1249.) Vintage: To honor the memory of the recently departed Shelley Berman, I re-air (in its new, spiffy, digitized form) my interview with Mr. Berman from 2002. The first of two episodes finds Shelley talking about his early experiences on stage as an actor and sketch comedian, in particular his work with The Compass (the Chicago group that also included Nichols and May and Barbara Harris). We discuss his standup comedy (which made him a strong precursor to every neurotic comic out there), and some of his acting work, in particular his starring role on a memorable Twilight Zone and his appearance as a peeved dentist on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In the process he shares his opinions on voicemail (anti) and the work of Kafka (pro).
1250.) Vintage: Our guest gets cranky and very funny in the now-digitized, second (and last) part of my interview with the late Shelley Berman from 2002. We start out talking about him being bothered by other drivers and then segue into a discussion of his great (and very touching) “father and son” routine. Mr. Berman then takes some very funny swipes at public access and we end up discussing the merits and non-merits of NYC. All in all, it was a lovely talk with a lovely gentleman who just pretended to be a cranky old man – well, some of that was true, but like the gent whose father he played in his last terrific role, Larry David, he got out all his crankiness in his comedy. One of the nicest interviews I’ve done.