Actor, dancer and singer Ken Berry grew up in a small Midwestern town, admiring the musicals of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and after winning several local talent contests, he found his way into show business and was soon pulling down an impressive (for the time) $90 a week! Gilbert and Frank caught up with Ken at his Hollywood home to ask about his “two years of recess” on the classic sitcom “F-Troop” and his memories of working alongside comedy greats George Burns, Don Rickles, Carol Burnett and a then (mostly) unknown Steve Martin. Also, Ken reminisces about life as a “day player” and tells us why he had the worst stage act in the history of Vegas. PLUS: “My Mother the Car”! “The Ken Berry ‘Wow’ Show”! Helen Hayes eats a cheeseburger! Richard Dreyfuss serenades a goldfish! And Leonard Nimoy covers Harry Belafonte!
Emmy award-winning writer Alan Zweibel started out in show business by peddling jokes to Catskills comics at seven bucks a pop, before a chance meeting with Lorne Michaels led to a staff job on the hottest new show on television, “Saturday Night Live.” Alan joined Gilbert and Frank at the George Burns Room at the Friars Club to talk about the earliest days of SNL, co-creating the groundbreaking “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and collaborating with everyone from Gilda Radner to Rob Reiner to Billy Crystal. Also: Alan heckles Larry David’s act, “borrows from” Paul Simon, turns down “Hollywood Squares” and inspires a classic “Seinfeld” episode. PLUS: Totie Fields! Christopher Lee! The subversiveness of “Duck Soup”! Uncle Miltie gets banned! And Gilbert tries (unsuccessfully) to follow The Beatles!
As a young boy growing up in Queens, New York, Chuck McCann worshipped stars like Stan Laurel, Buster Keaton and Groucho Marx, and within a few years, he would find himself befriending (or working with) all of them. Gilbert and Frank phoned Chuck (one of THEIR childhood heroes) to talk about his unusual and unlikely journey from obsessed fan to celebrated screen, stage and voice performer and beloved kiddie show host. Also: Chuck hitches a ride on Hugh Hefner’s jet, inspires Billy Crystal, writes a part for John Carradine and co-stars in a legendary TV flop. Plus: Hal Roach! Tim Conway! Lionel Barrymore! Chuck and Groucho hawk deodorant! Mae West “works” the docks! And Chuck asks Gilbert for a lollipop
Oscar-nominated actor Gary Busey has been in over 150 movies, working alongside everyone from Barbra Streisand to Steven Seagal. On a recent visit to LA, Gilbert sat down with Gary to talk about his near-death experience, his character “process” and channeling the spirit of Buddy Holly. Also, Gary hosts “Saturday Night Live,” spoons Mel Gibson, jams with Rick Danko and praises Gene Hackman. PLUS: Jack Elam! Jan-Michael Vincent! Rod Steiger eats a sandwich! And Gary tells Gilbert the meaning of life. Also, we apologize for the first minute or so of audio. It sounds rough but it clears up and get MUCH better. You’re not going to want to miss this ep!
Writer, comedian and producer Bob Zmuda has had a busy career, performing, writing and producing comedy specials, co-creating the charity Comic Relief and collaborating with the late (??) great comedian/performance artist Andy Kaufman. Gilbert and Frank rang up Bob at his house in Lake Tahoe to talk about (among other things) his early days as half of the comedy duo Albrecht & Zmuda, his role in bringing the Kaufman biopic “Man on the Moon” to the screen, his controversial new book about Andy’s life, and his theory of how his old friend and collaborator pulled off the greatest hoax in comedy history. Also, Eddie Murphy takes a phone call, Tony Clifton (or was it Jim Carrey?) invades the Playboy mansion and Garth Brooks (almost) portrays Bob on the big screen. PLUS: The ventriloquist team of Dick & Stinky! Andy gets a woody! Larry the Lobster gets a reprieve! Gilbert gets the axe at SNL! And a surprise guest crashes the podcast!
Although Susie Essman is best known to audiences for playing the acid-tongued Susie Greene on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” she began her career as a stand-up comic, opening for people like Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Belzer and a young Gilbert Gottfried. For our first live episode (as part of the annual NYC Podfest) Gilbert and Frank sat down with Susie to talk about her obsession with Turner Classic Movies, her favorite “Curb” moments and how comedy saved her from a life of crime. Plus: Peter Lorre! Margaret Hamilton! Susie roasts Jerry Stiller! Larry David pens a pilot for Gilbert! And the curse of the “Shiksa Goddess”!
Character actor extraordinaire James Karen has appeared in over 80 movies, over 100 television shows and a staggering 5,000 TV commercials. In a career spanning nearly 7 decades (!), he’s worked with Frederic March, Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Steven Spielberg, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford and Will Smith, to name but a few. Gilbert and Frank phoned James one recent Saturday night to cover a VERY wide range of topics, including his film debut in the immortal “Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster,” his years-long friendship with the legendary Buster Keaton and his experience sharing a townhouse with Marlon Brando, Wally Cox and Maureen Stapleton. Also, James “sells” Craig T. Nelson a haunted house, a Boy Scout uniform leads to an acting career and a controversial “Jeffersons” episode nearly torpedoes a plum TV pitchman gig. PLUS: James parties with Clark Gable and Louis B. Mayer! Gilbert gets a one-cent residual check! Moe Howard recites from “The Tempest”! And James teaches a teenaged Michael Douglas to drive!
Veteran comedy writer Tom Leopold started out as an actor, working opposite James Mason, Robert Preston, Ted Knight and Wayne Newton before going on to create comedy material for legends Steve Allen, Bob Hope and Mary Tyler Moore and write on hit series like “Cheers” and “Seinfeld” (scripting the memorable “Babu” episode, among others). Tom sat down with Gilbert and Frank to talk about early acting roles on “Gunsmoke” and “Mannix,” his days on the “National Lampoon Radio Hour” with Christopher Guest and Bill Murray and his years-long friendships with pals Paul Shaffer, Richard Belzer and Harry Shearer. Also: George Chakiris vs. George Maharis, Chevy Chase hitches a ride with Paul Lynde and 80-year-old Georgie Jessel phones his mom. PLUS: Stubby Kaye! Gert “Goldfinger” Frobe! Donald O’Connor’s coat! Tom brunches with Jerry Lewis! And the return of Perfecto Telles!