He took time from his busy schedule to answer our three questions.
1. If you could work with anybody in the comedy field living or dead, who would it be and why?
“Wow, that’s a great question. Well, I love the movie ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ Streisand is so funny in it because she had a really good director in Peter Bogdanovich. I wish I could be in a Peter Bogdanovich movie. I love ‘Last Picture Show,’ but [I’d want to be in] a funny one like ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ and just have a master like that directing.
I just wish that I could do some sort of bit with Donald O’Connor. I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but I just love Donald O’Connor so much. I wish Donald O’Connor would come back to life and start a theater camp, and I would be the first enrollee.”
2. Who in the comedy world most inspired you to get into this?
“I think it was my father. I think it was my father playing the Dixieland, playing the trumpet in the basement of our house. He was religious about it–one hour in the morning doing scales, working on his embouchure, which I think is the lips basically… And then at night he’d spend an hour playing Dixieland jazz on the trumpet, and then I would roller skate in the basement while he would do that.”
3. What is one of the most fun jobs you’ve ever done, and why?
“I was a roller skating waiter at La Nicoise, which was kind of an institution in Washington, DC and Georgetown. It was a French restaurant, Provencal cuisine. And I was a roller skating and singing waiter. This was when roller blades had already been introduced, but I stuck to the four-wheelers. Then I sang Tom Lehrer’s “Masochism Tango” there. So you roller skate and serve the food.
I never spilled anything and, boy, let me tell you, roller skating on a carpet with French onion soup at a fancy French restaurant in Washington, DC is high pressure. That’s high pressure. And you think Washington’s tense now? Then afterwards you sang on a little stage there. I have to say that that was really fun.”