no longer the host of Bachelor Nation and Bachelor Nation lost their shit. They were not happy about it. And yet what was even crazier is, here comes Bachelor in Paradise and you, you know, you always look forward to seeing Chris Harrison. And now they replaced him. First it starts off with David Spade, and I'm just gonna say right now, no one should be putting David Spade amongst a bunch of 20 something year old woman.
Louise Palanker (00:17:11):
I was so worried for them.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:17:12):
I was. So I do feel like, yeah, I, I I, I definitely,
Louise Palanker (00:17:16):
It's good for David Spade though. <laugh>. It's good for David Spade. There
Shawn Pelofsky (00:17:19):
Was a total, and I'm not gonna lie, like I felt when, uh, Demi came out mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who looks, this girl has been on previous, uh, bachelor in Paradise and she's kind of always the troublemaker. Well, on her oldest day, she may look 14, she looks about 15. And David Spade's face lit up like a tree, like a Christmas tree. And it was like, it was un uncomf. It was like almost uncomfortable. Yeah. It was like extreme. Extreme
Louise Palanker (00:17:45):
Shawn Pelofsky (00:17:45):
See her. Yeah. Yeah. She looked like a pork chop to David Spades, <laugh>. So I was like, we gotta get Demi outta here. We gotta protect her.
Louise Palanker (00:17:52):
So they have revolving hosts. So the next week it's Lance Bass, so she's safe, but,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:17:56):
You know, I was
Louise Palanker (00:17:56):
Happy. She's gonna be okay. Right. We love our lance.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:17:59):
Yeah. I mean, like, no one's gonna be uncomfortable with Lance Bass. Like he's gonna sit down with everybody and he can have a one-on-one with the girls. And that's like, you feel comfortable about who
Louise Palanker (00:18:09):
Else are gonna be the, I guess they're rotating the host. So who else is coming?
Shawn Pelofsky (00:18:12):
Um, it looks like, uh, wink
Wayne Federman (00:18:14):
Martindale is the next one. <laugh> just came over the wire.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:18:19):
Definitely the wire. The wire. Definitely. Cause that's the
Louise Palanker (00:18:22):
Technology they have on this beach. They have a wire,
Wayne Federman (00:18:25):
Have a wire just came over the wire.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:18:26):
Yeah. It's definitely, uh, wink Barton.
Louise Palanker (00:18:29):
So we recommend The Bachelor in Paradise. If you love love and if you love crabs crawling across at Beaches, it's just, it's got it all.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:18:37):
And it's drama. And they know, they know how to light the fire. They do. And, and you, you buy it
Louise Palanker (00:18:42):
And throw a cake into it.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:18:43):
Like my, my husband is a Latino and, uh, he and I, we both, we love, love. Like, this is why I married this man. We can watch any of these reality love shows all day long. I don't care what it is, but Bachelor, bachelor in Paradise. We, you gotta be invested. You watch with your husband.
Louise Palanker (00:19:00):
No, he does not really enjoy this type of programming. He likes things exploding and people being tortured and he plays it very loud.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:19:07):
Louise Palanker (00:19:09):
Have you not seen FAA <laugh>? So yeah. He likes things like, uh, uh, yeah. But we find things, we both like Ted Lasso, we find things that we watch together. Yeah. But I can't get, like I'm obsessed with Big Brother and I, I'll tell him the plots of Big Brother and he finds that really intriguing, but he doesn't really wanna sit there and, and watch it. It yeah. Makes him kind of gag.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:19:30):
I can get my husband into any reality TV show except any of the Real Housewives. That's when he shuts down. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> once in a while he'll keep it's
Fritz Coleman (00:19:40):
Homicidal like I do. Yeah. And, and I just wanna go through the television Yeah. And start slapping and
Louise Palanker (00:19:44):
Yeah. I can't, those people create drama out of nothing. There's no contest, no one wins. So I'm not invested. So Fritz, I think you should introduce Wayne.
Fritz Coleman (00:19:54):
Louise Palanker (00:19:54):
Wait. He was on the first season of The Bachelorette
Fritz Coleman (00:19:57):
<laugh> <laugh>. All right. Our guest, uh, wa was actually interviewed, we were talking about the history of whatever shows on cnn and he was, uh, interviewing the one that aired in Make Call the History of Late Night on, uh, cnn. He's an adjunct professor of standup comedy and comedy history at usc. That's the University of Southern California here in the United States. A comedian, an actor and author who wrote the history of Standup, which we will discuss. He wrote also, and this is interesting cuz I don't know anything about basketball. He wrote a a, a book about pistol. Pete Merovich, who was an iconic n b player. He's a writer, a comedy historian, a musician. He went to N Y U, studied acting with Stella Adler. This dude, he's way overqualified to be on this podcast. I mean, he had a one person show in New York City. Wow.
He started comedy in the New York clubs, came to LA in the late eighties, did the Tonight Show, did a half hour special in Comedy Central, played Larry Sanders's brother on the Larry Sanders show. He's done films, he's done commercials. And he's gonna reenact a couple of 'em for us. Yep. In 2009, he went to New York to help launch late night with Jimmy Fallon. He was Fallon's first head monologue writer, written for the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the DGA Awards. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And here's a show I can't wait to talk about. He produced, along with Judd Apatow, the Zen Diaries of Gary Shandling on H B O. And in Mark's dropped his book called The History of Standup Comedy from Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle, Wayne Federman.
Wayne Federman (00:21:26):
That was incredible. Thank
Fritz Coleman (00:21:28):
You. Thank you. We don't have any more time, but you know, be sure to read.
So before I, I I just want to say that I was so affected by the Gary Shandling documentary, proud of you and proud of Judge. I sent Judge an email. I said, I know you're Mr. 40 year old version and Mr. Anchorman, but this is probably the best piece of work you've ever done. He said, the response I've gotten to this reflects that. He said, I can't believe the response we got to that. I think every starting standup comedian should be forced to watch that. It was so human. And Gary was so smart and zen and thoughtful. It was really wonderful. It was a great piece of work.
Wayne Federman (00:22:10):
Yeah. That's more him. That's Judd. I mean, I was just No,
Fritz Coleman (00:22:13):
I know, but you were part of that project and I'm sure
Wayne Federman (00:22:15):
A little bit. Yeah. But yeah, that was, that was incredible. That was one of those, sometimes projects have that like angel dust or whatever that's sprinkled and that's what that was. It was just a, he was the perfect guy to do it. Gary does, didn't have, I hate to say this, like a wife or kids or anyone trying to protect his legacy. So it was like, we could be as honest as we wanted. And I, I was just thrilled to be part of it. Thank you.
Fritz Coleman (00:22:40):
But you did have his writing, he had his diaries.
Wayne Federman (00:22:42):
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. These
Fritz Coleman (00:22:42):
Things that look like hieroglyphics. I remember he used to go to the clubs and bring that saw legal paper and he'd have the same one over his whole standup com uh, career. That's true. And nobody could read it but him. It was all, it
Wayne Federman (00:22:54):
Was very scribing, very scr.
Fritz Coleman (00:22:55):
Anyway, that was a great piece of Did
Louise Palanker (00:22:57):
You, did you know Gary?
Wayne Federman (00:22:59):
Did I Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, besides, remember Larry Sanders shoot, besides playing Stan Sanders, I also was, he had a weekly basketball game at his house and I was part of that for 20 years. And he, I don't know, it's just weird. He took a liking to me. I don't know why. And so, well,
Louise Palanker (00:23:15):
I can see that
Wayne Federman (00:23:16):
Why. But he, he was just great, you know, just great. And I was thrilled to be his friend. And, but it was always, I was always a little like, oh, it was Gary Chanley <laugh>. You know what I mean? It was, it was a, it, I don't think it was like a, but
Louise Palanker (00:23:28):
He was, wasn't her feeling of being able to honor him, that was satisfying
Wayne Federman (00:23:33):
With that documentary? Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. I was just surprised. And many people were into it because Yeah. Younger comedians barely know him. No, barely. Cuz his, that show was never in syndication. Neither one of the, you know, so it's like, it's sort of like already a niche thing. So,
Fritz Coleman (00:23:51):
But in the history of sitcoms and things that spun off outta sitcoms, it's, it's legendary. As was his showtime show. It's Gary. Oh,
Wayne Federman (00:23:58):
You remember that one? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But he was so creative. Yeah. So what was it at the Comedy and Magic Club? Where did you, where'd you do sex with him? I,
Fritz Coleman (00:24:06):
I, I, I, I did sex with him everywhere. Wherever he would come in with his bad piece of paper, <laugh>. But the first time I saw him and, and this all May has made me quit comedy. Oh, wow. Um, I I, I came from Buffalo, New York where Weezy lived, and I, this was at the time when, in order to, I kicked him out. See, in order to succeed, you had to work at the Comedy store. Right. It was like, you know, it was like the mountain of mud in close encounters of the third time. You, you had to go there. And so I, I came to California. I had nowhere to stay. I stayed in the, uh, on the floor in a sleeping bag of a woman I had done some commercials with. And I went down to the Comedy Store. My first night here had never been there.
Wayne Federman (00:24:48):
What, what year kind of is this?
Fritz Coleman (00:24:49):
Wayne Federman (00:24:50):
Okay. Okay. Keep going.
Fritz Coleman (00:24:51):
So, um, and I, I had started comedy in Buffalo, New York. I, I, uh, we had our own comedy night at a jazz club. And I was, I thought, well, I'm ready for the big time. I've got a solid 10 minutes, I'm ready to go. I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm way ready to Gary Ray. Right. And I got out and on stage at the comedy store was Gary Shandling, Uhhuh <affirmative>, uh, was, uh, Jimmy JJ Walker.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:25:15):
I knew you were gonna say that. Fl it's always, he's always there. It's always Jimmy, jj, JJ
Fritz Coleman (00:25:19):
Walker. But, uh, and the closer was Charles Fleischer. Right, right. Who may be one of the great undiscovered of standup. And uh, and Billy Crystal was doing his Muhammad Ali thing, and Shandling was getting ready for his first Tonight show. And after I watched two and a half hours of just mind blowing talent mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I said, I'm going to hitchhike back to Buffalo. I am so unqualified to be in this town with these acts because I had no idea how good everybody was.
