Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 6, 1972 · Page 144
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August 6, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 144

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 6, 1972
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Page 144
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My Favorite Jokes by PhU Foster EDITOR'S NOTE: Phil Foster has never saved his write- ups or kept mementoes of the hundreds of dubs and theaters he's performed in because, he says, "It's tomorrow that counts now." But he would have had a large collection since he's brought his original comedy monologues through all the phases of the comedian's platform--theater, vaudeville, clubs. "When I started entertaining, a variety artist worked in theaters--there were hundreds of them. Low on the totem pole were the nightclubs. Theater was first, vaudeville second." Most recently Foster's been in movies (Every Little Crook and Nanny, and Bang the Drums Slowly, a baseball comedy with thoughtful undertones which should be released in 1973), and now he enjoys'liv- ing and performing in Las Vegas (late this month he'll be at the Sahara). A few years back, before the move to Las Vegas, Foster formed a comedy workshop where he shared his knowledge and gave advice freely to many of today's up and coming young comedians. "I would tell them things like, one basic requirement to becoming a good comedian is you must have a beginning and an ending. I don't mean you have to say hello, or goodbye, but you must find a way to express it. For instance I'd finish my act many different ways. Once I walked out with an alarm clock and I told the audience, 'The boss wants me to give 22 minutes. and he's the kind of fellow you don't argue with because everytime he talks to you he has a lit cigar one inch from your nose. So I'm going to set it for 22 minutes and when it rings I'll leave.' When it went off I picked up the clock and left. I did this at the Copa and in Las Vegas." Here Phil Foster shares some more beginnings, endings, comments on comedy, and jokes with us. ·WHAT ARE YOU, CRAZY?' One place I worked in was so noisy, no matter what I said they wouldn't be quiet. Finally I said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to give you my impression of an outfielder catching a fly ball." I said, "The pitcher throws the ball and the batter hits it. There it goes to the outfield--and now I'm in the outfield." Then I ran to front stage and began to circle around like I was looking for a fly ball. I ran out, left by the back exit, got into my car and went back to the hotel. The boss calls and says, "What are you, crazy? Come back, they're all waiting for you." So I drove back, went in the back way, got up to the mike and yelled, "Foul ball!" MY SON THE ACTOR lokes I like to do basically have a touch of social significance--the melting-pot type of jokes. Like stories about my mother. My mother could see hu- mor in everything. And this joke is a true story. When I first became a comic I went to see an agent. He said, "What's your name?" I said, "Philly Feldman." He said, "That's not a stage name, you have to change it. How about Lamarr?" "Philly Lamarr," I said, "sounds like a striptease dancer." He said, "All right, where do you live?" "Brooklyn." "What street?" "Blenwood Road." He said, "Well, OK, Phil Blenwood." "No,it's not a bad name, it just doesn't fit my personality." "Any other streets?" he asked. "Argyle Road." My name could have been Phil Argyle except I really didn't know how to spell it ... Then I remembered Foster Avenue. That's how I got my name. So now I've left home to be in show business and I'm in Manhattan, living in a hotel for three weeks when I called my mother. She was angry but she said, "All right, so you won't come.home. So you won't call. It's all right. But when you need me I'll be here!" I said, "Ma, I'll come see you tomorrow." But she wanted to visit me instead, to see how I was '·» living. We set it for 6 o'clock. At 7 she hadn't arrived. So I called my aunt who lived with her. She said my mother had left at noon. So I went downstairs to look for her. She was sitting in the lobby. She said, "Hello, son. You're looking good." I said, "Ma! how long have you been sitting here?" "About three or four hours," she said. I asked her,"Why didn^t you come upstairs?" She said, "I'll tell you the truth--I forgot your name." 'HEY KID, KEEP TALKING' After World War II the thing that every comic had v to do was to learn to speak English again. The biggest problem we had was we all spiced our conversation with four-letter words. It was such a part of your makeup--it might be hard for those who haven't been in the Army to understand, but if you were eating and you wanted somebody to pass the butter you always told them what kind of butter to pass. So I went to work in a place called Charlie's Tavern. It was a nice crowd, they were talking and I was talking but we didn't bother each other because we were all practicing learning how to talk again. Suddenly a guy shouts right in front of me, "Hey kid, keep talking." I couldn't see him because of the glare lights, but in those days everybody had an answer for a heckler and I said, "Yeah, I'll keep talking. Now that the war's over we can get parts for your head!" Then, all of a sudden I notice people getting up from the tables. The men are going to one side of the room, the women to the other. I said, "Look at this, a square dance in Jersey and I'm the caller!" I shade my eyes to look out front--and it's a holdup! HAVE I GOT A GIRL FOR YOU ! One of the big moments as a comic was when I worked in the Catskill Mountains. There were certain times a year that mothers came up to marry off their daughters. They knew that all the busboys and bellboys were potential doctors and lawyers. Well, I was telling jokes and during the break a woman comes over to me and says, "What do you do in the winter?" "I put on an overcoat!" "You know what I mean," she insisted. I said, "Well, I do the same thing I'm doing here." "You make a living from this?" I said, "Yes." "By you that's a living, by me it's not," she said. "I got a husband who owns his own place in the garment center and he'll get you a job as a salesman. * You're going to make some good living." So I said, "OK , I'll think about it." Now she waited a bit. She'd planted the seed and I could see the wheels turning. Finally she said, "You know my daughter?" "No," I answered. She said, "She's a very good swimmer, a good dancer, a good golfer. She plays tennis, rides horses, smart like you can't believe." I asked, "Is she pretty?" She said, "If she was pretty, would I talk to you?" It's To Laugh "Can she call you back, Karen? She's in one of those yoga positions." WHI1HER THOU GOESt I WILL GO B. IEVINI |. MARKOW "/ pitched a no-hitter for one-third oi an inning. 19

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