Judy Gold stars on the Improv stage all week
A month after she was here last, Judy Gold sent me a text: “I’m not depressed. I wanna come back.”
It cracked me up because with Judy you can experience all of her moods in the same day. The cool thing about Judy is that her comedy reflects whatever mood she’s in at the time both on and off stage, although I always find myself wondering if she’s putting me on. She’s just fun to hang out with, and she’ll headline at the Improv at Harveys through Sunday, May 22.
Judy first got the comedy bug while attending Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ.
“I loved dorm life,” she said. “In my freshman year we had this amazing group of people living together. At holiday time we did Secret Santas.
“We were a very creative group so everyday we would get these notes telling us what to do to get our prize. One day my note said that I had to do a standup comedy show in the lounge on my floor, using our dorm mates as material. Well, I took the whole day off from classes and wrote jokes about everyone who lived on my floor. I was so nervous, but I killed. I got a high from doing that that I had never had from doing anything else.”
Soon, Gold was doing open mics in the city and she wasn’t even old enough to drink. She earned a degree in music before becoming a comic.
Judy’s done very well since her days at Rutgers. The Emmy Award winning comedian completed a long-term engagement of her critically acclaimed, off-Broadway hit show, “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,” which she wrote with Kate Moira Ryan. The one-woman show was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and won the 2007 GLAAD award for Outstanding New York Theater.
The New York Times called the show “fiercely funny, honest and moving” and Time Out declared the it a “genuine mitzvah.” The show also won the prestigious Quill Award.
Judy’s new show, “It’s Judy’s Show: My Life As A Sitcom,” debuted to rave reviews in Washington, DC, and was featured at this year’s Williamstown Theatre Festival to more rave reviews. Most recently, Judy has been in the cast of Nora & Delia Ephron’s Off-Broadway play, “Love, Loss and What I Wore.”
Judy has also been a host on ABC’s “The View,” and HBO’s “At the Multiplex with Judy Gold,” was on Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time” and was the host for the 2006 GLAAD Media Awards.
Ronnie Schell’s career stretches over 60 years. Sixty years!
Back in 1950s, Ronnie was a contestant on the original “You Bet Your Life” when he professed to host Groucho Marx that he wanted to get into show business. In that same decade Ronnie billed himself as “America’s Slowest-Rising Young Comedian,” and still to this day sticks to that title.
Most people when they see the Bay Area native will ask, “Where have I seen this guy before?” Most know him as Duke from the classic ’60s sitcom”Gomer Pyle, USMC” and on “The Jim Nabor’s Variety Hour.”
I remember his character as Marlo Thomas’ agent, Harvey Peck on ABC’s “That Girl.” He also co-starring with Goldie Hawn for two seasons on the CBS series, “Good Morning, World.”
It’s inspiring to see him still doing comedy because he wants to by choice. He just loves performing in front of an audience. He’s also great to just hang with. Comics love hearing his old showbiz stories which he has plenty.
He used to joke that the late Harvey Korman “used to borrow part of my act” which I just assumed was the norm especially when you heard stories of the late Milton Berle who was known for lifting many works from other comics. He made no bones about it by the way even putting out a series of comedy books with thousands of jokes.
Ronnie has worked with all of the legends including Tim Conway and the late Rodney Dangerfield to name just a few.
In addition to his television work Ronnie has appeared in numerous motion pictures as well including “The Cat From Outer Space” (that’s Ronnie’s voice you hear as the cat), “The Revenge Of The Red Baron” and Carl Reiner’s “Fatal Instinct,” starring Mickey Rooney and Laraine Newman. Ronnie in 1999 co-starred in two independent films, “View From The Swing” with Tim Conway and Jennifer Grant and the comedy, “Pride And Peril.”
He started out in San Francisco back when Mort Sahl and the Smothers Brothers appeared on the scene playing the legendary Purple Onion and Boarding House long before there was an Improv Comedy Club. Ronnie loaned his voice for a for BART, a public transportation system
Ronnie Schell was awarded a lifetime achievement award (the first ever) at the annual Comedy Day celebration that has taken place in San Francisco for more than 28 years. I was out there to congratulate him and he just said, “Well, they give you things when they think you’ll be leaving this world soon.” So Ronnie…