Wayne Federman (00:25:53):
What kept you in? What kept
Fritz Coleman (00:25:55):
You here? I said, I'm gonna stay. I, I sold an insurance policy to come out here. And I said to myself, I will stay until my money's gone, and then I will go home and apologize.
Wayne Federman (00:26:03):
I don't understand that insurance policy. What does that mean
Fritz Coleman (00:26:05):
You? But I don't know if you can do it now, but in I had an insurance policy that does anyone
Wayne Federman (00:26:09):
Know? Would, that means it
Louise Palanker (00:26:10):
Like there was a penalty
Wayne Federman (00:26:11):
For you sold an
Shawn Pelofsky (00:26:12):
Insurance policy. I think I need one Sue penalty
Louise Palanker (00:26:14):
For early withdrawal. And you take the penalty for the early withdrawal and you take the early withdrawal. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:26:18):
You can sell insurance policy back to the company and the, but
Wayne Federman (00:26:22):
How did you have an insurance policy?
Fritz Coleman (00:26:24):
Well, because I was trying to be conscientious about being a human, and I wanted to ensure myself. And if I died, then, you know, I'm, who was going,
Louise Palanker (00:26:32):
Who was gonna be the beneficiary?
Fritz Coleman (00:26:33):
I don't know. Yeah. This is,
Wayne Federman (00:26:35):
This is the important part of
Shawn Pelofsky (00:26:36):
The story. Listen,
Fritz Coleman (00:26:37):
Pete's what you're driving at that I didn't. That I didn't Did
Wayne Federman (00:26:39):
You have a family? We
Fritz Coleman (00:26:41):
Yes. Yes. I'm
Louise Palanker (00:26:42):
Not the one interrogating you about the insurance policy.
Wayne Federman (00:26:44):
No. You're it's way. No, but the way you said it was like, I, if you said I sold my pickup truck that I grew up with, they can't, to live a dream. I'd be like, okay, I understand that. I, I sold an insurance policy.
Fritz Coleman (00:26:56):
I don't know if it one of those term insurance things. So if you don't go through the, the whole term,
Wayne Federman (00:27:01):
Was it a
Fritz Coleman (00:27:01):
Life insurance you selling? Yes. Life insurance. I got it. It was only worth like $7,000, you know, which is a bad reflection on the quality of my life. But, uh, but I sold this. I
Wayne Federman (00:27:12):
Just love it. I'm fascinating.
Fritz Coleman (00:27:12):
And I, so I got out here. Yeah. And I thought, seven,
Wayne Federman (00:27:14):
With your insurance money, listen
Fritz Coleman (00:27:16):
To the, that's that's what it was. And I thought to myself, $7,000 I'll be able to live for a, and I got out to California and I lived a month with $7,000 the first and lasted apartment and then food. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I was broke. So I got out here and uh, and I went to the Comedy store and Chanley was on stage and he hadn't done Tonight shows yet. So I wasn't aware of his skill. He was a great writer. And I, he just sucked the life outta me. I felt so unqualified to be out here. So, but then I got to know him and, you know, anyway, that was a great piece of work. Did
Wayne Federman (00:27:54):
You have like a moment after that where you were like, well you got on stage either there or some other club and you were like, yeah, maybe I can make this happen.
Fritz Coleman (00:28:01):
No, I would get on stage and I couldn't stand the sound of my own voice. Didn't like my own material. That's, so I just did, I did open mic nights where for two, at, at the comedy store at the store where you go sign up at two o'clock in the afternoon and you go back on a Monday night. And there are a thousand people there. Many with, uh, borderline personality course disorder. Yeah.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:28:20):
They're still there. Yes.
Fritz Coleman (00:28:21):
Wayne Federman (00:28:22):
And it does draw those type of people stand.
Fritz Coleman (00:28:24):
You could only go through that once in your life. That whole scene. Yeah. It's so depressing. And I just did it. And it was just dogged determination. And then she made me a paid regular and I started getting booked.
Wayne Federman (00:28:33):
Well, what about that night when she like said that to you? Was that a thing?
Fritz Coleman (00:28:37):
I didn't trust it. She was, it was too nice to me. I, I didn't trust that, that I had talent. I said, wait for killing.
Wayne Federman (00:28:43):
It's interesting. It's so,
Fritz Coleman (00:28:44):
No, no. I, you know, I, I I wasn't completely deflated, but I just remember the first night I got here seeing Chanley and seeing these
Wayne Federman (00:28:53):
Fritz Coleman (00:28:54):
Guys who were at the top of their game. And I thought, what have I done? What made me think I could ever come out
Shawn Pelofsky (00:28:59):
Here? You thought maybe you needed to get a catchphrase like Donald Mind.
Louise Palanker (00:29:03):
Well, I'll say this about the Comedy Store. I, I, I was made a paid regular and I couldn't hack it. Now Sean is a female. Right. She was
Shawn Pelofsky (00:29:14):
Louise Palanker (00:29:15):
And she, so I've heard she's a lot more talented than me. I think I knew no, that I wasn't good enough to like, to be able to sustain life amongst all these bullies. How did you do it as a woman? Oh, that's
Wayne Federman (00:29:27):
A good question.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:29:27):
Well, how do I still do it as a woman? Yeah. Is cuz that is my home club. That is the, that is the place I love to work the most. And that's really, I find to be out of any comedy club. And then I haven't performed at every comedy club in the world, but I find that place to be the number one war zone. And if you can't get good in there, then you can't get good anywhere.
Louise Palanker (00:29:47):
And that's what happened to me. So I'm not any good at standup comedy, but
Shawn Pelofsky (00:29:50):
I, but I was fortunate I didn't have to,
Fritz Coleman (00:29:53):
You got caught in some bad sexual politics in there.
Louise Palanker (00:29:55):
I think that, well, Sean can speak to this because there, there's a type of woman that, that can own her space on stage and know that she deserves it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that she's earned it. And I'm not her. I'm more, I'm more of a, like a writer. Kind of a, like a, a mellow per, like, I'm like Wayne. But, uh, they don't go after Wayne because he's a man. Right. So if, if a woman is like that and you're not sleeping with someone, you're just taking up their stage time and not giving them anything that they want and they're horrible. Uh, that's what I experienced. But Sean
Wayne Federman (00:30:30):
Is No, I'm sure it was that. Yeah. The way you described it as a war zone, would, did you have that same experience?
Shawn Pelofsky (00:30:35):
Honestly, I, I, you know, I started doing some shows and, uh, outside shows in the Belly Room. Uhhuh <affirmative>. And I got recommended by someone to, uh, showcase in front of Mitzi Shore. I was very lucky. Lucky I never did the open mic nights Good at the Comedy Store. Interesting. I showcased, not only did I not showcase at the Los Angeles Comedy Store, and usually when you're showcasing there, as we've all know, usually Mitzi is sitting in the back in this one chair. And what happens is when you get up there to do three minutes on stage on a Sunday night to showcase for her, other comedians come out like roaches to cock block you Yep. To keep you from getting past. And so I had been witness to that. I had seen it. And I was lucky enough that at the time when I came on, Mitzi was work was looking for more women to put in the belly room to get the energy back. Cuz it, you know, the comedy stores haunted. And when that room was Right. And not possessed it had a bunch of women in it. <laugh>. So she was trying to bring a women show back in there.
Louise Palanker (00:31:38):
Women's scare away ghosts.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:31:39):
Yes, exactly. You know it. And so, especially Jewish women, we scare the shit out of them. <laugh>. So she brought, she, you know, I showcased, I got to showcase in La Jolla. Right. And I got to do one
Wayne Federman (00:31:52):
Of the first road clubs in the history of standup. Yes. It's in
Louise Palanker (00:31:56):
Your book with a condominium. Yes. That was not, was not yet. Well,
Wayne Federman (00:31:59):
I'm not talking about that club. But yes, that was
Louise Palanker (00:32:01):
Coded in Embodied Fluids.
Wayne Federman (00:32:02):
Yes. That's one
Shawn Pelofsky (00:32:03):
Of the first. Yeah. And so I, I was fortunate I got to showcase the La Jolla Comedy Store. I didn't get three minutes. I got 10 mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then I went on stage.
Wayne Federman (00:32:12):
Your entire, your entire act. 10
Fritz Coleman (00:32:13):
Minutes. No, seriously.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:32:14):
That's 10 minutes. And I was told if she likes you
Fritz Coleman (00:32:17):
And her daughter was right in the La Jolla Comedy Store at the
Shawn Pelofsky (00:32:19):
Time. Yeah. I didn't see her there that night. <affirmative>. It was just Mitsy in the back. The room was half filled, is quiet.
Fritz Coleman (00:32:25):
Oh, she was down there.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:32:26):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I brought some friends. Yeah. And, um, after you were done, they, people told me, she'll either pull you aside or she will ignore you, just move on. And so I was done with my 10 minutes and then she, you know, I came towards the back and she, she called me over and because I did like a Barbara Streen impression or whatever, and she pulled me aside and she goes, bar bra <laugh>. You're very funny. Colin Monday. And that was it. Wow. And so that's how, and so I kind of, I was lucky enough to, you know, surpass anything that, you know, most people went through. Right. Trying to get into the Comedy store. Okay.
Louise Palanker (00:33:06):
So tell one joke from the night you got passed and then Wayne, you tell one joke from the night you got passed. Oh
Wayne Federman (00:33:11):
Christ. I can't remember.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:33:13):
Oh God. Um, I know, I'm trying to think too,
Fritz Coleman (00:33:19):
While you're thinking. Yeah. Do you think Mitzi was, um, biased against female comics for the first part of the history of the comedy story? I tried to get Elaine Boozer to talk about this and she wouldn't talk about it.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:33:30):
Is that because of the documentary you watched or is that just because in general was what you found
Wayne Federman (00:33:36):
Women create the belly room specifically
Fritz Coleman (00:33:38):
Yeah. For girl. But that seems so
Shawn Pelofsky (00:33:41):
To separate the women. Like
Fritz Coleman (00:33:43):
Yeah. And she would never give anybody, uh, a a ma what
Wayne Federman (00:33:46):
About that? I don't know her name. That Japanese, it seemed
Shawn Pelofsky (00:33:50):
Like she, uh, as Suko. Is it a,
Wayne Federman (00:33:52):
Like a Yeah, it seemed like you really championed her. Was it
Fritz Coleman (00:33:55):
Bit, yeah. This is pre that. This is, it
Shawn Pelofsky (00:33:57):
Fritz Coleman (00:33:57):
Like, okay. The early eighties when, when, you know, people like, well Elaine Boosler had no problem cause she was already had, she was, yeah. She was, uh, established before she got out here. So she, like you didn't have to go through the whole vetting process. Well,
Louise Palanker (00:34:09):
My theory is that Mitzi claimed to champion women, but she actually liked having all of the male energy focused on her.
Wayne Federman (00:34:17):
Yeah. Right. Okay. I agree with that. I agree with that. But I think she did. There was definitely Louise Stuard and all of those women were Yeah. Part
Shawn Pelofsky (00:34:26):
Of it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. But I think it did what you're saying, and someone asked me that question cuz they had kind of wi you know, had watched documentaries and was like, it seemed like just from observing and hearing about it, that that was what she was, it seemed like it was male friendly and that the women were put up in the belly room at first. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:34:45):
Carrie Snow, you had a lot of people who really were skilled comedians that never got original or main room spots. And it seemed, I, it to me, although again, Elaine wouldn't commit to this, she was very diplomatic.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:34:56):
Wayne Federman (00:34:56):
I, I, wait, when were you speaking to her? About her?
Fritz Coleman (00:34:58):
She, about two months ago. Right here? Yeah.
Wayne Federman (00:35:00):
Yeah. Oh, in this seat?
Fritz Coleman (00:35:02):
She was, she
Louise Palanker (00:35:02):
Was over there on Zoom. Oh. Oh, okay. She didn't wanna leave her house. She like, I don't understand. She's like, I'm afraid to leave my house. Two weeks later she's in Europe on Facebook. <laugh> <laugh>. Cause she got over that. You couldn't go
Shawn Pelofsky (00:35:13):
Louise Palanker (00:35:14):
Podcast Orly go
Fritz Coleman (00:35:15):
To Italy. Anyway.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:35:16):
Yeah. I'm very grateful. If it wasn't for Mitzi Shore, I wouldn't, I wouldn't be here to today. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I wouldn't be working in this business. She was the one that gave me the chance, that gave me the platform. It was male comedy owners that really weren't seeing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that weren't giving me that opportunity. And it was Mitzi that really mentored me. And to this day, I mean, I, I, I am one of the very few people and she used to live down the street for me. And so I would go and visit her and, and, um, Jeff Scott, who may rest in peace, who, uh, was the piano player of the comedies for, for 25 years. Uh, the Shores Let Jeff and I see her like, uh, probably about four days before she passed. What? Oh, wow. And so we came in and we sat down with her and she couldn't really speak. She couldn't speak at the time, but she was there and present. She could still listen in hear. And so I sat down with her and just kind of spilled my guts with everything that I wanted to say to her. And then I would answer as her, you know, back,
Wayne Federman (00:36:16):
Shawn Pelofsky (00:36:16):
Barbara, you know, Barbara, are you done yet? I'm hungry. You're going on and on. I don't care anymore. You know, and I'm like, oh, Mitzi. It's funny that you're thinking that. And, but, uh, no,
Fritz Coleman (00:36:29):
I appreciate. Listen, you had to work there and when you got passed to be a paid regular at the store, it was like graduating from college.
Louise Palanker (00:36:35):
No, for me, she would put my name on the list and the men wouldn't type it up. Yeah. They would erase my name and I know, but not tell me that I had a spot. And then Mitzi would see, would think that I was a no-show. It
Fritz Coleman (00:36:46):
Was when you first got passed, it was a, it was a point of pride though.
Louise Palanker (00:36:49):
It was, but I just couldn't, I could not tough it out. I It's okay. It was making me worse as a comedian. It was deflating my confidence. It's
Shawn Pelofsky (00:36:56):
Definitely a very dark place. You never,
Fritz Coleman (00:36:58):
You didn't work much, right? Were improv. No. Was an improv guy. Yeah, yeah,
Louise Palanker (00:37:02):
Wayne Federman (00:37:02):
Yeah. That's right. That was my, but at, when I got out here, which was a little later in like 87 mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there was like a division, like you were either working at the improv,
Fritz Coleman (00:37:11):
Couldn't have, and they would've spies to see who was doing Spys. Yeah.
Wayne Federman (00:37:14):
And I didn't want to be part of any of that, so I just was just like, I'll just, he's putting me up. I'll just do this. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. So, I mean, I've done Spotto over the years, but I've never, I was, she never passed me or I met her. Oh, she didn't pass you? I only met her a couple times. Yeah.
Louise Palanker (00:37:29):
Okay. So Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:37:30):
But she didn't pass Seinfeld either,
Wayne Federman (00:37:31):
So. Right, right, right, right. That,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:37:33):
Yeah. Well, it took her a while to pass Gary Chanley, wasn't it? Like nine showcases? Yeah.
Wayne Federman (00:37:37):
Yeah. But she, you know, look, that's, that club is amazing. But can we go back to Elaine Boler a little bit? Because I write about her in the book. Yeah. Because she was so important mm-hmm. <affirmative> as a comedian. And especially the way, you know, she started, she was a waitress at the improv in New York. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And like, uh, there was other com, Andy Kaufman in, you know, not only liked her, but it was like, I think you could do this. And then so she, I I don't know, and I don't know if you know this, like those specials, she did like five specials from Showtime. Yeah. Like a three year period or something.
Louise Palanker (00:38:10):
Yeah. She had to pay for 'em herself. Yeah. She had a boyfriend at the time who believed in her, but then they, they changed
Wayne Federman (00:38:16):
The one on the ship.
Louise Palanker (00:38:18):
I'm not sure. The story of her first special is something that she absolutely fought for and did on her own, on her own dime. Yeah. Because
Fritz Coleman (00:38:25):
No one wanted to give an hour nobody to do a female to
Louise Palanker (00:38:27):
A woman from a man's point of view. Well,
Wayne Federman (00:38:29):
They did, they did old time.
Louise Palanker (00:38:30):
Why would I wanna listen to a woman talk for an hour? I already get that at home with my wife <laugh>. Like men just, were not understanding why anyone would watch this. Not grasping that. Maybe half of the people in the world are what women who might wanna hear a woman talk about the things that matter to her. So,
Wayne Federman (00:38:46):
Well, she is on the first young comedian special. It wasn't called Young Comedians. It was called Freddy Prince and Friends. Yeah. She is on, she's the only female on that. So
Louise Palanker (00:38:56):
Had she done her, had her special A
Wayne Federman (00:38:58):
By then? No, this is, that's 76.
Louise Palanker (00:39:00):
Wayne Federman (00:39:00):
Wow. That's way early. Yeah.
Louise Palanker (00:39:01):
They were gonna call it Freddie Princeton One
Wayne Federman (00:39:03):
Lady. And yeah, like,
Louise Palanker (00:39:05):
So I have a, a question for you, Wayne, about anything. It's, it's the one of the first thesis of your book. Like at the very beginning of your, of your book, you say that comedy doesn't age Well, that's true. But that current
Wayne Federman (00:39:15):
Comedian standup doesn't age
Louise Palanker (00:39:16):
Well. Right. That standup doesn't a age well, but that current comedians are tremendously influenced by those they follow. So aged comedy is an inside taste.
Wayne Federman (00:39:25):
No, no, no, no. I'm saying comedian style is influenced by comedians, you see? Right. So you're like, oh, I see Chank doing this. I I wanna adapt that. I don't know if there was any comedians you saw that influenced you or your style, or like how you wanted do
Fritz Coleman (00:39:41):
I think all the New York guys, the comic strip and the catch guys mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like Paul Riser, Larry Miller and Seinfeld all studied Robert Klein. This
Wayne Federman (00:39:51):
Is a perfect example. That's a perfect.
Louise Palanker (00:39:52):
Yeah. But is it the jokes themselves,
Fritz Coleman (00:39:55):
It's delivery, it's which part? It's the New York
Louise Palanker (00:39:56):
Tables. Which part doesn't age well, which part?
Fritz Coleman (00:39:59):
Wayne Federman (00:40:00):
Standup. Yeah. The topics. None the words. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, all of it. And the, the topics, the style, the, and especially the jargon. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like, just how you're saying, a joke can immediately age you and you're like, oh, th they can smell it. I remember when I started the comic strip, like those, uh, Catskill guys would come down and they were just like, well, they're not even getting this vibe at all. And I'm sure in the Catskills they're like, oh, these guys at the comic strip are, you know, a catcher rises star don't know what they're doing. So it's always like an a, this evolving story. That's why so many older comedians that were named Jack, there was a lot of 'em named Jackie and Hecky and Checky and you know what I mean? They all had this, they all had a specific kind of style, a rhythm. And that as soon as Robert Klein came along and Carlin
Louise Palanker (00:40:50):
Suddenly that than jazz rhythm,
Wayne Federman (00:40:51):
That seemed different. Yeah. Even let's talk about Lenny Bruce. Okay. Even if you listen to Lenny Bruce, it's hard to even get in because he's like this kind of hipster, you know, BBO beats guy using a lot of jazz and throws in Yiddish. So it's even hard to even get into kind of what he sort of doing. So,
Fritz Coleman (00:41:10):
But the gist, he started as a Catskills type direct standup before
Wayne Federman (00:41:14):
He was an impressionist. Yeah. He was an impressionist.
