Sunday, February 1, 2015

Journey Through the Unknown by Murray Langston

Murray Langston, a.k.a. The Unknown Comic. Journey Through the Unknown...Albany, Ga.: BearManor Media, 2013.

The first celebrity Langston ever met was Mickey Rooney. Langston went up to Rooney. Rooney ignored him completely. The second celebrity Langston met was Jayne Mansfield, who was nice to all her fans Langston decided when he became known, he would treat his fans as Mansfield did.

Langston, a Canadian, joined the U.S. Navy. He wanted to work in radar. His Canadian citizenship removed him from his radar job and he was placed on latrine duty. Upset, he went AWOL then gave himself up. In explaining his situation, he was offered another non-classified position, He chose Special Services, where he became a naval radio disc a crew of 2,000. In this job, hemet Bob Hope who told him “Actors are a dime a dozen. Comedians can always become actors but actors can rarely become comedians.”

Langston got a job in the computer division of Universal Studios. He used to sneak onto set. He was stunned when he saw John Wayne wore a toupee.

Langston saw the Discovery of the Week segment on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In”. Unaware of standard business procedures where usually only agents contact producers, Langston called NBC and asked to speak to the show’s producer. He was put through to its producer George Schlatter. Langston told Schlatter he did an impression of a fork. Schlatter asked him to audition his act, which consisted of him standing with his hands up. His audition was before Schlatter as well as two people he would later work with, Chris Bearcle and Alan Blye. Langston heard no laughter or response during his audition, Yet they called him the next day to say they liked it and he was put on the show.

Langston auditioned for a five minute comedy sketch before George Jessel for his comedy club. He has hired. When he performed, the audience did not laugh much. He wondered why his audition went so well yet the same material bombed before an audience.

Langston got a lead in a comedy play “Dracula Sucks”.

He then was hired to be on the “Sonny and Show Show” performing skits at $1,000 weekly. The show began as a summer replacement series and then became a regular series.

Langston learned Cher had natural comedic talent. He once dressed as a werewolf and tried to see Cher with his furry hand. Cher was not scared and immediately responded “Sonny, your mother’s here.” He did successfully scare Carol Burnett with a similar werewolf costume prank while she was having her makeup applied.

Steve Martin was one of the show’s writers and performed on some sketches.
Langston continued performing in comedy clubs

Langston and an African American comic, Freeman ing, joined appearing in Sonny and Cher’s live show. King responded to a heckler, who was a casino high roller, with a standard line for hecklers “why are you bothering us trying to do our job. We don’t go to your job and take away your plunger, do we?” When they then went to shake the heckler’s hand, he refused and instead left and demanded they be fired. Sonny fired them. Langston believes Sonny should instead have defended them. Langston notes Sonny often belittled his cast, referring to them as “atmosphere”.

The cast attended Sonny’s birthday party yet the cast did not buy him a gift When Sonny observed this, one of the cast told Sonny never gave them any gifts. Sonny jokingly threatened to fire them, yet he saw the cast stuck together, They kept their jobs.

Sonny and Cher divorced. The split was vicious. “The Sonny Comedy Hour” was created that kept the same cast. Ratings dropped and it was cancelled after six shows.

Langston observed “Achieving success in Showbiz is primarily being at the right place at the right time with the right look. Talent, though a plus, is usually secondary. However, what ensures is the more talent you possess, the longer ou last in the business.”

Langston and several of the “Sonny and Cher Show” cast were hired to appear on “The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show.”

Langston opened his own comedy club. Comedy roasts were held there.

Langston was on “The Bobby Vinton Show” in Canada performing comedy sketches. He found Bobby Vinon the most aloof of actors who never socialized with any of the cast. Alan Thicke worked on the show and did not like Langston and wanted Langston fired.

Langston then appeared of “The Lola Fanala Show”.

Langston heard about an amateur talent show called “The Gong Show” that gave $500 prizes. Union members who did not win got $250. Langston decided to appear on the show wearing a bag over his head so that those who knew him would not recognize him. He called himself the Unknown Comic. He insulted the host Chuck Barris., who on air closed the curtain on Langston’s act. After the show, Barris told Langston he loved the act and asked him to return on the show show. Barris then hired Langston at $500 per week. Barris then added Langston as a writer on the show.

Langston also appeared on “The Wolfman Jack Show”. He filmed 20 episodes in a month in Vancouver. He found Wolfman Jack as one of the nicest he ever met.

Langston was hired to be on the “Everyday” afternoon talk show. The show ran si months as it did not fare well against the “Phil Donahue” show.

The Improv and the Comedy Store refused to pay comedy acts performing at these clubs, Comics, including David Letterman and Jay Leon, went on strike demanding $25 per night, The Improv agreed first, he Comedy Store, owned by Mitzi Shore, gave in after five weeks. Shore refused to let strike leaders perform at the Comedy Store

Langston believes Billy Crystal primarily associates with people who can help his career. He did not seem to associate with other comics whom Crystal may have felt were beneath him

Langston learned his agent took not only 15% of his earnings yet also got expenses, including flying first class to see Langston perform at venues where Langston flew coach, Langston was further upset to see his lawyer charged $250 to review standing contracts at talk shows that paid $300.

Langston told a joke on his “Make Me Laugh” TV show that “Frank Sinatra recently opened a halfway house for girls who won’t go all the way.” Sinatra called Langston threatening to “break your fucking head into a million tiny pieces.”

Langston starred in the Playboy Channel’s “The Unknown Comedy Hour”. It was that channel’s second highest rated show.

Langston was in the movie “The Being” with Martin Landau.

Bill Osco, a porn film producer, produced Langston in Playboy Channel’s “The Sex and Violence Hour”. It also starred Jim Carrey.

Langston appeared in the movie “Stiches”. He was not given a script and was told to ad lib his role, which he did.

Langston appeared on the Jerry Lewis’s Muscular Dystrophy Telethon He was pleased to see the audience and crew all wearing bags over their hards in honor of his character.

Langston acted in a move “Lightening the White Stallion” with Mickey Rooney. Langston was saddened to see Rooney was as difficult a man as when he first met him, noting that “it was truly embarrassing watching that pitiful, self-absorbed, self-proclaimed icon.”

Langston was the sidekick to Larry Anderson during a run of “Truth or Consequences”.

Langston borrowed $100,000 and produced his own film “Up Your Alley”. He co-starred in it with Linda Blair. It was profitable, His reputation for making money on a low budget allowed him to direct “Wishful Thinking” for an investor who risked $200,000. It make a profit on distribution.

Langston hosed 40 episodes of “Comic Strip Loive”,. He hen appearing in a movie “Bringing Up Business” with Gary Owens.

Langston appeared on and was a writer on “Candid Camera with Do DeLuise I lasted six months. He believes editing problems hurt the show as editors were not aware of what was funny while working under pressure to edit for a daily television show.

George Clooney did a movie “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” based on Chuck Barris’s autography. Langston learned the role of the Unknown Comic had been cast without anyone contacting hi. Langston’s attorney noted that the Unknown Comic was a copyrighted character that could not be used without Langston’s permission, Since the Unknown Comic scenes had already been filmed, Looney offered Langston to play himself in the movie. Langston accepted

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