What Questions Do You Have For Comedians Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen?
By Christal Roberts on December 12, 2008
BlogHer Original Post
Okay BlogHer readers, I need your input for a podcast interview I'm doing on December 22nd with comedians Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen.
You might remember Tim Reid as the oh, so fly, Venus Flytrap on television in "WKRP in Cincinnati" or the star and executive producer of the critically acclaimed show "Frank's Place." You might remember Tom Dreesen as the comic who opened for Frank Sinatra for years or as the standup comedian who was a fixture on "The Tonight Show."
But do you remember that Tim and Tom did an interracial standup act for years in the late sixties and early seventies?
Well they did and now these two funny men have a book out "Tim and Tom, An American Comedy in Black and White" that gives us a backstage look at their act and how they used the politics and social upheaval of the time as their material.
As Dreesen points out in the book:
We must have been crazy. Do you remember what was going on in America then? Vietnam. Race riots. Cities burning. Protests in the streets. About the time we were getting our first gigs in Chicago, for instance, Fred Hampton was killed in an FBI raid on Black Panther headquarters and police were using tear gas to
break up a race riot at my own high school. And here we were thinking we could make a difference by telling jokes. We were so naïve.
At a recent appearance, Tim Reid was philisophical:
Sometimes, I feel like we're Forrest Gump. We didn't make history so much as we weaved through it.
Flash foward to today and Tim and Tom have some interesting ideas about race and comedy in the age of Barack Obama. Here's a quote from a recent article they wrote for CNN.com:
Obama's election represents a challenge to comedians who deal in racial humor. With a confident, eloquent black man in the White House, along with a beautiful, accomplished wife and two impossibly adorable children, can any young black comic possibly still do jokes about bitches and 'hos?
Won't the very audiences they're trying to reach rebel and say, "Wait a minute -- we're past that now. It's not how we are going to be represented any more"?
I have lots to talk to them about like their early careers, what they're up to now, and with all the talk about Jay Leno and the late night wars, why aren't there any women headlining a late night show?
You have until 3PM EST, December 18th to leave your questions in the comments below. Then look for what I expect to be a really fun podcast to be posted a couple of weeks after that.
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television and Online Video and she once...for about five minutes...considered being a standup comedian. Megan's other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock, and Video Runway.
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