Louise Palanker (00:41:17):
But the gist of your book is that comedy is this energy and whatever the pipelines are that open. Yeah. Whether it's radio or television mm-hmm. <affirmative> or the internet or podcast comedy will rush into it and
Wayne Federman (00:41:31):
Adapt. Yep. Yeah. That is, that's that's one of the thesis.
Louise Palanker (00:41:34):
Yeah. Yeah. And it fills all those spaces with this kind of wisdom or zeitgeist of whatever matters to us in that moment. And it, it's just, it's just
Wayne Federman (00:41:44):
Fascinating. Do you agree with that or?
Louise Palanker (00:41:46):
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. No, I think it, that's a fascinating premise. And if, if you, if you look at the, the grand scheme of comedy, it's always been the truth. It, you know, it's, it's wearing a joke, but it's the truth that we need to hear.
Fritz Coleman (00:42:01):
Sometimes it's speak truth
Wayne Federman (00:42:02):
To power, but sometimes the truth, it is a truth to power. Because let's take Rodney for example. I don't know if he was a truth to power guy or even revealing, you know, I don't think he really wore a pork chop around his neck, but
Louise Palanker (00:42:14):
He was talking about in insecurity, he and everyone can relate to it.
Wayne Federman (00:42:16):
Yeah. Yeah. There was an underlying thing of like, I can't, nobody likes me. That sort of thing. Yeah. I agree with you. I agree with you. So it's interesting. It's an interesting yet. So now I,
Fritz Coleman (00:42:27):
I love the start of your book because I happen to think that Twain is the funniest man ever to write on a piece of paper. I I mean, if you look at some of his political essays Yeah, yeah. They are. As biting as Bill Maher is on a good night. I mean, they, he, he was, he was really the way he took after Roosevelt and those guys. Unbelievable.
Wayne Federman (00:42:46):
And the weird thing was that Mitzy didn't pass him. <laugh> <laugh>. It was the thing. He didn't see it. Do the voice, do the voice to
Shawn Pelofsky (00:42:53):
Mark. I I'm sorry. Mark Twain, move on. You're not good enough. Go write something.
Wayne Federman (00:43:01):
You're a writer.
Louise Palanker (00:43:02):
Everyone knows your real name
Fritz Coleman (00:43:03):
Is Thank you. Thank is Sammy. Thank you guys. And, uh, you know, uh, they were doing standup. They were doing public speaking. As a matter of fact, Twain paid his way outta debt by doing a Yeah.
Wayne Federman (00:43:14):
A hundred percent Ro he knows the old story. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:43:15):
Yeah. Wow. No, but, but just like Willie Nelson, there was Right.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:43:20):
He smoked his way, I think
Louise Palanker (00:43:22):
Fritz Coleman (00:43:23):
Um, but there was no voice amplification. They had a thousand people in a room. And how did they do
Wayne Federman (00:43:30):
That? Uh, that's one, well that's one of the things I do talk about in the book is the introduction of the microphone really revolutionized standup comedy. So for those guys that did it before, I don't know, I mean, there's no footage of Mark Twain obviously doing, there's no recording of his voice. There's some film footage of him at home, you know, at the end of his life. So, I don't know, I guess it was, you know, at the time those theaters were really built acoustically, uh, sophisticated. So everything, there was no microphones for anything. There was a comedian named Burt Williams who was a Vaudeville star. And I write about him in his book and has a quote. He said he would, before he did his set, would go out and kind of in an empty and stand and find the spot on the stage where his voice would reverberate back to him. Wow. And he said he stood on that spot for the entire time, like a postage stamp. So I don't That's a great question.
Fritz Coleman (00:44:24):
Yeah. So those guys, Artemis Ward and Mark Twain, right. They, for lecture, even though he wasn't funny, Charles Dickens made a huge amount of money doing the lecture circuit. Yep,
Wayne Federman (00:44:33):
Fritz Coleman (00:44:34):
But, but after that, and you brought up Vaudeville, isn't that really where standup comedy, as we think about it, got honed? They were the host of these vaudeville shows and they did a little, and I'm, I'm, I'm asking you. Yeah,
Wayne Federman (00:44:47):
That was, yeah. Yeah.
Louise Palanker (00:44:48):
Lord sa Shey Green, my mom always used to say
Wayne Federman (00:44:52):
Those. Right. No. Before even all of those guys, the, uh, yeah. Well, it's interesting. I, my favorite thing about writing the book was there was a whole bunch of comedians, Frank Tinney, these, Frank Faye, these are guys that are kind of lost to history, but were very influential to the young comedians starting out in Vaudeville. And those young comedians, we know Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Milton Burrow, they were the young comics like, uh, how do I get into this? What do I do? And so from there, so they influenced them. And you never think of Bob Hope as like a young comic, like trying to figure out even how to do this, because he was sort of a song of dance man. So, yeah. So in Vaudeville, there was a guy, Frank Vay, terrible guy, but he used, they started having them, MC, I don't know if you've ever seen in Vaudeville, where they would have like the placard of like, oh, this is, uh, you know, and so there was no introductions. They'd just put out the card and then the act would go on, and then they, the act would leave. And then like, oh, here we go. This is gonna be, uh, you know, Nora Banes or something like that. And she's gonna sing Shine on Harvest Moon. So the, the Palace Theater started using comedians as MCs to sort of tie it all again, inter
Fritz Coleman (00:46:06):
Wayne Federman (00:46:06):
Material. Yeah. So that's, so, so now the guy keeps coming back. He can do a callback to an earlier thing. He can make fun of an act,
Louise Palanker (00:46:14):
And it's giving an act time to set up. And you were talking about like the correlation between Vaudeville and then the Ed Sullivan show. Yeah. And how they would have two or three comedians off on, on Sullivan. And I'm sure it was the same thing. They had elephants that they had to get into place and everything. Right, right, right. So the com you know, it was a live show, so they put the comedian out there while they got everything plate spinners set up, and then the curtain would open and they'd start spinning plates. Yeah,
Wayne Federman (00:46:34):
Louise Palanker (00:46:35):
That's the, that's the purpose it serves. It's
Wayne Federman (00:46:36):
Like one, there was a physical purpose that dwells,
Louise Palanker (00:46:39):
But this, this act is like, it's a person talking. There's nothing lower tech than that. And it probably went on in, in the Italy city states, you know, at the palace and whoever. Right. Whoever was paying for entertainment to be a thing, you know? And so,
Fritz Coleman (00:46:55):
As a matter of fact, you bring that up and that's good Weezy, because there's a through line in Wayne's book, it's humans standing on a stage trying to get laughs. Right, right. That's what standup boils down to. And
Louise Palanker (00:47:05):
It's probably always been a thing, whether it was called storytelling or whatever, but I, I find, uh, the history of of Will Rogers to be interesting because yeah, they say that if you wanna get a boy to talk like your son, or that you should do an activity, like roll up paper and toss it into, you know, the waste basket. Like Uhhuh, do something. Don't just sit in front of him. He's not gonna talk unless you're taking a walk or driving or doing a thing. And so Will Rogers starts out spinning a rope. Yep. And then I think somehow that activity makes it easier for him to communicate. Cuz I think men historically have a difficult time communicating. But if, don't say
Shawn Pelofsky (00:47:43):
Louise Palanker (00:47:43):
If they're doing something. Well, I
Wayne Federman (00:47:44):
Don't know if I, I'm gonna push back on that a little bit because I, I don't know about the kids stuff cuz I'm not usually usually trying to get five year olds to talk to me. But as a rule, as a rule, <laugh>, I don't know what world you're living in, where you're trying to get, uh, but <laugh>, it just seems like men have been orating and talking, now they call it mansplaining. As long as I've been alive and like if I look back in history, there's like guys talking and, but
Louise Palanker (00:48:11):
From their heart, that's the thing.
Wayne Federman (00:48:14):
Louise Palanker (00:48:15):
Wayne Federman (00:48:16):
Shawn Pelofsky (00:48:16):
Yeah, I suggest watch Bachelor in Paradise. <laugh>. Okay, you
Wayne Federman (00:48:19):
Gotta learn about this. I gotta learn about the hu the difference. I
Louise Palanker (00:48:23):
Mean, yes, men are explaining what they know, of course, but to say what they really feel or think about something is like a little bit Oh, okay. Like that's what you were saying in, in your book or your podcast. Can't remember which one that you found so fascinating. Watching the comedians was being able to hear what they thought about things, you know, while they, while they told their jokes. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (00:48:43):
<affirmative> Will Rogers is interesting too, and I don't know where I, I don't know if I read this in your book or I saw it somewhere else, but Right. His son said, my father was full of shit because Rogers made his bones speaking in the most common terms to the common man. He was a blue collar comedian and the awe shucks thing with a hat tilted back. But in real life, he was completely the opposite. He played polo. He only hung around with rich people in Malibu. They,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:49:13):
Shit, I'm so disappointed to hear this cuz there is an airport dedicated to him where I'm from in Oklahoma City. No. So now I, but but you name an
Louise Palanker (00:49:21):
Airport, but airport after a guy who dies in a plane crash.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:49:24):
Fritz Coleman (00:49:25):
<laugh>. But, uh,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:49:27):
John Denver airport coming soon. <laugh>
Wayne Federman (00:49:31):
Leonard Skinner runway.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:49:33):
Fritz Coleman (00:49:35):
But, but it's the idea of you have to have a hook. And he discovered this hook and he, and he polished that, but it was completely against what he was in real life, which I thought was very interesting.
