Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Sneak a Peek at Tenacious D’s New Music Video

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Something a little different today … We’re big Tenacious D fans over here at the Archive and we just discovered that the new video for the title track on the D’s upcoming album “Rize of the Fenix” had been released on – get this – a Russian video site.

Click below to check it out:

Tenacious D got their start on television, with their cult series produced by Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk that aired on HBO from 1997-2000. The show in many ways set the stage for other comedy musical acts that have followed – most notably New Zealand’s “Flight of the Conchords.”

Music video distribution has certainly come a long way in the past thirty years. MTV used to be the go-to place for exclusives and promoting videos. In his 2011 interview, Executive Tom Freston talked to us about the difficulty of even creating a network to celebrate music and music videos:

Now we’ve moved to video teasers on the internet as the promotion of choice. The times they are a changin’.

“Rize of the Fenix” is set to be released on May 15, 2012.

Jonathan Winters gets serious

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Never say goodbye to your day job or any job. Seriously, I’m not one to discourage anybody.. I would say this- if you’re going to go into this business, you should go into it. But know this going in: your chances of just making a decent living it’s tough, it’s really hard. You’ve got to study. You must be an observer. You must look at everything around you, and if you’re in doubt about characters- take your car, take the bus, or walk to the closest terminal. Just sit there, in a beat-up old raincoat, pair of shades.. And you’re going to see America go by.” - Jonathan Winters

Comedy legend Jonathan Winters’ full interview is now online. Below are some excerpts from his 2002 interview.

On his advice to young comedians (clip below)

On his character “Maude Frickert”:

On his early television work:

On Robin Williams and Mork and Mindy:

On where his inspiration comes from:

On appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

On winning an Emmy for Davis Rules:

On working with Bob Hope:

Watch the full interview with Jonathan Winters at

About This Interview
Jonathan Winters was interviewed for nearly two-and-a-half hours in Santa Barbara, CA. Winters reminisced about his early career in Ohio, and about his early days in New York. He specifically recalled appearing on early television programs including The Garry Moore Showand The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen. Next, Mr. Winters talked about the evolution of some of his well-known characters, including Maude Frickert, Elwood P. Suggins, and King Kwasi. He discussed some of the many well-known television personalities with whom he worked during his career, including Jack Paar, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, and Johnny Carson. Finally, he talked about his work on programs in the 1980s and 1990s including Mork and Mindy, Hee Haw, and Davis Rules. The interview was conducted by Dan Pasternack on October 11, 2002.

Norman Lear on comedy

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

“Life is a serious matter, but I see it through a prism that finds comedy in anything.”- Norman Lear

A very happy birthday today to TV writer, producer, and legend Norman Lear, who is 89!

In this excerpt from his 1998 Archive interview, Lear addressed the question of how he uses humor to diffuse a serious situation or an emotional issue, without becoming dogmatic:

See the full interview with Norman Lear here.

About the interview:
Regarding his contribution to television, Norman Lear notes: “Flying across country [one] night I remember looking down and thinking, hey, it’s just possible, wherever I see a light, I’ve helped to make somebody laugh.” Norman Lear’s writing career began in the 1950s, and reached its zenith with a series of socially conscious sitcoms, the crown jewel of which was the highly rated, multi-Emmy Award-winning All in the Family. In his Archive interview, Lear speaks about his early work in publicity and his move to Los Angeles, where he teamed up with comedy writer Ed Simmons. He recounts how he broke into the business by finagling Danny Thomas’s phone number from his office and pitching a comedy routine idea to him personally. He enumerates his continued television writing jobs for such stars as Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis on television’s The Colgate Comedy Hour.He fondly recalls writing for The Martha Raye Show, which he also directed, and describes how the show ran afoul with its ad agency and was cancelled. He outlines the creation of his own production company, with producing partner Bud Yorkin, and his work on The Andy Williams Specials and The George Gobel Show. For All in the Family, he discusses the creation of the show (based on a British series but inspired by his own family) the struggles to get it picked up by a network, and the show’s impact. On his collaboration with Carroll O’Connor on the iconic Archie Bunker he candidly comments: “When Carroll O’Connor realized he had to embrace the script, not without some of the changes he suggested, but without the wholesale changes he would insist upon; that when he finally accepted it and slipped into the character, none of us could write Archie Bunker the way it flew out of him— realized he had to embrace the script, not without some of the changes he suggested, but without the wholesale changes he would insist upon; that when he finally accepted it and slipped into the character, none of us could write Archie Bunker the way it flew out of him— in his understanding of the character, and the idiom, the language, the malapropos. It was worth all of the aggravation to get to that moment, I’d wait for that moment with awe.” He outlines the conception and casting of the numerous successful series he subsequently launched, including: Sanford and Son; Maude; Good Times; The Jeffersons; One Day at a Time; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; and Fernwood 2-Night. Lastly, he comments on series he refers to as the “misses and near misses.” Norman Lear was interviewed in Brentwood, CA on February 26, 1998; Morrie Gelman conducted the five-hour interview.

7 pieces of comic wisdom from Phyllis Diller

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Phyllis Diller was interviewed for the Archive of American Television in 2000 about her long career in comedy, both on TV and the stage. Her trademark cigarette, fright wig, and of course, that iconic laugh were all discussed during her three-hour interview by Fred Wostbrock. We’ve selected some short clips from Phyllis about her tricks of the trade, and advice to young comics (not “comediennes”, she prefers “comic”!) and just how the heck to be funny after all these years.

Phyllis Diller’s advice to aspiring comics:

On her iconic laugh:

On the difference between being a comedic actress and a “COMIC”:

On why she always held a prop cigarette:

On why she picked on “Fang” and how he became a standard bit in her act:

On her iconic “look”- the wig, the theatrics:

On the importance of TV to a comic’s career: