Archive | August, 2015

5 things you didn’t know about Kevin Pollak

31 Aug

For nearly 4 decades Kevin Pollak has been keeping use entertained as a comic, impressionist, actor and director. His masterful way of creating situations where he does impressions of actors, as some of their most famous characters, interacting never fails to keep an audience roaring with laughter. In one of these routines he does William Shatner’s Captain Kirk address his soldiers that include Peter Falk’s Lt. Columbo and Woody Allen.

Rich Little gave him his first big exposure

By the time he was 17, Kevin Pollak had already been doing impressions for 7 years for friends & family. Then, he saw and ad saying that Rich Little would be in town to put on a show. He went to the show and stood up in front of the stage as the character he did best. He thought he would doing his impersonation and then be sent back to his seat. To his surprise Mr. Little brought him up on stage and played out a scene with him in character as Lt. Columbo.

He has an online talk show

Since 2009 Kevin Pollak has had an online talk show that can be seen on his KPSH channel on YouTube. On each weekly episode last between 1 to 2 hours where he sits down to do in-depth interviews with celebrities. His past guests have included Henry Winkler, Dana Carvey, Dick Van Dyke, and Seth Green among others. Unlike the interviews we usually see on television these are more like a chat with a friend where he ask questions about their life, politics, interests, or other things going on with them or their family.

He was in the World Series of Poker

In 2012 Kevin Pollak was in the annual poker tournament. He played in the main event of the tournament were he won $52, 718 before he went in on an all-in bet where him and his opponent both had a pair of queens. You would have thought it would be a draw but the turn cards gave his opponent a flush to beat Kevin Pollak.

He created and directs “Vamped out”

In 2010 Kevin Pollak co-create and directs a eb series called “Vamped Out”. The series is a mockumentary that follows a vampire (co-creator Jason Antoon) that is trying to find work in Hollywood as a vampire.

In 2012 he became an author

In 2012 Kevin Pollak put out a book titled “How I slept my way to the middle”. In the book he tells stories from before and during his career. It also includes some anecdotal stories about some of the major stars he appeared along side.

5 things you didn’t know about Joe Rogan

24 Aug

For nearly 3 decades Joe Rogan has been a stand-up comic, actor, martial arts and sports commentator, and podcaster. In that time he has been keeping us laughing with routines like the “Devolution of dumb people” and “Talking Monkeys in space”. Some people might be a little put off by his use of curse words at times but if you can get past that you are in for a laughfest.

He is probably best known as the host of the “Fear Factor” during its original run from 2001-06 and its short revival for the 2011-12 season. A large number of people probably also remember him for his 5 years (1994-99) on the show “NewsRadio” where he played electrician Joe Garrelli.

Beyond the laughs there is much more to Joe Rogan that mot people don’t know. The following is just 5 facts about him.

He is a Tae Kwon Do grand champion

By the age of 15 Joe Rogan earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. For the next 4 years he was the Massachusetts open champion. Then, in 1987, at the age of 19 he entered the United States championship tournament where he won the lightweight championship and then went on to beat both the middleweight and heavyweight champs for the grand championship.

He is a commentator for the UFC

In 1997 Joe Rogan first joined the UFC as an interviewer. He has since gone on to become an award winning commentator. In 2011, he was named the “MMA (mixed martial arts) personality of the year”, at the MMA awards.

He does a podcast

In December of 2009 Joe Rogan has been doing a twice weekly podcast called “The Joe Rogan Experience”. In his podcast he interviews guests, talks about martial arts, comedy, science, and several other subjects.

He backed Ron Paul

Not long after Ron Paul announced that would enter as a candidate of the 2012 election, Joe Rogan voiced his support. When asked about why he was for Ron Paul, Mr. Rogan said “Because he is the only guy that is saying anything that makes sense whatsoever.” In his support Mr. Rogan did also mention how he felt that in todays politics it would be a long shot for Ron Paul.

He is a marijuana activist

Joe Rogan is among the ever growing supporters of cannabis. In his blog he talks about smoking and working out. In his stand-up and podcast he often will make some kind of a mention of marijuana. When the History channel did a documentary called “Marijuana: A chronic history”, Joe Rogan was a in it. On one of his podcast he does mention that at one time he thought that pot smokers were lazy but then a friend changed his outlook on the subject.

