Robert Klein

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Robert Klein
RobertKleinByPhilKonstantin.jpg
Klein on November 13, 2007
Born(1942-02-08) February 8, 1942 (age 71)
The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
MediumStand-up, television, film, theatre
NationalityAmerican
Years active1965–present
GenresObservational comedy, improvisational comedy, satire/Political satire, musical comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, American politics
InfluencesRodney Dangerfield,[1] Jonathan Winters,[2] Lenny Bruce[2]
InfluencedJay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld,[1] Nick DiPaolo[3]
SpouseBrenda Boozer (1973-1989; 1 child)
 
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Robert Klein
RobertKleinByPhilKonstantin.jpg
Klein on November 13, 2007
Born(1942-02-08) February 8, 1942 (age 71)
The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
MediumStand-up, television, film, theatre
NationalityAmerican
Years active1965–present
GenresObservational comedy, improvisational comedy, satire/Political satire, musical comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, American politics
InfluencesRodney Dangerfield,[1] Jonathan Winters,[2] Lenny Bruce[2]
InfluencedJay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld,[1] Nick DiPaolo[3]
SpouseBrenda Boozer (1973-1989; 1 child)

Robert Klein (born February 8, 1942) is an American stand-up comedian, singer and actor.

Early life[edit]

Klein was born in The Bronx, the son of Frieda (née Moskowitz) and Benjamin Klein,[4][5] and was raised in a "prototypical 1950s Bronx Jewish" environment.[6] After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School,[7] Klein had planned to study medicine; however, he changed his mind during his studies in university. After graduating from Alfred University,[8] he studied at Yale Drama School[9] when he got wind of an opportunity to audition for The Second City. In a piece he wrote for the improvisational troupe's book, Klein recalled sitting in a room full of other hopefuls, including Fred Willard. Klein's audition consisted of an improvisation set with Willard about two guys in a nightclub, which was successful enough to get Klein and Willard hired by Second City. Klein had said another young man, Billy Dee Williams, was invited to join the troupe, but turned it down.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Television[edit]

His first major appearance was as host of the 1970 summer replacement television series Comedy Tonight, on which were introduced many of the routines that in the next few years would be released on record albums. His extensive routines about the Watergate scandal made him highly popular in the 1970s. In 1974, he appeared in an episode of Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers.

Klein starred in HBO's first stand-up comedy special in 1975 during the cable channel's early broadcast days and has continued to appear in several more one-man shows which have typically concluded with his "I can't stop my leg" routine. In 1979, Klein was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in They're Playing Our Song. In 1985, he starred in the "Wordplay" episode of The New Twilight Zone.

In 1986, Klein had his own late night talk show, Robert Klein Time, which ran on the USA Network until 1988.

Klein hosted Monty Python Live at Aspen, a reunion and tribute show for the five surviving members of the British comedy troupe, in a special that appeared on HBO in 1998.

Albums[edit]

Klein has made several albums, the most successful being his first two.

In Child of the Fifties (1972), Klein talks about his life as a child in the 1950s: about air raid drills, Johnny Mathis music, showing off condoms while at the high school dance, the high school lunch ladies, Senator Joseph McCarthy, Governor Averell Harriman (of New York), meeting Yankee stars, the Yankees' losing the World Series, and much more. He also goes into other things that he has observed in his life, such as substitute teaching, 1970s FM radio disc jockeys, late night delis, and annoying commercials (e.g., Geritol). He also performed two songs that he wrote himself: "Fabulous '50s" and "Middle Class, Educated Blues."

His next album, Mind Over Matter (1974), included extensive discussion of the Watergate scandal and another song—the title track—about a kid who turned to humor to become popular.

His follow-up album, New Teeth (1975), featured the comedian's on-stage work on tracks such as "Mother Isn't Always Right" and his juxtaposition of George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say On Television, titled "Six Clean Words You Can Say Anywhere", with studio recorded material such as "Continental Steel" and "On The Bayou".

He responded to the end of the sexual revolution with his 1990 album, Let's Not Make Love, which contained many of the same routines as his 1984 HBO special, Child of the '50s, Man of the '80s, and his 1986 special, Robert Klein on Broadway.

Films and television[edit]

Klein has appeared in such movies as The Owl and the Pussycat, Hooper, Primary Colors, Radioland Murders, Ira and Abby, One Fine Day, Two Weeks Notice, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and The Safety of Objects. He had a recurring role in the TV drama series Sisters. In the 1970s, he hosted Saturday Night Live twice.

Klein is the author of The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue: A Child of the Fifties Looks Back, an autobiography published in 2006.

In March 2007, he starred with Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me, and in September 2007 released a new DVD compilation of his eight live HBO specials, titled Robert Klein: The HBO Specials 1975–2005.

Personal life[edit]

Klein is divorced from opera singer Brenda Boozer. They have a son, Alexander Stuart Klein.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award HBO, April 1, 2007
  2. ^ a b 2007 Interview from sfstandup.com
  3. ^ "Nick DiPaolo talks Stern, Opie and Anthony, Comedy Central — Artie Lange". Zimbio. 1967-10-11. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  4. ^ "Robert Klein Biography (1942–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  5. ^ "Robert Klein — Biography". Robertklein.com. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  6. ^ "Robert Klein chases skirts, washes tables". Jewishsf.com. 2005-06-24. Retrieved 2011-08-23. 
  7. ^ Wasserstein, Wendy. "THEATER; A Place They'd Never Been: the Theater", The New York Times, June 20, 1999. Accessed September 15, 2009. "DeWitt Clinton High School, named for the 19th-century New York mayor and governor, is the alma mater of the comedian Robert Klein, the designer Ralph Lauren and the writers James Baldwin and Avery Corman."
  8. ^ "Robert Klein Biography". The Conversation Company, Ltd. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  9. ^ Robert Klein: Comedy Close to Home from The New York Times

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Steve Martin
Saturday Night Live Host
January 28, 1978
Succeeded by
Chevy Chase