Louise Palanker (00:49:44):
That is interesting. He found a way to market him. Well,
Wayne Federman (00:49:46):
I don't know if that's just like Trump. That was completely o different. He did come up, he worked
Fritz Coleman (00:49:52):
His way as
Wayne Federman (00:49:52):
Sport out of that. Yes. He worked, and when he made money, he was like, this is what I want to do, is play polo and hang out with,
Fritz Coleman (00:49:58):
But I, I think his son, cuz his brother, his son grew up after they had money. Right,
Wayne Federman (00:50:02):
Right, right, right, right. So it was a different, his
Fritz Coleman (00:50:03):
Wayne Federman (00:50:05):
No, but Will Rogers is really, really interesting guy. And like you said, started out as a rope guy and then started talking more, and New York audiences loved him and, and then he became so huge. He was like the first multimedia comedy star because he did silent movies, then he did talking movies, then he did radio, then he had a newspaper art, uh, column every day, A daily newspaper column so you could read about him. And he did standup tours and he did tours where he would talk to people. So
Shawn Pelofsky (00:50:37):
No TikTok <laugh>.
Wayne Federman (00:50:38):
Yeah. But no, but I know you're
Shawn Pelofsky (00:50:40):
Making fun of it was their version. I,
Wayne Federman (00:50:42):
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it is that so, and he,
Fritz Coleman (00:50:45):
The year of presidents and everything, he was just like top
Wayne Federman (00:50:47):
Down. Yeah. I mean, anytime you see, like you said, bill Maher or Amber Ruffin, or anybody doing political comedy, to me, they're all in the shadow of what Will Rogers did in the 1920s and thirties. And I wanna
Louise Palanker (00:50:59):
Simple, I wanna talk for a moment about blackface, you know. Oh, Jesus. Jesus.
Wayne Federman (00:51:04):
Okay. That's so
Louise Palanker (00:51:05):
Shawn Pelofsky (00:51:06):
You know, this didn't work out for Chris Harrison. So tread lightly. Exactly.
Louise Palanker (00:51:10):
And we're all white.
Wayne Federman (00:51:10):
Shawn Pelofsky (00:51:11):
Got you. Sure. You wanna bring this up and correctly, Wayne Federman,
Wayne Federman (00:51:15):
Excuse me. I'm balancing on a very thin right here.
Louise Palanker (00:51:19):
Wayne Federman (00:51:19):
Popularity. I'm a wallenda. I'm like, okay, is this really, really what you wanna do? We can, we can record. There's eight cameras out here. We
Louise Palanker (00:51:27):
Can always cut this part out. We're not live <laugh>. So the popularity of menstrual shows on their mysterious appeal. So white people, while systemically preventing the achievement rights and privileges of black people were appropriating their culture. Is it possible that the anonymity of blackface gave Victorian age stiffs the cover that they needed to cut up?
Wayne Federman (00:51:47):
I think there is something to that. Yeah. I mean, I <laugh> okay. I don't, <laugh>. Yes, there is something that when you put on that makeup that you were now, uh, able to emote in a less, uh, unless, uh, Victorian way I, I guess would be the answer to that.
Louise Palanker (00:52:06):
But what's your take on why we wanted,
Fritz Coleman (00:52:10):
We're not done with you yet, Wayne. We're gonna get you
Shawn Pelofsky (00:52:11):
Jesus, I'm sweating. Don't worry. You'll be canceled by the end of this podcast,
Wayne Federman (00:52:15):
Wayne Brooks and broadcast news <laugh>.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:52:17):
Louise Palanker (00:52:17):
If you, if if you're 18 years old in 2021 and you first hear about blackface, you're probably thinking, what the hell? So you're, you're putting, you are, you're making fun of black people and their culture. But the whole show is black people and their culture. I I,
Wayne Federman (00:52:37):
Right. It's very complicated. It's very complicated. And part of, if you think of it as think of a clown, okay, okay. Think of what a clown does, right. Puts on a makeup white face. And part of the, part of the idea putting on the, is you're creating a persona that's not you. Right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it could be a sad clown, but part of it was also the people, uh, 500 yards away from you could see when you're smiling or when you're making the sad face. So it was a very easy way to express emotion with just using a mask. And part of blackface was that, that it was a mask, a theatrical mask used by performers to be able to let tell jokes or be sad or, you know, that, that kind of thing. And it obviously, I mean, it's horrific to look at now, but it was so popular in the 18 hundreds that it, and it really <laugh>, how am I gonna say it? Even music,
Louise Palanker (00:53:33):
The Stephen Foster songs and everything.
Wayne Federman (00:53:35):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. All of that is like the basis of all of our show business.
Fritz Coleman (00:53:39):
Yeah. It was white people appropriating black culture because they didn't have a lot of their own culture. It was just too boring. So they, you know what, uh, black people invented, jazz invented ragtime invented all that early music. Right, right, right. And they invented all these art forms. So I think it's appropriating too.
Wayne Federman (00:53:55):
I think it is. But also, don't forget, en vaudeville ethnic identity was huge part of the comedy. Let me give you an example. The Marx Brothers. Right? Okay. I write about it in the book. Yes, you do. So that's the Marks. Groucho was a German slash yiddishy kind of character. Right. Harpo obviously Freight Wigg, it was red in real life, you know, black and white in the movies. That's, that was an Irish character he created. And Chico, we all know was Italian. Right. So they were already, that was not
Fritz Coleman (00:54:23):
Even that I thought even just crossing love that I, I never even considered
Wayne Federman (00:54:26):
That. Yeah. So already. So they were like kind of the end of that thing. But if you look back at, there's a famous comedy team called Weber and Fields, and they were two German guys and they'd have Irish guys and they have Scottish guys and they had blackface, and it was all like melt. It was really melting pot comedy. So, and show business.
Louise Palanker (00:54:45):
Well, because accents are fun and I, they probably add very
Wayne Federman (00:54:49):
And look it all in the family, like the idea of people using the word malaprops is that, what's the, where you used the wrong word. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like that was a big part of early vaudeville was like, oh, I'm saying this word wrong cuz I'm an immigrant. And people are laughing and you're like, oh, we're making fun of the Irish, we're making fun of the Jewish guys. We're making fun. I mean, that's, that's all kind of went away. But I still, when you were a kid, you, there was still vestiges of ethnic humor like that when I remember there was Polish jokes when I was a kid. That was like a style of joke that people would say, even on television. I don't know if you're, you might,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:55:23):
My last name's Polish. They still say it to me. Really? So, yeah.
Wayne Federman (00:55:26):
Yeah. It's really interesting. And I feel like in a way, blonde jokes are like that too. It's just like a, a stereotype where you can hang jokes on. So
Louise Palanker (00:55:34):
What have you guys in your careers noticed about things that you had to remove from your act? Oh, yeah, because it wasn't anymore. It, it just was no longer gonna be acceptable.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:55:45):
It's about half my act. So, really?
Fritz Coleman (00:55:47):
Did you have laughs So I had to edit
Shawn Pelofsky (00:55:48):
Out. It's, no, it's not half my act, but there are things now that it's like, especially if you had done something like I used to make fun of, uh, and this was one of my favorite things to do, was when, uh, the lead singer of Journey left and they replaced him with, you know. Yeah. Yeah. And this guy, Arne Pineda, I know his name. I know a lot about him because I was fascinated. He sound like him. And this was like probably in the early two thousands when they replaced. And, and I don't think it really was apparent till a little bit later when they started touring and people saw. And, um, it was just crazy to see him in concert at the Hollywood Bowl. And he doesn't speak a lot. Right. You know, and he, he, you know, and if he says one thing you're
Fritz Coleman (00:56:33):
Oh yeah. Is the lyrics to the Journey songs.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:56:35):
Exactly. And so, you know, it's just an observation. And it was fun. And, and anytime I did this and I did him singing or whatever, it's just, you know, it's still, to this day, it's like, what
Wayne Federman (00:56:45):
Did you do 'em with like an accent? Yeah, I
Shawn Pelofsky (00:56:47):
Can do. Okay. Because like, I'm honorary Filipino, I think is my beef fry. She's Filipino. And so I've just, I always embraced the culture and whatnot. So, and, and I grew up around like, her, her family, and so we would always like, do the accent or mother, whatever. So, but now, you know, me getting up on stage and maybe doing that, I know like for, for the Filipino audience members, they would just be, yeah. They loved, like I still feel like I could go to the Philippines with that and everybody would be like, we love it. But now it's just not even something I'm gonna bring out because Liberal, I feel like people would be like, oh no. You know, like, did she just do a Filipino accent and she can't do that. And, you know,
Fritz Coleman (00:57:27):
Well, Seinfeld interesting. Who is probably the least defensive comedian on the planet when Seinfeld says, I don't do colleges anymore because everybody's too politically correct. I knew we had gone over the border. Yeah. Too much.
Wayne Federman (00:57:39):
Yeah. Well, it's, I mean, there was a reason it went too far. I, I don't know. Look, we're in the middle of it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so I don't know. But that is a really incredible story. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Like, so you just know you don't even wanna do that cuz you're afraid.