5 things you didn’t know about Jimmie Walker

18 Aug

In 1969, a tall, lanky 22 year-old kid from the Bronx stepped on to the stage of a comedy club. That first performance turned out to be the first of many that would start Jimmie Walker onto a path that would make him one of the biggest names in comedy. By the early 1970’s he was already a headlining act and getting some television exposure. In the next few years his career expanded into television and movie roles. Almost 5 decades after that first performance he is still keep us laughing with his views of current topics and anecdotes.

He worked at Yankee Stadium

After dropping out of high school in his junior year Jimmie Walker took a job as a peanut vendor in Yankee Stadium. He start work there during the 1964 world series. While he was working there Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle gave him a silver dollar that he kept to this day.

He was a radio engineer

Jimmie Walker dropped out of high school and took odd jobs to help around the house. After a few years though he was ready to go on with his education. So, he tool advantage of a government funded program called SEEK (search, education, evaluation and knowledge) that would allowing him to work part-time and continue his education. Through his studies he was able to get work at radio station WRBR were he was a radio engineer.

Both Jay Leno and David Letterman wrote for him

Among the people that Jimmie Walker had working as his joke writers were a couple of up and coming comics that would go on to fame as late night talk show hosts. Both Jay Leno and David Letterman were joke writers for Mr. Walker in the early 1970’s. Some of his other writers, Richard Jeni and Louie Anderson, would also go on to big careers.

He has an app

In 2012 Jimmie Walker approved n app for iOs, Apple mobile, that allows people to watch older and current routines on their mobile devices. The app is constantly being update with new and vintage Jimmie Walker clips.

He takes a commonsense view of politics

Mr. Walker calls himself a “logicist” because he political views stem from commonsense and logic. He has been vocal about his stance on affirmative action outliving its usefulness, amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants, and the death penalty. He voted for Reagan and Clinton.

5 things you didn’t know about Jimmie Walker

18 Aug

In 1969, a tall, lanky 22 year-old kid from the Bronx stepped on to the stage of a comedy club. That first performance turned out to be the first of many that would start Jimmie Walker onto a path that would make him one of the biggest names in comedy. By the early 1970’s he was already a headlining act and getting some television exposure. In the next few years his career expanded into television and movie roles. Almost 5 decades after that first performance he is still keep us laughing with his views of current topics and anecdotes.

He worked at Yankee Stadium

After dropping out of high school in his junior year Jimmie Walker took a job as a peanut vendor in Yankee Stadium. He start work there during the 1964 world series. While he was working there Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle gave him a silver dollar that he kept to this day.

He was a radio engineer

Jimmie Walker dropped out of high school and took odd jobs to help around the house. After a few years though he was ready to go on with his education. So, he tool advantage of a government funded program called SEEK (search, education, evaluation and knowledge) that would allowing him to work part-time and continue his education. Through his studies he was able to get work at radio station WRBR were he was a radio engineer.

Both Jay Leno and David Letterman wrote for him

Among the people that Jimmie Walker had working as his joke writers were a couple of up and coming comics that would go on to fame as late night talk show hosts. Both Jay Leno and David Letterman were joke writers for Mr. Walker in the early 1970’s. Some of his other writers, Richard Jeni and Louie Anderson, would also go on to big careers.

He has an app

In 2012 Jimmie Walker approved n app for iOs, Apple mobile, that allows people to watch older and current routines on their mobile devices. The app is constantly being update with new and vintage Jimmie Walker clips.

He takes a commonsense view of politics

Mr. Walker calls himself a “logicist” because he political views stem from commonsense and logic. He has been vocal about his stance on affirmative action outliving its usefulness, amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants, and the death penalty. He voted for Reagan and Clinton.

5 things you didn’t know about Jonathan Winters

18 Aug

For six and a half decades Jonathan Winters was an actor, comedian, author, an artist. His array of character, improvisational style, and voice impersonations made him an instant hit in radio, television, movies, and on comedy records. On television he was a much sought after guest of talk shows, game shows, and sitcoms. Former “Tonight Show” host Jack Paar once called Jonathan Winters, “pound for pound, the funniest man alive” .

