Monday, September 19, 2011

Even More Old Jewish Comedians at the Friars

The one, the only Abe Vigoda!
ABE VIGODA. Need I say more?

 All right, I will. On 9/15/11, the legendary NY Friars Club on E. 55th St ("Friars Way") hosted a "Book-Warming" party in the "Milton Berle Room" (the largest room) for my new book "Even More Old Jewish Comedians" (Fantagraphics).

The party was hosted by the book's cover boy, younger Old Jewish Comedian Stewie Stone. Among those also included in the new book who attended and did schtick for the crowd were veteran comics Bobby Ramsen, Eddie Lawrence ("The Old Philosopher"), and the one, the only... Abe Vigoda. The great Larry Storch, who was in the second volume, also delighted the crowd with his spot-on impersonations. A memorable time was (hopefully) had by all, Jew & non-Jew alike.

From the NY Daily News "Gatecrasher" column by Frank DiGiacomo. 5th story...

This blog by Comedy historian Ronald Smith has more party details:

Thanks to the following photographers for sharing their terrific photos: Randy Bucknoff, Mel Neuhaus, John Shea, David Burd, Bob Greenberg, Kevin Goodman and my brother Kipp Friedman.
The party invitation

The Friars club, ready for the Old Jewish Comedian onslaught 
The excited crowd lines up down the block for the party
gathering inside the huge Milton Berle room
I present the new book to my old pal, comedian Gilbert Gottfried and his wife Dara. Gilbert blurbed the back cover.
Gilbert is always delighted to see his name in print!
Me & Gilbert

Two legends: Mad magazine's Al Jaffee & "Handsome" Dick Manitoba
#1 Howard Stern "Superfan" Liz Belmont & Handsome Dick
Me & the great comedian Larry Storch, forever Agarn of F-Troop fame

My brother Kipp with Larry
Eddie Lawrence, Larry Storch, comedian Tommy Moore and the guy with the amazing mustache
Larry & Gilbert

Larry & Zero Mostel look-a-like

Old Jewish comedian Bobby Ramsen inscribes his portrait to Young Jewish comedian Mike Fine
With Comedian/actor and former Uncle Floyd cast member Michael Townsend Wright
actors Craig Bierko and Michael Wright

Famed Comedy writer Tom Leopold mingles with comedienne/Friar Nancy Lombardo
Old school pals: the great cartoonist Mark Newgarden and the great jazz musician Gene Williams
Eddie Lawrence and comic/Friar Bob Greenberg

Drew & Kipp Friedman
Cover boy Stewie Stone warms up the crowd: "That was a funny joke! Fuck You!"
Stewie holds up the book. I told him he was much cuter in person.
Comedian Bobby Ramsen tells the crowd he had to change his original name in order to get work, which was Helen Hayes.
Bobby Ramsen
former Uncle Floyd cast member Artie Delmar clicks away
The Old Philosopher Eddie Lawrence ("What'sa Matter Bunky?")
The Old Philosopher, still as brilliant as ever
Larry Storch imitating Buddy Hackett: "Buddy calls me at 3 AM... 'Hey Storch, You Can't Sleep Either?' ".
Larry Storch delighting the crowd with an orgasm joke.
I thank everyone for coming... and dressing so nicely. Stewie and I both went tieless.
" I just hope you people realize, this is the building, right upstairs, where Milton Berle took out only enough to win"
Paying tribute to the late Mickey Freeman (Fielding Zimmerman from "Bilko"), who the book is dedicated to:  "Mickey would corner every fellow Friar and demand they buy the book!"
Suddenly, look who enters the room! The seas part! The crowd goes wild!

Abe makes his way to the podium...
Abe Vigoda takes to the podium.
Abe graciously thanks everyone for the warm welcome

Friedman & Vigoda
I inform Abe that most people don't know that he's Jewish due to that little film he appeared in. 
Before departing, Abe sings a little tune about all his female conquests. I mention they're all in the room. What a Night!!


  1. Drew, baby...

    You got the world by the ass! That's quite an outfit Abe's wearing. Thanks for showing!!

  2. Mamacita! This can't get any better!!! I just bought your first book in this series when I chanced upon it in a bookstore last Saturday night. I was stopping in to buy a magazine and saw it beckoning to me on a front table - "I've got to get that" I proclaimed to my wife. I loved "Old Jewish Comedians!" There's such life bursting out of those wordless pages. You've said more with tone than thousands of words could ever do. Just looking at it [because that's all you can do, apart from the foreword] makes me laugh. I particularly love your portrait of Al Lewis.

    So I stopped in to your blog today and it's like my birthday gift a week early [plus Chanukah]! I have two words - Larry Storch! Larry -freaking- Storch!! Bless you for sharing the joy with the unwashed masses. I love you, you're beautiful. Don't ever change… and I mean that sincerely!

  3. I was there! Yet I still can't stop looking at photos of the event. Man, when Drew has a new book the stars really come out!

  4. What a night! It was one of those rare occasions where everyone in the room (and the spillover) was keenly aware that this particular palpable feel in the air was unique and soon to be an elusive and charming memory; not only of an evening, but of an era. Thank you, Drew, for allowing that era to live once more.

  5. The great Abe Vigoda. Okay, I'll be the first to say it: I thought he was dead. (Um, he isn't - right?) Hey, that's my old SVA pal Gene Williams! Well, I guess the world lost a great caricaturist and vocal impressionist, but gained a great jazz artist. Cheers, Gene!

  6. Drew thanks for the acknowledgement. It was a night to remember. For me it was several hours in Jewish Comedian heaven. Thank you for a great evening breath mints withstanding.