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In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Carlos Mencia talks about growing up in East Los Angeles, and how his early experiences shaped his comedy. He describes developing his racially based stand-up act, and finding healing in making people laugh at our differences. He recounts working with his writers on his show 'Mind of Mencia,' and gives his reaction to political correctness in comedy. Mencia discusses how humor evolves over time, as well as his use of "blue" material in his act. He speaks at length about accusations of his having stolen jokes from other comedians, and sums up his career. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 15, 2007 in Hollywood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Diversity in Television, Historic Events and Social Change, Minorities, Television Industry, and Comedy Series. Other shows mentioned during the interview include 'Mind of Mencia' and 'Seinfeld.'

2007-02-15

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Carlos Mencia talks about growing up in East Los Angeles, and how his early experiences shaped his comedy. He describes developing his racially based stand-up act, and finding healing in making people laugh at our differences. He recounts working with his writers on his show 'Mind of Mencia,' and gives his reaction to political correctness in comedy. Mencia discusses how humor evolves over time, as well as his use of "blue" material in his act. He speaks at length about accusations of his having stolen jokes from other comedians, and sums up his career. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 15, 2007 in Hollywood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Diversity in Television, Historic Events and Social Change, Minorities, Television Industry, and Comedy Series. Other shows mentioned during the interview include 'Mind of Mencia' and 'Seinfeld.'

2007-02-15

In her one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Rose Marie (1923-2017) talks about entering show business at age three, and soon after becoming a smash hit as "Baby Rose Marie," selling out the Capital Theater in New York, and with her own NBC radio show. She describes her long friendship and professional association with Milton Berle, as well as her husband Buddy Guy, a trumpet player in Kay Kyser’s band. She recounts playing Las Vegas, and her professional and personal association with mobsters like Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone. She discusses playing "Sally Rogers" on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' and working with Van Dyke, the cast, and producer Sheldon Leonard. She speaks of playing "Myrna Gibbons" for five years on 'The Doris Day Show,' and her subsequent stage show "4 Girls 4" with Helen O’Connell, Rosemary Clooney, and Margaret Whiting. She details having dealt with the business end of show business, and concludes with a summary of her career. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on January 24, 2006 in Van Nuys, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Television Industry, Child Labor Laws, and Comedy Series. An additional show mentioned during the interview is 'The Doris Day Show.'

2006-01-24

In her one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Rose Marie (1923-2017) talks about entering show business at age three, and soon after becoming a smash hit as "Baby Rose Marie," selling out the Capital Theater in New York, and with her own NBC radio show. She describes her long friendship and professional association with Milton Berle, as well as her husband Buddy Guy, a trumpet player in Kay Kyser’s band. She recounts playing Las Vegas, and her professional and personal association with mobsters like Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone. She discusses playing "Sally Rogers" on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' and working with Van Dyke, the cast, and producer Sheldon Leonard. She speaks of playing "Myrna Gibbons" for five years on 'The Doris Day Show,' and her subsequent stage show "4 Girls 4" with Helen O’Connell, Rosemary Clooney, and Margaret Whiting. She details having dealt with the business end of show business, and concludes with a summary of her career. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on January 24, 2006 in Van Nuys, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Television Industry, Child Labor Laws, and Comedy Series. An additional show mentioned during the interview is 'The Doris Day Show.'