He was a Marine during World War II

In 1943 Jonathan Winters dropped out of high-school, in his senior year, to become a United States Marine. After he finished his training he was stationed over-seas in the Pacific Theater were he spent the next two and a half years.

He was married for over 60 years

When Jonathan Winters was attending the Dayton Art Institute he meet Eileen Schauder. The two started dating and married in 1948 and just as it stated in wedding vows “until death do us part”. That day came in 2009 when Eileen Winter’s battle with breast cancer came to a tragic end.

His wife started him on his career path

Shortly after they were married Eileen Winter talked Jonathan into signing up for a talent show. It turned out to be a good move as he won the talent show. That win lead to a job as a DJ at a local radio station in Dayton. After three years at the station he decided it was time to move on and the couple moved to New York. Not long after arriving Jonathan started working the nightclub circuit where his reputation as a comedy took off.

He was commited to an asylum twice

In both 1959 and 1961 Jonathan Winters suffer from nervous breakdowns. The first time he was in for a 2 week observation. Some of the detail of what happened before he was taken in are a little hazy. One report has him climbing the mast of a ship and declaring he was an alien. According to him the truth was the man selling tickets didn’t see the humor in one of his joke and called the harbor police. Seeing Jonathan Winters on stage you can see where either one of those versions could have a basis of truth. On the second occasion it was his wife that had him committed and he spent 8 months.

He was a painter

Besides his great comedic skills Mr. Winter was also a very prolific painter. Before he started his career he studied at the Dayton Art Institute where he found a passion for both drawing and painting. Even though he never made a career out of his art, he kept up the practice of his creative talents.

5 things you didn’t know about Dottie West

18 Aug

Dottie West was the reigning queen of Country music more than 2 decades of her 32 year career. Her career took her from total poverty to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and Carnage Hall. She started her rise as a singer/songwriter/actress when a female preforming artist was a rarity in Country music. She opened the door for such up and coming women as Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Barbra Mandrell, and Crystal Gayle just to name a few. During her career she preformed and rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in the business.

Outside of the music Dottie West’s life was full of highs and lows that shaped her in the woman that became the face of Country in the 1960’s – 80’s. The following are just 5 of those life altering events:

She had an abusive childhood

Starting at a young age Dorothy “Dottie” Marie Marsh had to endure sexual abuse from her alcoholic father. The abuse went on for years until young Dorothy’s junior year of high school. At the age of 17 she found the courage to press charges and testify again her father. He was then given 40 years in prison where he died.

She was in a band in high school

At the age of 12 Dorothy began playing the guitar. By the time she was in high school music had become a very important part of her life. It was then that she joined her first band “The Coonskins” were she played guitar and sang. Her talent won her a music scholarship to Tennessee Technological University. While at the University she met and married Bill West.

She was friends with Patsy Cline

When Dottie & Bill West moved to Nashville they met quite a few people in the Country music business but were struggling to restart the music career they had back in Ohio. Among the peopole they met was Patsy Cline. She would help the couple out by hiring they for very jobs and offer to help them with rent. One day the couple was at a concert with Patsy Cline and offer to drive her back to Nashville. Ms. Cline opted to take a plane along with her manager and some of the other headliners. It turned out to be a poor choice for Ms. Cline when the plane crashed killing all aboard.

She declared bankruptcy

By the Summer of 1990 Dottie West was experiencing financial hardships. Her career ha been declining for several years, her financial manager had made several bad investments, she was facing a few lawsuits, and she owed over 1 million to the IRS. In August of that year she was forced to file for bankruptcy. Soon all of her assets were being sold and/or reposed.

She died on the operating table

On August 30, 1991 sustained internal injuries in a horrific car wreck. Ms. West didn’t think she had suffered any injuries and decline medical attention. It wasn’t until days later that it was apparent that she did have damage to both her spleen and liver. On September 4, 1991 she was being operated on for those injuries when she passed away on the operating table.

5 things you didn’t know about Jackie Mason

10 Aug

For 60 years Jackie Mason has been a stand-up comic, actor, and outspoken advocate for a united Israel. He uses perfect timing to deliver his style of a mixture of political satire, everyday observations, and insults to leave his audience laughing. In his acting career probably two of his more memorable role were in “Caddyshack II” and a recurring role in “The Simpsons”. In 1989 he was given his own sitcom “Chicken Soup” but it didn’t even last a full season.