Shawn Pelofsky (00:57:51):
Not really. Like I said, if I'm, if I, if I think I'm in front of an all Filipino room mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you bet I'm gonna do that because it's like I'm in, it's,
Fritz Coleman (00:57:59):
Shawn Pelofsky (00:57:59):
That I know what I I But
Wayne Federman (00:58:01):
What does that say to you? Yeah. What does that say to you? That the people that are offended aren't the people that they're, they're being offended for somebody else,
Shawn Pelofsky (00:58:11):
I guess. But I think, I think at this moment in time, I mean, I have enough material Yeah. And, and I can improvise and work off my feet enough that I don't have to fall back on that. You know, it's already, it's already been out there and it's done. And I don't have to always rely. And it's just something that I, I always loved when I'm working through an audience and I find someone who's Filipino and I'm like, oh, you know, and it, and there's certain people that they love from their country. Like, we love certain people from our country. And that was one of the guys that's really hailed and proud, proud of him. Yeah. And
Wayne Federman (00:58:43):
This is the same reason I have not done blackface for three years now.
Louise Palanker (00:58:46):
<laugh>. Right, right, right. I understand. Well, I, I
Wayne Federman (00:58:49):
Just cut it out. I don't need it anymore. I, it just offends some people. It's like, all right, that's
Louise Palanker (00:58:53):
Enough for me. <laugh>, I used to write for Rick Ds, and it was during a time period where our friend Steve Bluestein did, uh, a character called Abe from Fairfax. And the people that liked it the best were Jews. I'm Jewish. And then the Anti-Defamation League starts calling up Kiss FM and saying, you know, you can't, you can't do Abe from Fairfax, which is, and I would say Abe isn't every Jew. He's a Jew who lives in Fairfax and he's fictional so <laugh>. But yeah, it's like the people from that culture think they, they most identify with it and they're the least outraged as long as you're doing it with love. And I think that's the ingredient that needs to be there. You're not I
Wayne Federman (00:59:32):
Know, but there's, I feel, I know we were talking about love earlier with The Bachelor and the Bachelorette, but I do feel like it's a very neb nebulous thing to say. It's if you're doing it with love, like some people could say, oh, he's doing it affectionately. And other people could look at the same thing and go like, oh, he's taking these people down a notch.
Louise Palanker (00:59:51):
Yeah. I don't think anyone was doing blackface with love <laugh>.
Fritz Coleman (00:59:53):
Yeah. Rickles got away with it because at the end of the show, he'd said, you know, I love that they made fun of everybody. Esther, he decimated every Oh
Wayne Federman (01:00:00):
Yeah. When I was on a ship in World War ii, there was no color. It was like, okay. Yeah. Just embrace your act. Just right. We enjoyed
Louise Palanker (01:00:08):
It. What, okay, so Wayne, we wanna hear what jokes you've had to removed within the last time. I
Wayne Federman (01:00:12):
Haven't really, because I'm like, I, from that Seinfeld mo mold of like, I don't really do controversial stuff. I've never, I don't say the F word on stage. And so Neith, why
Louise Palanker (01:00:24):
Also in this podcast, I guess
Wayne Federman (01:00:25):
Not. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, there hasn't really, I'm trying to think if there was, there was one joke. Let's
Fritz Coleman (01:00:32):
Talk about the reason why you do that. Okay. Yeah. Because I think that's an important part of your book as well. Oh. And what and what, um, cable introduced to the comedy environment mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I have a beef with deaf comedy jam. Dope. Not that black comedians finally had a way to show their skills. Right. But I just thought they changed the expectations of clubs. So people came to clubs. Cuz you know, all bets are off on cable, on those deaf comedy jam shows. Right, right. And so if you work without using profanity like I do, you seem tepid to the people in an audience after that.
Wayne Federman (01:01:05):
Well, it's a hard, it's a, you know, it's hitting from a hot, it's a tougher, it's a tougher hill to climb. Yeah, definitely. But I think if your materials smart and good, you can do it. No, and I always think comedy is, and tell me if you disagree with this, like the best comedians, and I'm not saying I'm one of them, but the best comedians of the comedians that bring you into their world. So you're like, oh, I'm living here. As opposed to, Hey, did you know, you know, let, let, let me talk about cornflakes everything we know, you know, everyone's involved with this. Like, let's go into that. That's why Richard Pryor, and in a way, Def Comedy Jam is an outgrowth of what Pryor did in that movie and those records where he'd be very explicit with his language, but
Fritz Coleman (01:01:45):
He never relied on, that's not what made his Of
Wayne Federman (01:01:47):
Course, of course his humanity. That doesn't, doesn't everyone said that. It was like Pryor created a lot of comedian ba lak. Right. But Pryor and then Eddie Murphy had a big special called Delirious mm-hmm. In 1983. And so for out of there of like, oh, you can say anything and you could say the MF compound word. I don't know if you used it in your own <laugh>. Um, but yeah. So, so suddenly that became a style of comedy. But I don't know. I mean, but
Fritz Coleman (01:02:14):
When we were,
Wayne Federman (01:02:15):
It is hard to fi it is hard to follow someone who uses explicit language lot. But yeah, I've done it.
Fritz Coleman (01:02:20):
No. Oh no, I you you have to do it or you won't work in the rooms. Right. But I, but but we, we came up in a time when you had to be careful because when you were trying to get booked on the Tonight Show.
Wayne Federman (01:02:30):
Right, right. That was,
Fritz Coleman (01:02:31):
And McCauley was in the room, or one of these bookers was in the room. You had to work clean because if you, if you swore on stage, even in a club, they wouldn't book you because they didn't trust that you'd be able to work clean on
Wayne Federman (01:02:42):
Themselves. Right. That's why Sam Kenon is very important in the history of standup. Oh, absolutely. Because he was the first comic to break through without the endorsement of Johnny. Without doing that, that moment where you're Roseanne or you're, I mean Roseanne was there, but Seinfeld and Gary Chalan and Freddy Princes and all of those guys,
Fritz Coleman (01:03:01):
And ultimately he became so popular they had to put him on the show. Yeah. And he blew Johnny away.
Wayne Federman (01:03:06):
Shawn Pelofsky (01:03:07):
Right, right, right. God, I thought that sentence was gonna end with, and then he blew Johnny <laugh>. So then I, I was like, oh my God. Cuz <laugh>, that
Fritz Coleman (01:03:14):
May have happened. Maybe that's it's
Shawn Pelofsky (01:03:15):
In the next book. In the next book. But I have a question for you, Wayne. Did you guys ever hear, cuz Sam Kenon was actually one of my inspirations. Oh, I
Wayne Federman (01:03:22):
Love it. Tell
Shawn Pelofsky (01:03:22):
Me, and did you ever hear the story? I heard this once that he was performing in Vegas and he was so high and he was, he was just obliterated that people paid all this money. And he came out, I don't know where I heard this story. And he came out, he sat down and he ate a bucket of fried chicken. Yeah,
Wayne Federman (01:03:38):
I did hear that
Shawn Pelofsky (01:03:39):
Story. Yeah. Yeah. Like, and then people were pissed. Like that's what he did for his act.
Wayne Federman (01:03:43):
I know. Cuz there was a lot of vegetarians in the
Shawn Pelofsky (01:03:46):
Audience <laugh>. And
Wayne Federman (01:03:47):
I'm telling you can't, you never know who you're gonna offend
Shawn Pelofsky (01:03:49):
<laugh>, but you No, I did hear that. You did hear
Fritz Coleman (01:03:51):
That. He was, he hear the story.
Wayne Federman (01:03:53):
He was out of his mind. He was a crazy Yeah,
Fritz Coleman (01:03:55):
He was crazier. He was a he,
Wayne Federman (01:03:56):
You would know him, right? Yes, I
Fritz Coleman (01:03:57):
Did. Yeah. I actually have a very affectionate moment with him. I used to do this TV show called It's Fritz. Yeah. That came on after Saturday Night Live for three years. And he was a guest and as a gift, you know, Mitzi used to write the lineup in hand, uh, on the paper and hanging on the front door of the Comedy store. So he had this sheet that, uh, was the lineup on this particular night and on the lineup was Andrew Deice Clay, Howie Mandel, Fritz Coleman, Sam Kenon, and all these other people. And I said, let's arrange everybody as to tax brackets in this thing. <laugh>. But it, it, he gave it to me, framed that it was the coolest gift I have at my
Wayne Federman (01:04:34):
Home now. Interesting. No women. Wow. He was no women on that list. Interesting.
Fritz Coleman (01:04:38):
He was, he was a, a sad character. Yeah. Yeah. But nobody knew how to command an audience. And that was all of his fundamentalist Christian, you know, training on stage. Incredible. He was amazing. Scared
Wayne Federman (01:04:54):
To this day, in my opinion, to, for me, of all people asked me who that that was the funniest at that for a very brief period of time before he went crazy. Yeah. Comedian. Cuz it was so agree. This was so powerful.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:05:06):
Electric. Yeah, I agree.
Wayne Federman (01:05:07):
And this was the thing you felt him. Yeah. You know, earlier you were talking about the emotion, right. As opposed to just the word you felt Sam can. Yeah. It
Louise Palanker (01:05:16):
Was the kind of energy where I once, I loved it. I once interviewed Chris Farley. Yeah. For, for Tommy Boy I know it wasn't a standup or whatever. And you know, watching a guy like that in a movie or on tv, it's like, wow, that guy's funny. But try having him sit right here. Right. And you're not supposed to be laughing cuz you're recording an interview. That was the funniest dude I've ever been in the presence of. Heard that
Shawn Pelofsky (01:05:39):
Wayne Federman (01:05:39):
It. You have to look at me, you don't have to look at me and say that <laugh>. That's
Louise Palanker (01:05:42):
Really, but it was, it was quite insulting, you know, it was like this other worldly,
Wayne Federman (01:05:46):
Louise Palanker (01:05:47):
<laugh> this energy that's emanating and Sam, I get
Wayne Federman (01:05:50):
It. He has good energy
Louise Palanker (01:05:51):
And he's funny. And Sam and Sam had this, that same intensity. It's like this intensity that it's like almost too bright to last.
