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Joan Rivers tribute:
Two memorable moments

Joan Rivers album cover "What becomes a Semi-Legend Most" taking a light from an off screen man with a tatooed arm.
Joan Rivers, R.I.P. (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014).

Whenever I was MCing a professional comedy show
and introduced a comedienne as "the second funniest woman in America,"
people would come up to me afterwards and ask,
"Who is the funniest? Joan Rivers?"

No other name was ever mentioned.



From my workbook for Lessons 6, "Topical Monologues: 11 joke formats," page 65:

A brief History of Topical Monologues
. . . on Dangerous Subjects:

Traditionally, the two weeks before I teach my seminar "Topical Monologues: 11 joke formats,"
I daily monitor many a TV Talk show host's opening monologue for topical jokes to find the day's hottest topic.
Here are some highlights intended to give you a feel for that electrical charge topicality can add to your act:

Johnny Carson feels rain drops start falling onto his hand.
When it's over, it's over!


Many years ago, after a long and well-publicized drought in California
(much like the current drought for 2014),
Johnny Carson did a sketch about a weatherman who keeps denying that the drought is over.
As he goes through his administrative double-talk,
which replicated what government officials were still telling the public,
the roof begins to leak.

At first, it is just a dribble.

By the end of the sketch, the weatherman is drenched.
The Audience can even hear the rain drops hitting his microphone.
Of course, he continues to deny that the drought is over.

Carson adds a whimsical dimension by cracking up, unable to finish the sketch!


Challenger explodes.Challenger explosion is front page news arouond the world.
Group shot of Challenger crew, all lost in the disaster.
Crew of Challenger who all died in the disaster
January 28, 1986 the space shuttle Challenger blew up moments after its launch.
The nation mourned the untimely death of the astronauts.
Joan Rivers in black dress, circa 1986.
Do's

But that night, Joan Rivers was guest-hosting "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"
and David Letterman hosted his own show "Late Night."
Rivers wisely began the show by skipping the opening monologue, and replacing it with a sincere eulogy.

But she kept her perky character in tact as she personified a saddened but not beaten populace.


Tony Danza in 1984.
Tony Danza
Once the show began, both she and first guest Tony Danza
intelligently picked the only safe target around:
•all jokes were aimed at themselves and nothing else.

Then, she closed the show with another firm eulogy.



David Letterman looking insincere.
Don't's
Letterman tastelessly opened his show with an uncomfortable tribute to the astronauts,
followed by some very lame Super Bowl football jokes.

He played his character without his usual energy, seeming defeated by the day's events.
He appeared to be avoiding the subject after acknowledging it.

Then, at the close of the show, he seemed both uncomfortable and insincere in lamenting the days pathetic events,
tossing it off in one sentence:
he just thanked the audience "for helping us get through the show tonight."

It was an unusual step down in class for this brilliant comic.

Descriptions for Lessons 1-4.
Pre-requisites for my Lesson 6, "Topical Monologue: 11 joke formats" audio/workbook package
(92-page workbook with 4 1/2 hours of audio)
are Lessons 1-4 which are available as:
•a stand-alone 352-page workbook without audio
•Or 600-page audio/workbook package with 2 hours and 24 minutes of audio
•The 600-page version also come included as part of my entire Home Study Program:
1,200 pages of workbooks and related handouts, plus 21 hours of audio —
"The Fundamentals of Stand-Up Comedy," Lessons 1-4:
http://www.stand-upcomedyworkshop.com/IntermediateAndAdvancedCourseTitles.html#Fundamentals

Details: jim@Stand-UpComedyWorkshop.com
415-877-4424


Page created: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 3:22 pm PST and updated: Sunday, September14, 2014, 6:00 pm PST.


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Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

Sub Headings: even more tips!
Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Jonthan Winters | Joan Rivers | Hecklers