There is much to Jackie Mason than the comedy. The following are 5 facts that you might not have known about him:

He was an ordained Rabbi

In the early 1950’s Jackie Mason, Yacov Moshe Maza, followed in the footsteps of his three brothers, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather that all were called to be Rabbis. Not long after being ordained he realized that being a Rabbi wasn’t for him. After three years he left the Synagogue to peruse his comic dreams. In some of his routines he jokes about his time as a Rabbi and how his jokes would attract gentiles to his serums. As he put it in routine “I was the only Rabbi with an all gentile congregation.”

His was fired from his first comedy job

Jackie Mason grew up in an area referred to as the borscht belt, a Jewish region of New York. Just like comics of that region have been doing for decades he started his stand-up career at the Fieldston Hotel in Swan Lake, New York. He worked their for much of the Summer of 1955 but the Hotel let him go when it was apparent that audiences where uncomfortable with his routine that they felt was ridiculing them.

He sued Ed Sullivan

On an episode of the Ed Sullivan Show, in 1964, Jackie Mason was accused of giving Mr. Sullivan the finger. The result of that incident was that Mr. Mason was banned from the show and his contract 6 more appearances was torn up. Mr. Mason brought a libel suit against Mr. Sullivan and won. The resulting feud between the two lasted for years until Mr. Mason was invited back in 1968. Even though he made a return the incident still hampered his career until the early 1980’s.

He married late in life

With his busy career Jackie Mason didn’t have have much time for dating. It wasn’t until he was well established that he even thought about marriage. In 1991 he finally decide it was time to tie the knot. So, at the age of 60 he married Jyll Rosenfeld who also became his business manager. Their marriage did experience one straining moment in 2012 when Jackie Mason was involved in a domestic dispute with another woman.

He sued the group Jews for Jesus

In 2006 Mr. Mason filed a lawsuit against the group Jews for Jesus when they used his imagine on one of their pamphlets with the question “Jackie Mason…a Jew for Jesus?”. The suit was dropped when the group relented and removed the image and apologized to the comedian.

We would have liked to get some money for Israel out of this,” Mr. Mason’s lawyer, Raoul Felder, said yesterday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, minutes after both sides announced a settlement.

5 things you didn’t know about Brett Butler

6 Aug

For nearly 30 years Brett Butler has been a stand-up comic, writer, and actress. She rose to national attention in the late 1980’s. Then, in the 1990’s she starred in the series “Grace under fire” where she played Grace Kelly; a divorced, working-class mother of three. The show did well for several years throughout the 1990’s. Since the end of her series Ms. Butler has experienced years of ups and downs in her career before getting back on track.

There is much more to Ms. Butler then the stand-up and the laughs that her show gave us. The following are 5 little known facts that helped shape her career:

She had an abusive marriage

When Brett was 20 she married her first husband, Charlie Wilson. Just like her mothers first marriage it soon turned abusive. Unlike her thought Brett was determined to limit the time she had to suffer in the marriage. Within two years she was able to muster the courage to leave the marriage and head south to Huston. There she moved in with her mom and took a job as a waitress.

She wrote for Dolly Parton

One of Brett Butler’s earliest appearances to the national spotlight was when she appeared on Dolly Parton’s variety show. After that first appearance she became a skit writer for the duration of the show which turned out just be one season.

She fought drug addiction for years

In the mid 1990’s Brett Butler started taking pain medication and that lead to harder drugs that she became addicted to. In the last couple of seasons of “Grace under fire” her off screen behavior was becoming very erratic. She would become demanding and abrasive to the crew and co-stars. By 1998 the show was cancel and Ms. Butler was on a downward spiral that saw her end up in a homeless shelter. She did eventually picked herself up and went into rehab again and in a few years wa ready to make a comeback.

Gravel throat tour

In 2003 a now clean and sober Brett Butler was ready to get back on the road. That year she set off on her gravel throat comedy tour and getting back to her roots as a stand-up performer. Since that time she has been doing stand-up and writing her way around the country.

She is report to be reprising McCloud

At the beginning of the year it was rumored that Brett Butler would be cast in the role of McCloud, the New Mexico sheriff temporally assigned to the New York P.D, that Dennis Weaver made famous in the 1970’s. The new version of the show has not been officially announced.