History Of Stand Up Comedy

May 7

History Of Stand Up Comedy



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Standup Comedy – its history and what it says about America.

  • A funny and insightful 90 minute multi-media presentation about the roots and flowering of an original American art form, stand-up comedy
  • The most immediate art form, standup comedy, captures the country’s zeitgeist at any given moment. A funny joke pleases while exposing hidden truths. This lecture explores what America’s laughter says about us
  • The stories of forgotten trailblazers, martyred iconoclasts and familiar stars show how the simple act of one joker taking on a crowd became one of our most popular entertainments and a cultural weathervane


In the 1980's, Ritch Shydner made numerous appearances on TV, including HBO and Showtime Specials, Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. He played Al Bundy's co-worker on "Married with Children", and made guest appearances on many other TV shows, such as "Designing Women" and "Roseanne." Ritch was able to translate his modest success on TV into an obscure film career, appearing in Steve Martin's, "Roxanne," and Eddie Murphy's, "Beverly Hills Cop II," before moving on to minor roles on smaller pictures. Ritch wrote for sitcoms such as "Roseanne", "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," and HBO's "The Mind of the Married Man." In 2006 Ritch was co-author of a book on stand-up, "I Killed".

In 2010 Ritch produced and performed in an award winning documentary on the world of stand-up comedy, "I Am Comic". In 2016 Ritch wrote a movie adaptation for HBO of Bill Maher's book on the 1979 New York City stand-up scene, "True Story". That same year, he released "Kicking Through the Ashes - My Life as a Stand-up in the 1980's Comedy Boom."

Jay Leno: "And remember, Shydner, don't tell anyone you wrote those jokes for me."

Jerry Seinfeld: "Ritch Shydner is a terrific comedy writer and definitely one of the good guys."

Jeff Foxworthy: "Ritch helped me write two albums, both of which were nominated for Grammys. I've always thought that he was one of the best stand-ups ever."

Bill Maher: Back in the day, in the dingy ratskellers in which we learned our craft, Ritch Shydner was always the comic the other comics came into the room to watch, because he was the funniest. That hasn't changed, and I'm afraid neither have the ratskellers.