2006-01-24

The American Comedy Archives Oral Histories consists of audiovisual interviews conducted by comedian Bill Dana, archivist/historian Jenni Matz, comedian Eddie Brill, archivist/historian Robert Fleming, and television producer/professor Dan Pasternack with comedians, directors, writers, producers, agents, and experts on comedy. Oral history interviews were conducted with Bea Arthur, Ed Begley, Jr., Shelley Berman, Lewis Black, Kevin Bright, Eddie Brill, Jack Carter, Dick Cavett, Tim Conway, Irwin Corey, Norm Crosby, Billy Crystal, Bill Dana, Sam Denoff, Vin DiBona, Phyllis Diller, Diane English, Barbara Feldon, Budd Friedman, Larry Gelbart, Shecky Greene, Dick Gregory, Charles Grodin, Pat Harrington, Jr., Hugh Hefner, Buck Henry, Doug Herzog, Arte Johnson, Austin "Rocky" Kalish, Irma Kalish, Hal Kanter, Don Knotts, Norman Lear, Rose Marie, Peter Marshall, Dick Martin, Jamie Masada, Jackie Mason, Chuck McCann, Jayne Meadows, Carlos Mencia, Howard Murray, Jan Murray, Bob Newhart, Louis Nye, Gary Owens, Janis Paige, Bill Persky, Tom Poston, Carl Reiner, Jack Riley, Tony Roberts, Paul Rodriguez, Andy Rooney, Jay Sandrich, George Schlatter, George Shapiro, Leonard Stern, Howard Storm, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Van Patten, Betty White, Fred Willard, Henry Winkler, Jonathan Winters, Steven Wright, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. The bulk of the interviews were originally recorded on DVcam tapes from February 2005 through May 2007 and duplicated at Emerson College. Some of the oral histories were done in conjunction with the American Television Foundation. In addition to the video oral histories there are transcripts for certain interviews.

2005-02-21 - 2019-06-10

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, "Weird Al" Yankovic talks about his early years, and his first break, getting his music played on the "Dr. Demento" radio show. He describes the types of parodies he does, and how he tends to stay away from satire and political humor. He recalls his television show, 'AL TV,' and his experiences interviewing guests like Eminem. Yankovic speaks of dealing with fame and celebrity, and what his fan base expects of him. He discusses his 'White & Nerdy' music video, which featured Donny Osmond, as well as his cult classic feature film 'UHF.' He speaks of the challenges of being a comedian in the music industry, and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 10, 2007 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Pop culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows. An additional show mentioned during the interview is 'Tomorrow.'

2007-02-10

In his one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, "Weird Al" Yankovic talks about his early years, and his first break, getting his music played on the "Dr. Demento" radio show. He describes the types of parodies he does, and how he tends to stay away from satire and political humor. He recalls his television show, 'AL TV,' and his experiences interviewing guests like Eminem. Yankovic speaks of dealing with fame and celebrity, and what his fan base expects of him. He discusses his 'White & Nerdy' music video, which featured Donny Osmond, as well as his cult classic feature film 'UHF.' He speaks of the challenges of being a comedian in the music industry, and considers the question "Was it worth it?" Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 10, 2007 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Fame and Celebrity, Pivotal Career Moments, Pop culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows. An additional show mentioned during the interview is 'Tomorrow.'

2007-02-10

In part two of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives, Bill Dana (1924-2017) talks about comedians learning to deal with their environment and audiences. He describes first learning how to make people laugh, and later using comedy to disarm. He discusses evolving standards for subject matter and language in comedy, and his controversial character "Jose Jimenez" from 'The Bill Dana Show. 'Dana speaks of working with Norman Lear on writing the classic 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy’s Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and outlines his own guest shot on 'The Golden Girls.' He sums up by talking about the need for performers to pay their dues, and he answers the question, "Was it worth it?" Jenni Matz conducted part two of the interview on June 3, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-06-03

In part two of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives, Bill Dana (1924-2017) talks about comedians learning to deal with their environment and audiences. He describes first learning how to make people laugh, and later using comedy to disarm. He discusses evolving standards for subject matter and language in comedy, and his controversial character "Jose Jimenez" from 'The Bill Dana Show. 'Dana speaks of working with Norman Lear on writing the classic 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy’s Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and outlines his own guest shot on 'The Golden Girls.' He sums up by talking about the need for performers to pay their dues, and he answers the question, "Was it worth it?" Jenni Matz conducted part two of the interview on June 3, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-06-03

