Posts Tagged ‘Jack Palance’

Audio: Bruce Vilanch Talks the “golden age” of TV variety shows and specials, “The Star Wars Holiday Special” and “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, ” and more…

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Player FM
Audio: Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast – #220 Bruce Vilanch
By Earwolf and Gilbert Gottfried.
August 13, 2018

Gilbert and Frank welcome an old friend, legendary comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, who looks back at the “golden age” of TV variety shows and specials, including “Donny & Marie,” “The Brady Bunch Hour,” “The Star Wars Holiday Special” and “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.” (all co-written by Bruce himself). Also, Margaret Hamilton makes her move, Robert Reed channels Carmen Miranda, Jack Benny does “The Match Bit” and Gilbert takes over “Hollywood Squares.” PLUS: Jack Palance! Bob Hope’s filing cabinet! “Wayne Newton at SeaWorld”! Bruce hangs with Tallulah Bankhead! And the Oscar joke that never made the air! Read More

A Case For Throwing Out The Oscar’s Script

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

New York Times
Academy Awards 25 Years Ago: Not So Different From Today
By Bruce Fretts
Feb. 24, 2017

From the moment the host Billy Crystal was wheeled onstage wearing a straitjacket and a face mask à la Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” viewers knew the 1992 Oscars were not going to be normal.

“It was a bit like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” Jodie Foster, the “Silence” star who won best actress that year, recalled in a telephone interview. “You were being catapulted from one surreal experience to the next.” Read More

Oscar funnyman to show: play up envelope mess, not harassers

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

WRAL
Oscar funnyman to show: play up envelope mess, not harassers
February 15, 2018
By LYNN ELBER

LOS ANGELES — Put comedy writer Bruce Vilanch on the spot by asking if he has a political gag suitable for the Oscars, and he makes a game try.

“There’s probably a joke in Trump buying three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Vilanch said, “because that’s all he does is publicize himself. So it seems to me you have a nice, clean shot on the ninth hole.”

He doesn’t have to sweat polishing the riff on best-picture nominee “Three Billboards.” While he’s crafted one-liners for hosts and presenters for 23 Oscar shows, he’ll be watching comfortably at home and with Koosh balls at the ready. Read More

“An Evening with Bruce Vilanch” Saturday, Aug. 31, Los Gatos

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

JWeekly
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A wacky night at the JCC with Oscars joke-meister Bruce Vilanch
by dan pine, j. staff

4-27-2013 4-01-43 AM

Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch is normally not a praying man. But backstage at the Academy Awards, for which he has long served as head writer, he often gets religion.

“You pray that somebody will make a fool of themselves in the early minutes of the evening,” Vilanch says of the unpredictable live telecast, “then you take it and run with it.”

The classic example came during the 1992 Oscars, when Jack Palance celebrated his Best Supporting Actor win by doing a few one-armed push-ups. That sparked a night of priceless quips from host Billy Crystal, many written on the fly by Vilanch (“Jack Palance just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood Sign”). Read More

Interview: Bruce Vilanch performs May 7 in Queens

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Queensboro Chronicles
04/28/2011
Bruce Vilanch: king of the funny business
by Mark Lord , qboro contributor


He’s long been the go-to man for anyone in show business in need of a funny line. He’s probably even made you laugh, though you may not know it. The often clever sometimes crass words of Bruce Vilanch have been uttered by everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to James Franco.
Yes, Franco, whose recent stint as co-host of the Academy Awards didn’t exactly leave anyone rolling in the aisles.
“It was difficult to try to make him a sparkling host when it’s not his natural inclination,” Vilanch, 62, admitted in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles, which has been his home since 1975.
But Vilanch and the actor, better known for more serious undertakings, have apparently forgiven each other for everything — including a Twitter spat spawned after some bad press.
“I’ve gotten rave reviews and hideous reviews for the Oscar shows,” Vilanch said, and often for the same one — he’s written more than 20 in all.
In 1991, the year Jack Palance won as best supporting actor, Vilanch was in his element. When the then 73-year-old Palance dropped to the floor in celebration to knock off some one-armed push-ups, Vilanch and his fellow writers found themselves in the wings rewriting the show, tossing the old jokes and putting in some new Jack Palance jokes. Pure comedy gold and one of Vilanch’s several Emmy Awards were the result of the endeavor.
Adopted when he was four days old, Vilanch was raised in New Jersey. “My family still lives there except in the winter when they’re in Boca,” he said.
“There are always reasons to be back in New York. Astoria has become the chorus boy capital of the world. The N train is now called the ‘Gypsy Rush,’” he joked.
He recalled that as a child he visited the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park, the site of his upcoming show. “I went for the Belgian waffles … A breakfast snack all day long,” the amply proportioned Vilanch said. On May 7, the comedian will bring his life story to the Queens Theatre in the Park stage for one night only.
Though he loves New York, the West Coast denizen has no plans to leave sunny Southern California, “I love the weather,” he said. If anyone doesn’t like the lifestyle out there, he tells them, “Please leave — more parking space for Bruce.”
In his show, which he dubs “a sit-down comedy,” he will regale audiences with inside stories “about the crazy people who are in show business.”
His opening act, the Bev Leslies, are a soulful band who cover a wide range of music. He met them thanks to his ongoing association with Bette Midler.
“I’ve worked with her for 40 years,” he said. “And she’s only 32.”
Early in his career, Vilanch focused primarily on writing, a discipline he described as “very private. You have to set a schedule for yourself. When I’m writing what I like, I get into the zone. When I sit down and focus, it comes naturally. Is it because panic is the mother of invention?”
Since appearing on the revised edition of television’s popular game show “Hollywood Squares” in the 1990s, he’s added more frequent gigs to his schedule.“You get instant gratification when you’re performing,” he said.
He described his Broadway debut in 2005 as Edna Turnblad, one of the stars of the musical “Hairspray,” as a career highlight, along with “watching Bette Midler ascend” and writing the Oscars.
Vilanch recalled watching the Oscars as a child in a bathrobe, knowing he was destined for a career in show business. “From the time I was a little kid, I was totally struck,” he said. Luckily, he had a supportive mother who encouraged everything he did. “She has great timing. I imitate her a lot,” he said.
“I once got her a part as a dead body on ‘Law and Order,’ but she declined because it cost too much to join the union.”
Vilanch is known for sporting tight fitting T-shirts bearing slogans replete with double entendres, a practice that began because “when you have a body like this, you have to show it off.” In truth, he did it originally as an act of rebelliousness against his fastidious mother, but soon found the style suited his career.
What question, if any, does he wish he would be asked? Ever topical, the openly gay Vilanch quipped, “‘Are rumors about you and Prince William true?’ But why would they ask that?” Read More