Woody Allen discusses his life and art, the influence of both success and failure on his work, and how he finds comedy in life’s difficulties and trials. He discusses his first screenplay, “What’s Up Pussycat?” and other comedians who have influenced the development of his own comedic work, including Mort Sahl, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and George S. Kaufman.
Lillian Smith excerpt opens the program.
Mort Sahl the comedian discusses comedy, social satire, and humorists. He discusses the difference between sick humor and social commentary. He discusses politics in America. Includes a speech by humorist Will Rogers towards the end of the program.
This interview begins with a clip of one of Dick Gregory’s performances, where he talks about nonviolence and Native Americans. Studs Terkel introduces his guest as an observer, explaining that comedians are the best observers in society. Gregory offers extended analogies to communicate his views on a variety of topics, including the Vietnam War, race relations, segregation, human rights, and urban renewal. [The date is unclear, but it has to be after 1970, since the Kent State Shootings were mentioned]
Del Close discusses hipsters, what is hip, and comedy. Includes a clip of Del Close and his colleague John Brent from the beatnik satire "How to Speak Hip".
While performing some of their original material, comedians Vic Greco and Fred Willard talk about how they come up with their ideas for their shows. Always the entertainers, and while talking over one another, Greco and Willard explain that most of what they do on stage is improvisation.