In part one of his two-part interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Bill Dana (1924-2017) discusses the use of humor as a survival tool. He talks about his time at Emerson College, and early comedy partner Gene Wood. He recalls his time on 'The Steve Allen Show,' as well as creating his most famous character, "Jose Jimenez." He details using "Jose" as the main character for 'The Bill Dana Show,' and his eventual decision to kill him off due to cultural sensitivity concerns. He recounts writing the famous 'All in the Family' episode "Sammy Visit," featuring Sammy Davis, Jr., and addresses comedy’s role in society. Jenni Matz conducted part one of the interview on February 21, 2005 at the Cutler Majestic Theater at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Additional topics covered include: Bloopers, Censorship/Standards & Practices, Fame and Celebrity, Pop Culture, Television Industry, Comedy Series, and Talk Shows.

2005-02-21

In his forty-five minute interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Hugh Hefner (1926-2017) talks about his connection to humor, and his friendships with comedians like Lenny Bruce and Don Adams. He describes having comedians on his early talk show 'Playboy’s Penthouse,' as well as breaking ground by having African-American comedian Dick Gregory perform at his clubs. He discusses the humor of "Playboy" magazine, and early contributors like Jules Feiffer. He speaks of the then-current state of censorship in media, and also touches on humor and repression, as well as fame and celebrity. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 9, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Civil Rights Movement, Historic Events and Social Change, Television Industry, and Talk Shows.

2005-03-09

In his forty-five minute interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Hugh Hefner (1926-2017) talks about his connection to humor, and his friendships with comedians like Lenny Bruce and Don Adams. He describes having comedians on his early talk show 'Playboy’s Penthouse,' as well as breaking ground by having African-American comedian Dick Gregory perform at his clubs. He discusses the humor of "Playboy" magazine, and early contributors like Jules Feiffer. He speaks of the then-current state of censorship in media, and also touches on humor and repression, as well as fame and celebrity. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 9, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Civil Rights Movement, Historic Events and Social Change, Television Industry, and Talk Shows.

2005-03-09

In her one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Betty White talks about her early aspirations before setting on a career in television and appearing on several early live and local Los Angeles broadcasts. She describes her first show 'Life with Elizabeth,' and becoming one of the first television stars to form her own production company with the help of producer Don Fedderson. She recounts her time playing "Sue Ann Nivens" on the classic 'Mary Tyler Moore Show,' including the famous "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode. White discusses the importance of humor in her life, and playing "Rose Nylund" for seven seasons on 'The Golden Girls.' She speaks of her "bag of tricks" as an actress, as well as the business side of the entertainment industry. She discusses her prolific career on several game shows including 'Match Game' and 'Password.' She outlines her then-current role as "Catherine Piper" on 'Boston Legal,' and working on that show with co-star William Shatner. She concludes with some words of wisdom for aspiring television performers, and comments on her career longevity. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 11, 2005 at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Characters & Catchphrases, Classic TV series episodes, Comedy, Pop Culture, TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s), Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2005-03-11

In her one-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Betty White talks about her early aspirations before setting on a career in television and appearing on several early live and local Los Angeles broadcasts. She describes her first show 'Life with Elizabeth,' and becoming one of the first television stars to form her own production company with the help of producer Don Fedderson. She recounts her time playing "Sue Ann Nivens" on the classic 'Mary Tyler Moore Show,' including the famous "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode. White discusses the importance of humor in her life, and playing "Rose Nylund" for seven seasons on 'The Golden Girls.' She speaks of her "bag of tricks" as an actress, as well as the business side of the entertainment industry. She discusses her prolific career on several game shows including 'Match Game' and 'Password.' She outlines her then-current role as "Catherine Piper" on 'Boston Legal,' and working on that show with co-star William Shatner. She concludes with some words of wisdom for aspiring television performers, and comments on her career longevity. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on March 11, 2005 at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Characters & Catchphrases, Classic TV series episodes, Comedy, Pop Culture, TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s), Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2005-03-11

