They did it without ever using a four-letter word. And we never laughed so loud and so long. And they’re back–thanks to producer Gary Smith. I can remember falling apart–along with the star performers themselves at the Friars’ CLub Roasts, which aired as Kraft Music Hall specials produced by Smith and (his late) partner Dwight Hemion. The principals roasting and/or being roasted include Johnny Carson, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis and Don Rickles. It is so infectious–just looking at the reactions to one another by these magicians of mirth–is enough to have us laughing even without the dialogue. These 40-year-old shows are just what the doctor ordered today. It’s not only a remedy for what ails a beaten-down public but a prescription for today’s brand of sick comedians. “Laugh” is a five-letter word. Log on to friars.roast.com for details. And Gary Smith plans to also keep us laughing with the dvd release of another mirth-maker’s never-dated tv shows–the unique, non-stop laughs spewed by Alan King.
Gary Smith is also readying to keep us entertained–live, that is. He’s producing “Zero Hour,” the story of the one-and-only Zero Mostel who rose from the ashes of the blacklist to contiue to tickle the fancies of audiences everywhere. He was Smith’s hero–“I even watched him paint,” Gary tells me. It is written by and stars Jim Brochu and Smith aims to bring it Off- B’way next year having succeed with dates in Houston, San Francisco, and L.A., where it won an Ovation Award. Piper Laurie directs.
It’s off to Boise, Idaho next week for Smith who will produce-direct a Special opening for the Special Olympics (Feb.7) as well as its closing ceremony on the 11th. This year’s Special Olympics will host representaatives from 110 countries and 3000 athletes will particpate in the event which Eunice Shriver has created and continues to spearhead, giving inspiration globally. This year, the Special Olympics even include skiing events at Sun Valley. Thanks, again, Eurice.