Fritz Coleman (01:05:59):
Well his brother is a, is a fundamentalist preacher too. And he had, and he preaches on Facebook. Oh he does? Yeah. And I worked for he and his wife cuz they owned a theater in Upland. They just sold it. Oh yeah. It was a lot fun. It was an all Did you ever work there? No, but it's fun. It's a redone movie theater and it's really narrow, but it's really long. It's an an odd performance space. But they, they grew up in that and I guess their parents were preachers too. So he learned all that rhythm. And there's a science to that. I love to watch these guys on the, the Trinity Channel or something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I can't not watch them cuz they're a, as far as commanding Anastasia, knowing how to manipulate the emotions of an audience. Yeah. There's so good.
Louise Palanker (01:06:35):
There's certain cadences and then there's certain politicians that have picked up on those cases and are, and that was Oh yeah. And are abusing people and Yeah. No, but I wanna, before we talk,
Fritz Coleman (01:06:43):
Go to where the food is, go to where the food that was
Wayne Federman (01:06:47):
Ness is funny. I know I, can I just say something real quick? I know we're wrapping up, but I tried to play that clip to my students at usc. I'm a adjunct, didn't
Shawn Pelofsky (01:06:56):
Wayne Federman (01:06:57):
They thought it was offensive
Shawn Pelofsky (01:06:59):
Wayne Federman (01:06:59):
My that's where we're at.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:07:01):
I, right. Brilliant. I know I played it for my husband's Brazilian Yeah. <laugh>. And he laughs at the same things I do. I had introduced him actually to Eddie Murphy Delirious. Oh really? He had never seen that. He'd only seen him, you know, he's like, oh, I know him from coming to America
Louise Palanker (01:07:18):
And, you know,
Shawn Pelofsky (01:07:19):
And, and he just knew him as a character and he never knew him from snl and he never knew him as a standup. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So when I put Delirious when we were first dating and I put Del Delirious, I said, sit down, watch us. He, he thought it was the best thing. He, he was like, you're right. This like, it's still played. Then I just recently played Sam Kenon and he is like, well he is not, not that good. You know? And I was so surprised cuz everything that I, I always How
Wayne Federman (01:07:45):
Did you love, how did you see, how did you see Sam? Like what would you see him at the
Shawn Pelofsky (01:07:49):
I never saw him personally. I just remember when I would go to ju camp during the summers, uh, this kid from camp would run in playing his tapes. Oh. And so we'd hover around. Awesome. And we would listen to Sam Kenon and we would just laugh and we thought it was funny. He, he'd bring in Sam Kenon and then he brought in Dice Man. And so, but I never got to be in the same room cause I didn't get to the store different until much later. Not even the same yet. Yeah. I'm only 30 <laugh>. So, um, photofacial Botox. Anyways, it was a whole, it was a whole thing that, that's amazing. You know, I just, but I grew up, he, he was the number one person. So,
Fritz Coleman (01:08:27):
But like you point out in your book Yeah. Every generation of comedians is a reaction to the generation before. Because I remember when Sam was the manager of the Westwood Comedy Store. Tell me, okay. And when it was time to do last call and clear the room out, Sam would go up and do his act, honest to God and scare the shit outta people. And they would all leave.
Wayne Federman (01:08:48):
Well, what ha this is, I'm always fa I know we have to go. I'm always fascinated by Sam Kenon from that Sam Kenon that would walk the room to Sam Kennison who could sell out Madison Square Garden or something. Like what happened from that time in his act that, that he became more palatable and that people were like, oh, this is great.
Fritz Coleman (01:09:08):
It's cultural. It's against what everybody else is doing. I think it's why Steve Martin was popular because it was so different from everybody else. It was like a Oh, I see. It was like a parody of standup in itself. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. And so it kind of, it it
Wayne Federman (01:09:21):
Depends on what No, I meant specifically in did you see anything that changed at Sam's act? Uh,
Fritz Coleman (01:09:25):
Wayne Federman (01:09:25):
I think Oh, so it's just the audience came to him. No, I
Louise Palanker (01:09:28):
Think what happens is it's a lot like music. So you want, as a kid, like if you're 15 like a, at Jew camp, you wanna hear the thing that you're not supposed to be listening to. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's, it's like this, this kind of like window into like this adult culture <laugh>. Yeah. And you know, and you want and you want your own version of that. And so it's contraband and it's like gonna be, there's
Fritz Coleman (01:09:50):
I think with Sam that's probably a, a, a part of it, I really
Wayne Federman (01:09:53):
Think. Right. Amazing guy. Amazing. So
Louise Palanker (01:09:56):
What I wanna talk about before we leave is, uh, let's review the arc of acceptance regarding social media. Did it mirror the seven stages of grief where comedians first accepted that they would burn through material on national tv, but how have they adjusted to tweeting and is it making them stronger writers or are they like precious with their thoughts? Like, this is something that I'll tweet, but I'm gonna hold onto it for my act and not put it on Twitter. Like, what's been the acceptance arc? Is my funny a renewable resource or is it something that I have to conserve?
Fritz Coleman (01:10:31):
The conservative argument is Leno, who will never do a television special. Right. Cuz he says it eats up his comedy and then you can't do it in the rooms anymore. The other one is the Dane Cook who says put it on social media. He's the, he was the MySpace guy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he's the first comic to generate an audience simply by social media exposure. Am I right about that?
Wayne Federman (01:10:48):
You're correct. But I mean, there was more to him than just the MySpace guy. He was on Comedy Central and it was like a convergence. But yes, he's super ch he was the one like, oh, this is how you can he knew sell, sell out and read it.
Louise Palanker (01:10:59):
Yeah. He knew how to harness it. And also he was looking and
Wayne Federman (01:11:02):
He also connected with those fans. He, he
Louise Palanker (01:11:04):
Was looking for girls, let's be honest. Oh, but he, he ha he was
Fritz Coleman (01:11:07):
Incentivized gonna all his emails, he
Louise Palanker (01:11:08):
Was incentivized to kind of harness this new form of connection. But how, like you guys, for example, like how is, what's your social media presence? How much of your funny are you giving away for free?
Shawn Pelofsky (01:11:23):
I, I don't mind putting it all out there. You know, I, I feel like it's a, a trial and error and if you put it out there, it doesn't necessarily mean, and, and if it works then you, maybe you try it in the club and, and when you try it in person, it's a different presentation. Just because I've put, uh, something that fits into 280 characters into one joke doesn't, you know that that's not going to represent my whole act or who I am. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and you can also present it differently. I'm, you know, usually more high energy, physical. So if you see a one-liner and, and personally with like the pandemic, when you, we had to start doing comedy online, that really is what helped hone. So thank God for social media or Zoom or things like that. Cuz it really honed my writing skills to be in front of something. So when I did go take it live, it, it, it kind of transformed itself, if that
Fritz Coleman (01:12:17):
Makes sense. And it keeps you in the public consciousness, even if it's not your funniest stuff. Right. Right, right. It keeps people thinking about you. So when it's time to, you go do a date in that town, people say, oh, let's go.
Louise Palanker (01:12:26):
I know her. Yeah. How about you Wayne? What, what? Will you tweet jokes or will
Wayne Federman (01:12:29):
You just I don't really tweet many jokes anymore. I, I don't know. I, I don't like being on my phone, so it's like I'm trying to be in the world as much as I can. And so that's sort of my strategy. I do it, I pro I use it for promotion mainly. And if somebody tweets something about retweet and I'll, I'll try to, I'm, I'm more of an interactor online than like, here's a funny thought I had about Yeah,
Fritz Coleman (01:12:53):
Wayne Federman (01:12:53):
Too. Uh, yeah.
Fritz Coleman (01:12:55):
Wayne Federman (01:12:55):
Yeah. I'm very reactionary in that. But
Fritz Coleman (01:12:57):
You're there taking the pulse of the culture, being a teacher. So what are you feeling in the classroom? How, what, what, what, what's making kids laugh? What you, you said that they were, they're very politically correct now mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But what, what makes them laugh? Who, who is, who is funny to them?
Wayne Federman (01:13:09):
Well, it's depend, I mean obviously the big, you know, the big ones are like, uh, Chappelle is big. Although, you know that the one sticks and stones was not well received in my class. I was shocked cuz I loved it. But it's just, uh, my whole thing in my is like, I'm gonna obviously like different things than my somebody who's 19 years old, they're born on nine 11.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:13:32):
How's like Joan Rivers perceived in that class?
Wayne Federman (01:13:34):
They barely know. They barely know her. They barely know it's, this is, this was the shocker for me. It's just, it's more about time than about specific things was to me, an old comedian was like Shey Green to them. An old comedian is somebody like Dimitri Martin. Well <laugh> somebody that their parents might have liked when they were, you know, before they were born.
Louise Palanker (01:13:55):
Fritz Coleman (01:13:56):
Wayne Federman (01:13:56):
You know, that's your parents' comedian. Yeah. Would be a <laugh> Plus to me. He's like a kid. I was like, okay, I gotta readjust all of this <laugh>
Fritz Coleman (01:14:03):
Louise Palanker (01:14:04):
Shawn Pelofsky (01:14:05):
I love that. I'm practically dead to your class. Right, right.
Wayne Federman (01:14:07):
Huh? I was, yeah. It was really shock
Fritz Coleman (01:14:09):
Though. People consume stuff and spited out now, so. Oh,
Wayne Federman (01:14:12):
It flips over so
Fritz Coleman (01:14:13):
Quickly. Yeah. The arc of somebody's career.
Wayne Federman (01:14:15):
But can I say something right at the end of my book, I write about two, uh, comedians that got discovered over the pandemic and that was Sarah Cooper. Yeah. Who did that? Uh, lip Sync mm-hmm. <affirmative> to Donald Trump.
