Friday, October 19, 2007

More Joey Bishop

“Marilyn, I told you to sit in the truck,”
Joey Bishop (1918-2007), comedian, In the middle of a performance at the Copacabana in Manhattan, Marilyn Monroe suddenly appeared, swathed in white ermine. From the New York Times obituary

From the book Photo By Sammy Davis, Jr. text by Burt Boyar
At opening night during Sinatra’s sold-out engagement at the Copa, the room was packed full with major celebrities, crackling with excitement, anticipating Sinatra’s presence. Frank skipped the dinner show for opening night. He would open at midnight for the heavy hitters. Every columnist, every name in New York was there, glued to their coveted seats, waiting for Sinatra.

The buzz around the room was restrained hysteria. Two words could be heard over everything: Sinatra…Frank…Sinatra. Finally, the band blared, a drum roll, the show was starting. The announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Joey Bishop,” and on walked a virtually unknown comic, Frank’s opening act. The disinterest in him was embarrassing. People hardly turned their heads toward him. He stood in the center of the tiny stage, just a few feet away from tables on this left, right, and in front of him. He did not speak. He waited. Slowly the room began quieting down, focusing on this curiosity. When there was silence he looked meaningfully around at the overflow crowd.

“You think this is something? Wait’ll Frank’s people get here.”

It shattered the ice. Joey had worked for months on a brand new act, he threw it all way that night and ad-libbed himself into becoming a star.

This is the stuff my parents and grandparents watched when I was a kid. The video is really rather corny, but it gives you a feel for the era.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the Mark says: I didn't realize he was still around. I saw a Rat Pack impersonation show in Vegas last year and the guy who did Bishop was great. The jokes (that Bishop used to perform) were so simple, but because of the delivery (which was Bishop's fame) everyone in the audience was on the floor rolling in laughter.