In his two-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Paul Rodriguez speaks of his early life, and of using comedy and his ability to make people laugh to get though his childhood. He talks about deciding to pursue a career in stand-up comedy, and of his beginning at the Comedy Store in Westwood where he met and was mentored by Richard Pryor. He recalls his first appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,' where Carson afforded him the rare honor of calling him over to his couch after his routine, and talks about being discovered by Norman Lear while out doing his act. Rodriguez discusses in-depth his Lear-produced sitcom 'a.k.a. Pablo,' which was short-lived due to negative reaction from the Mexican-American community to what they felt was a stereotypical portrayal. He outlines attempting to revive his career after the show’s cancellation, and details dealing with celebrity, and continuing to make a living doing stand-up over 30 years on. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 19, 2007 in Hollywood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Diversity in Television, Fame and Celebrity, Historic Events and Social Change, Minorities, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2007-02-19

In her hour-and-a-half interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Janis Paige talks about her early life and discovering she had the ability to make people laugh at a young age. She recalls her first feature film, "Hollywood Canteen," and soon after moving to New York to pursue a career on stage. She describes a stint in vaudeville, which lead to being cast on Broadway in "Remains to be Seen," and later as the lead in "The Pajama Game." She recounts appearing in several feature films, including "Silk Stockings" with Fred Astaire, and "Please Don’t Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day. Paige speaks of her many roles on television, including playing the lead in the sitcom 'It’s Always Jan,' guest shots on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Happy Days,' and an infamous appearance on 'All in the Family' in which she kissed "Archie Bunker," much to his wife "Edith’s" dismay. She concludes by discussing her stints on the daytime dramas 'Capitol 'and 'Santa Barbara,' and how she’d like to be remembered. Robert Fleming conducted the interview on May 27, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Creative Influences and Inspiration, Diversity in Television, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Women, Comedy Series, and Daytime/Primetime Serials.

2005-05-27

In his two-hour interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Paul Rodriguez speaks of his early life, and of using comedy and his ability to make people laugh to get though his childhood. He talks about deciding to pursue a career in stand-up comedy, and of his beginning at the Comedy Store in Westwood where he met and was mentored by Richard Pryor. He recalls his first appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,' where Carson afforded him the rare honor of calling him over to his couch after his routine, and talks about being discovered by Norman Lear while out doing his act. Rodriguez discusses in-depth his Lear-produced sitcom 'a.k.a. Pablo,' which was short-lived due to negative reaction from the Mexican-American community to what they felt was a stereotypical portrayal. He outlines attempting to revive his career after the show’s cancellation, and details dealing with celebrity, and continuing to make a living doing stand-up over 30 years on. Bill Dana and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on February 19, 2007 in Hollywood, CA. Additional topics covered include: Advice, Creative Influences and Inspiration, Diversity in Television, Fame and Celebrity, Historic Events and Social Change, Minorities, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, and Comedy Series.

2007-02-19

In her hour-and-a-half interview for the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, Janis Paige talks about her early life and discovering she had the ability to make people laugh at a young age. She recalls her first feature film, "Hollywood Canteen," and soon after moving to New York to pursue a career on stage. She describes a stint in vaudeville, which lead to being cast on Broadway in "Remains to be Seen," and later as the lead in "The Pajama Game." She recounts appearing in several feature films, including "Silk Stockings" with Fred Astaire, and "Please Don’t Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day. Paige speaks of her many roles on television, including playing the lead in the sitcom 'It’s Always Jan,' guest shots on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and 'Happy Days,' and an infamous appearance on 'All in the Family' in which she kissed "Archie Bunker," much to his wife "Edith’s" dismay. She concludes by discussing her stints on the daytime dramas 'Capitol 'and 'Santa Barbara,' and how she’d like to be remembered. Robert Fleming conducted the interview on May 27, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA. Additional topics covered include: Creative Influences and Inspiration, Diversity in Television, Pivotal Career Moments, Television Industry, Women, Comedy Series, and Daytime/Primetime Serials.

2005-05-27

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