Louise Palanker (01:14:27):
Yeah. And she, but what you taught me is she was a lip syncer before she started lip syncing Trump. Like
Wayne Federman (01:14:31):
That was her. Yeah. She also did comedy as well, but she, that was one of the things she did. And then, uh, zwei, I don't know how to pronounce her last name as she's on, uh, she has a showtime she showtime variety show now that just got picked up and she used to do exactly, you know, we were talking about, she used to do a weekly talk show on Instagram Live and that's got popular people started tuning into it six o'clock on a Thursday night or whatever it was. And that's how she got
Louise Palanker (01:15:01):
Discovered well before.
Wayne Federman (01:15:02):
Interesting. Right after
Louise Palanker (01:15:03):
We, after we do our closing credits. Yeah. Uh, before we do our closing credits. Where can people find you online?
Wayne Federman (01:15:09):
Just at federman on Twitter and at my website, wayne federman.com. Nothing crazy.
Fritz Coleman (01:15:15):
It's a fantastic book. I, I mean, if you're a fan,
Wayne Federman (01:15:17):
Fritz Coleman (01:15:18):
Brother. Because I don't think people, uh, understand how far back the art of standing out stage trying to get laughs alone goes back and it's really interesting. Thank you.
Louise Palanker (01:15:27):
And Sean Peloski, who's
Fritz Coleman (01:15:29):
Just the funniest people. Evers,
Louise Palanker (01:15:30):
I think my favorite. Yeah. Yeah. My favorite comedian. What, what
Shawn Pelofsky (01:15:33):
Are you guys all drinking? I love you too. So much. And
Louise Palanker (01:15:36):
Fritz Coleman (01:15:37):
Louise Palanker (01:15:37):
Is one of those people that she's, even if you've seen her a hundred times, you're gonna watch her again. She does
Shawn Pelofsky (01:15:42):
Go a joke again. <laugh>, she, that's
Wayne Federman (01:15:44):
Shawn Pelofsky (01:15:45):
I read that on Twitter. Do something new.
Louise Palanker (01:15:47):
<laugh> and I, I I ride in cars with Sean to gigs and I tell her what I'd like to see her do. <laugh>. So it's, I
Shawn Pelofsky (01:15:55):
Louise Palanker (01:15:55):
You wheezy. It's nice to have that kind of control. The spelling Bee of course, as you know, is my
Shawn Pelofsky (01:15:59):
Favorite. I haven't done that Bee. And I know someone told me, did I tell you this? What my spelling bee bit, which I have not done in a long time. What happened is I used to do this long winded Spelling Bee. Was it a closer bit? It wasn't a closer, just a bit. It was just a bit making fun of
Louise Palanker (01:16:15):
Shawn Pelofsky (01:16:16):
Oh, I love it. ESPN spelling B competition. And I did this like 12 years ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah. What happened is I get a call, maybe it was like four years ago and it was, uh, Grayson. Frankie. Right. That's the, oh, my friend said, Sean, your spelling Bee bit is on. Great. They just did it. And I'm like, what? And he's like, somebody, somebody saw this right? And I'm like, it's like 12 years ago. So that was really weird. And then when the Spelling Bee competition just recently happened and there was a like a young African American girl that won the whole thing. Then people, my sisters called up and they're like, you know, and I, I was at my like niece's engagement party and they were like, you gotta do the spelling bee bit. And it was like a whole party of people. And I was like, this is uncomfortable. I'm not doing <laugh> the, to a bunch of rich white people in New Orleans. Like, no. So yeah, the spelling bee bit had, I couldn't even re there, I couldn't even remember it. How
Louise Palanker (01:17:09):
Does it go? Yeah.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:17:10):
It took me a moment to, to bring it back. That
Louise Palanker (01:17:12):
Happens to me too, where people are like, do this Sit and sleep <laugh>. Like I maybe did that joke once to see if it was anything. Yes. And it's not anything. Yes. To tell nothing.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:17:21):
Louise Palanker (01:17:22):
So after we do the closing credits Yeah. And Fritz tells you how to subscribe, then I have like a true Hollywood fact. And that's, Wayne and I used to be in a band together. What? And so yeah, over the closing credits we're gonna play. Yeah. I love it. You know the
Shawn Pelofsky (01:17:36):
Louise Palanker (01:17:37):
Oh, oh yeah. There's me on drums. That's right. And swish. So yeah, we seen The Swish because I was an early adopter of podcasting and YouTube. So this, what's the date on this, Thomas,
Fritz Coleman (01:17:49):
Before you get into this, we have to
Shawn Pelofsky (01:17:51):
Fritz Coleman (01:17:51):
Back. There's so much I wanna talk to Wayne about He
Louise Palanker (01:17:54):
Talk back. You both
Fritz Coleman (01:17:56):
Need back. I know you have to come, but you guys were awesome. Okay, we'll come, but I
Wayne Federman (01:17:59):
Wanna talk, I wanna come back together cause I feel
Shawn Pelofsky (01:18:00):
Like we're, I've gotta write a book. Thank you. Wedding <laugh>. No, I won't come back until I write a book. I
Fritz Coleman (01:18:05):
Wanna talk about radio and how it was when people could hear the humor but not see the person doing it. Oh, now that changed everything. There's lots of cool stuff to talk
Shawn Pelofsky (01:18:13):
About. I believe now it's called Clubhouse.
Fritz Coleman (01:18:15):
Clubhouse. What is that? I don't <laugh>.
Wayne Federman (01:18:17):
It's it's radio. It's,
Shawn Pelofsky (01:18:18):
It's a, it's a new social media app. It it got really popular around like right after the insurrection. And so it's, it's actually the radio version of, it's, it's, um, it, it could, you could say podcasters and people use it, but people have developed a lot of fun shows and you can't, you can see people's little profile pictures like you can on Instagram in a room all at once. But you can't, you, you can't like interact video with anybody except like, raise your hand to talk to the people who you're listening to. So it's all audible. Oh,
Fritz Coleman (01:18:50):
I'm so out of the loop. I'm so,
Wayne Federman (01:18:52):
It's it's relatively new. It's relatively new. Oh my God. But it is huge. And I do know there's, I just heard of a comedian who was opening for, I can't remember who it was, who was like, got their opening act from
Louise Palanker (01:19:03):
Clubhouse. All right, Fritz, where can people find us online? And, and Right. Well
Fritz Coleman (01:19:08):
All the things. All the, you know, places you find stuff. Yeah. <laugh>, you look. Podcast for Media.
Louise Palanker (01:19:12):
Podcast Path podcast.
Fritz Coleman (01:19:14):
If you enjoyed this episode of Media Path, it would help us to be more discoverable by potential new listeners. If you leave us a quick review on Apple Podcast and if you're new here and this is your first time with us, please check out our back catalog. You're gonna find lots of binge worthy stuff. Bill Medley. Mark Summers, Wayne Federman, Richard Sturman of the Oak Ridge Boys. The Livingston Brothers from my three sons. Diane Warren. Tony Dahoo. He's in the hospital with pneumonia. We have to send him a card or something. Tony and, um,
Louise Palanker (01:19:42):
Fritz Coleman (01:19:43):
Sean Pawlowski. Gary Puckett. Macalso. Ok. Okay. Henry Winkler. Keith Morrison going back to the very beginning. Listen, thank you for spending an hour with us and we would be overjoyed if you took a moment to share your thoughts with us or recommend us to a friend. Okay. Thank you so
Louise Palanker (01:19:56):
Much. I'll do that. We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where we are. Media Path Podcast. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you've been enjoying. You can contact us at our social media or email us at at media path podcast gmail.com. We wanna thank our wonderful guest, Sean Pawlowski and Wayne Federman. Our team includes Dean of Friedman, Francesco Demond, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble. And you are theme music as journals by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman. And we will see you along the media path top.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:20:47):
Louise Palanker (01:20:48):
Think it was Christmas looked the
Shawn Pelofsky (01:20:49):
Louise Palanker (01:20:49):
We were playing. Do are do
Shawn Pelofsky (01:20:50):
You sleep in a a a an ice right?
Wayne Federman (01:20:53):
This is 2006. Interesting.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:20:54):
Like doesn't we like? It's kind of crazy. She does,
Wayne Federman (01:20:57):
Louise Palanker (01:20:57):
He does. Wayne looks the same too. Looks
Wayne Federman (01:20:59):
Exactly the same. It's kind nuts. Gray. I'm gray.
Louise Palanker (01:21:01):
This is the same room. You
Shawn Pelofsky (01:21:02):
Do. You guys, I think you're wearing the same shirt too. Cats look the same. Same room. This room's had many lives. It's had more lives than Shirley McClain.
Wayne Federman (01:21:15):
I don't remember that.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:21:16):
That was a really old reference right there. Thank you.
Wayne Federman (01:21:21):
That is early podcast of 2006. That's right at the start of it.
Louise Palanker (01:21:26):
Yeah. I just heard a podcast and I went up to Laura, Laura Fisher at a, at a, at an open mic where as you call them in Mike's right. And I said, have you heard a podcast? I mean, she said, yeah, I just heard about it yesterday. And I was like, let's do one. She's
Shawn Pelofsky (01:21:37):
Running a whole company. I know what companies that call. My manager called me and goes, Laura wants to bring your
Louise Palanker (01:21:43):
Show maximum fun.
Shawn Pelofsky (01:21:44):
Yeah. And I was like, the swish of the Switch swish. And she's like, I don't know. And I'm like, the swish so nice. She has a podcasting company or
Louise Palanker (01:21:52):
What? She works at Maximum Fun, which is a huge podcasting company. Oh, good for her. And they have all kinds of original programming
Wayne Federman (01:21:59):
Now That was, that
Louise Palanker (01:22:00):
Was awesome guys.
Wayne Federman (01:22:01):
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having me. And.