Paul Zimmerman is the screenwriter of the film "The King of Comedy," directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis. Zimmerman was previously the movies editor for Newsweek and has written several books. ZImmerman is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and is active in the Bucks Alliance for Nuclear Disarmament (B.A.N.D.). Now, that "The King of Comedy," has been released, Zimmerman returns to Fresh Air to discuss the film.
Comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He arrived in the U.S. from the Soviet Union 10 years ago with $100 in his pocket. Today he is a leading comic who has appeared in movies and had his own syndicated TV show called "What A Country."
Critic-at-Large Laurie Stone discusses the comedy of Harry Shearer, best known for his two years on the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and for his role as the heavy metalist Derrick Small in the movie "This is Spinal Tap," the concert film spoof.
Comedian Richard Belzer. After struggling through a poor and difficult childhood and a rough decade trying to make it as a comic, he is now performing in comedy clubs from coast to coast. He is also appearing in movies, and starring in comedy specials on cable TV.
Comic and actor Howie Mandel. Mandel is one of the stars of "St. Elsewhere," the acclaimed NBC weekly series that follows the lives of the medical staff of the beleaguered St. Eligius, a fictional hospital set in a rough-and-tumble Boston neighborhood. Today, May 25, is final episode of the seven-year series.
Smith has showcased her deadpan humor on stage and television, including spots on the Late Show with David Letterman. Lately, she's been more interested in acting, hoping to distance herself from what she sees as sexist and racist trends in the world of stand-up.
Carol Leifer wrote for Saturday Night Live and later started performing her own material on stage. A recent divorcee, she's surprised by how bleak the dating scene is. She joins Fresh Air to talk about her personal and working life.
Critic-at-large Laurie Stone reviews Joan Rivers' new standup act. Stone says the performance loses steam midway through, when Rivers resorts to attacking the women in her audience. Rivers has grown more confident, accomplished and glamorous over the years; Stone hopes her comedy will one day reflect those changes.