Comedian Backstage

Comedian Backstage

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Shelley Berman (1925-2017), according to Steve Martin, “changed modern stand-up comedy.” Three gold records, major bookings at clubs and on TV, selling out Carnegie Hall, the first comedian to win a Grammy Award — from his sit-down observational humour to his acting in movies and TV (most recently as Larry David’s father on Curb Your Enthusiasm) — Shelley Berman was a true sensation.

In 1963, Berman agrees to take part in a vérité documentary that brings viewers behind-the-scenes and on-stage for 24 hours prior to the opening of a run at a Florida nightclub. But during a tender moment in the act, a telephone rings backstage, and suddenly, all the stress, anxiety, and pressure of being the biggest star in the world of stand-up explodes in a moment of volatilty that, sadly, took a major toll on Berman’s comedy career.

COMEDIAN BACKSTAGE might be the most famous documentary about stand-up comedy that nobody has seen, and JFL is proud to partner with the UCLA Film & Television Archive to present this rare and FREE public screening of a film that originally aired on NBC exactly 55 years ago (March 10, 1963).

Language: English

Featuring a special introduction by historian and bestselling author, Kliph Nesteroff, and a Q&A with the audience after the screening.

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