The last time Alan Bursky performed at the Improv was eight years ago.
The last time I saw him was at Fran Cowan's memorial service, asking if there were any dates available so he could get booked up here. Comics don't care when the opportunity arises so long as it arises.
Alan, who opens for Bobby Collins through Sunday, had a long career dating back to the 1970s, when he made his national television debut on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" at the age of 18, making him the youngest comedian ever to appear on the show.
Things opened up for him quickly, appearing in a guest-starring role on "The Partridge Family" and other standup appearances and specials hosted by Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, Jim Nabors and Richard Pryor. It was his appearance on "The Mike Douglas Show" that really stood out, because he was also booked with one of the fastest-rising young comics of that decade, Freddie Prinze. In fact, both Alan and Freddie Prinze were roommates.
Alan once joked that Freddie would say, "Can you see the headlines, 'Freddie Prinze dead.' I would kid him back and say, 'You better hope there isn't an earthquake that day.' Turns out there was a massive blizzard in New York that day. The headlines of the New York Times was 'Snow stuns city.' Underneath it said, 'Freddie Prinze succumbs to self-inflicted gunshot.' One of the saddest days in showbiz."
Alan eventually made what many thought was an interesting transition in the business. He went from being a standup comic to an agent who books comics when he was hired by David Shapira & Associates to head up its comedy division. That means that for a brief stint Bursky went from being a standup comic to an agent that booked standups before returning full time to doing comedy. As one can imagine, Alan has some of the most interesting showbiz stories from both sides of the aisle.
Alan has had several comebacks. Like I alluded to earlier, it has been eight years and I'm curious to see how he does, what he's been up to, but more importantly to see how his comedy has transformed. It's already a good lineup with Bobby Collins headlining, so working with Alan this week should prove very entertaining given the nature of their two very different backgrounds.