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June 12, 2011



great as always.

Doug S.


Tommy Moore

Great read!

Close Reader

Please. "His clumsy demeanor is no different from that of any other week," not "His clumsy demeanor is no different from any other week." You're not comparing his behavior to a week. Thank you.

Kip W

Whenever I start thinking of this as a music site, another one of these brilliant, detailed articles comes out. These need to be a book. No wonder WFMU has the best blog of any radio station.

Michael Powers

Whoa! A step in a different direction altogether. Kliph Spillane!! I like it. You're venturing into Hunter Thompson territory, which is exactly where you should be as far as I'm concerned. I just wrote a typically lengthy response to the article, several interminable paragraphs and counting (getting longer than the article itself), but my finger slipped and it was abruptly and perhaps mercifully erased, much to my fury, and I'm not up to reconstructing it. That one ("The Lost Comment") has to settle for an even more fleeting audience of one instead of the usual two (I imagine that only you and me read my long "Comments" here, assuming that you glance them over.)

Anyway, I only saw Shecky Greene on bad variety television shows, and all the ones from the '70s seemed like someone wiped their ass on a bound notebook and that immediately passed for the script, and I disliked his work as a result of the dreadful settings ("The Dean Martin Show" was a train wreck of gargantuan talent wasted) but god, I wish I'd seen him live after reading this article. I had no idea he was bi-polar, and that plus alcohol equals exponential catastrophe, of course. I never saw him on the Tonight Show since he'd long since been banned from Hitler's Bunker, um, Carson's Cellar long before I was old enough to stay up and watch. (Well, I guess Craig Ferguson's show is the real Hitler's Bunker considering his original monicker.)

As I've mentioned in these Comments before, I've seen Marc Maron (the 21st century Woody Allen), Sarah Silverman, Jim Norton, Janeanne Garofalo, and most any really good fairly recent ones live many times but really the best standup I ever saw was Jay Leno back in '83, before he'd done more than one or two television appearances and no one in the audience knew what he looked like. I remember repeatedly telling my future wife (the one who looked like Betty White circa 1954) later that night that he was the next host of the Tonight Show. I think we'd split up by the time he took over the series but I've occasionally wondered if she's ever marveled at my wondrous prescience (it seemed obvious to me then and still does in retrospect).

Speaking of standup, you have everyone's standup on your sites except your own! Please rectify that, I'm quite curious. I looked for some on youtube but only found your comic book presentation to Daniel Johnston and the Action Comic ("The Truth Mirror") looked exactly like something I should've owned at some point but somehow don't remember, which felt a little like something from an alternate universe.

Courtney Newman

What a great article. I have a one hour interview I did with Shecky for a documentary I am working on about the heday of Las Vegas Lounges. He was hilarious in the interview. also , every other entertainer I spoke with said that Shecky was a true genius .
I would really like to talk to whomever wrote this article about my project
Courtney Newman
[email protected]

Kent Geek

Thanks, Kliph. Another great read. I remember Shecky absolutely killing on Carson's couch when I was in my teens, but he didn't seem at all exceptional in other appearances. I feel like I understand him much better now.

Are you working on a book, yet, or what?


Outstanding, Kliph! Thank you.


David Letterman has had Don Rickles tell the Sinatra story on his show almost as often as he has had Jay Thomas tell his Lone Ranger story.


...COMBAT! Greene's episodes ran in the Autumn of 1962...

t ball

Wow, I just stumbled onto an incredible blog read. Thanks for a report that was detailed, appropriately funny, kind of sad, and provided anecdotal gold not available in most other internet or print materials. Greatness.

It seems amazing to me how often great humor comes from screwed up people. Perhaps that's why I enjoy it so much.

Francis DiMenno

The Last Laugh by Phil Berger (William and Morrow Company, 1975)is a fine, fine book. I am glad it was cited in the bibliography; it deserves wider recognition.

tommy pinballs

Let me tell you something, Kliph. I have two words for you.

Fuck. Yeah!


Actually, "Close Reader", "from any other week" is fine, as the subject, "his demeanor", is already implied by the comparative (not to mention that it's hugely unlikely anyone would make that misunderstanding without deliberately engaging in joyless and weearing pedantry). Hope you can find something more suitable than sub-editing to apply your undoubtedly vast talents to.

Great piece, Kliph!


Astonishing read, especially if you know nothing of Shecky's I did, until now!

Awaiting your next post, Kliph!

Clarence Ewing

Just wanted to say that this is an OUTSTANDING piece of writing. Thanks for posting it!

Jon Roig

Great read... thanks!


I'm here from the Marc Maron show. Fantastic read. I've been following BotB for years, but somehow I missed these articles. Thanks, Kliph. Good stuff.


Can't help but comment on this. I somehow stumbled across this site and once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I'm a boomer and familiar with all the names in the blog, and have seen them all perform in one venue or another (mostly TV) so this brought back some great memories. Loved it!


Finally got to read the whole thing when your posting it on FB happily coincided with my having to take a sick day. Reading this was a journey into a different place, time and mindset. What a totally different world than the rock and roll world, even though human nature inevitably produces some parallels. Great work as always. Glad I finally got to read it all.

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