Jewish Journal

The ETV Interview: The Amazing Steven Pearl! PLUS: My First Official Letter of Complaint!!

by Steven Alan Green

November 14, 2012 | 6:09 pm

Pearl: Incomprehensibly Hilarious!

One of the finer things of moving from city to city is that you get to reinvent yourself.   Nobody from your past life knows you, except maybe your other personalities.   For all strangers know, you could be a serial killer, or worse, a comedian.   I’ve been playing this role as your faithful comedy review blogger for three months now and it’s been truly fun, oddly fulfilling and incredibly difficult at times.   Difficult because I’m known in the comedy community as a comedian myself, and suddenly I’m thrust into reviewing a comedy show, that only a month previous, I was unsuccessfully trying to get on.  And, not that in a hundred years, I would ever think that someone should have to put me on their stage!  That's not me.  The truth is that some people have been just downright rude.   I’ve had one comedy promoter, whose response to a simple post-show email with a handful of pertinent and relevant questions, such as, “When did you first come up with the idea for this great show?,” was a plain and simple, “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?”   Perhaps he thought I was being sarcastic.  I don’t know.  I’ve had comedy producers at major and well-known venues actually charge me to get in to their show that I am there to review.   And, I’ve had comedians invite me to shows that have been cancelled, but they somehow conveniently forgot to notify me of this minor little set-back.  Never mind that I’m on a bicycle and a bus.   I’ve had it all basically.    I have to say, out of full and honest disclosure, as well as public appreciation, that most of the comedy promoters, comedians and comedy clubs have been super nice to me.   I don’t ask for much.  Just a seat in the back, preferably next to a cocktail table, with a little light and perhaps my prerequisite Diet Coke with lemon.  I’ve long ago dropped my request for an evening with one of the waitresses, especially since they’ve started hiring male.   Like I say, I don’t ask for much.   Well, this morning, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I received an email from a comedian I’ve never heard of; a comedian who had some rather harsh things to say to me about me and how I run my insignificant little blog.   Below is the entire contents of that email, followed by my response: (and he spells my name wrong!)

Dear Mr. Allen-Green:

I am a 50-year comedy veteran from the British Isles.  I’ve been on all sides of all Show Biz media.   And, I must say, although I truly enjoy your little insignificant blog at The Jewish Journal online, Enjoy the Veal, I am a bit disappointed that you haven’t highlighted any British comedians up until now.   I say, “up until now” because, I’m hoping, after reading my letter, the winds of unfairness swirling ‘round your obviously hollow head will soon change direction.   I did see your piece on London comedy promoter Peter Grahame.   I know his club.  It’s great.  I think he’s a git.  Didn’t like my heckling other comedians “so uncleverly,” as he put it.   Anyway, by happenstance, I find myself delightfully stuck in in the fair city of San Francisco and I would very much like you to come down and see my act some time.   In England, I once reached the glory of fame, sharing the limelight with the likes of such British comedy greats as Jeremy Picklesworth, Mondo & Minnie, and one memorable evening with Francis Bavier, who is best known for her enduring and memorable role as “Ain’t Bea” on The Andy Griffith Show. (I always thought, by the by, if she wasn’t Bea, then who was she?! Lol.  I just love that joke.   Anyway, carry on.)  Bavier happened to do an hilarious impression of a drunken accordion player on the wavering deck of the Titanic, which almost always brought down the house, as well as the boat itself.   But, I digress.

The purpose of this letter is two things.  One, I’d like to ask you a favour.  Two, I would like to take you to task for your continued unfair treatment of Jerry Lewis.   I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Lewis for decades.  Perhaps more than any other living Subject of Her Majesty’s Empire, I am completely well-versed in all aspects of Jerry Lewis and his incredible accomplishments and I must take exception to your “Open Letter to Jerry Lewis” published on Sept 26 of this year and I am hereby challenging you to a formal and public apology to Mr. Lewis.  What you say about him and his past actions have no bearing whatsoever on the man’s truly incredible accomplishments, both in the fine art of comedy and in the world of philanthropy.  You should be fully ashamed of yourself and in my humble opinion, should be banned from ever writing another syllable again.  

Having said all that….

If you can, Mr. Green, please, please, please, come down and see my act, just once, let me buy you a drink (a Diet Coke, if you prefer) and then perhaps I can begin my mighty climb back up the imaginary ladder of success, all the way upwards to the floating cloud of glorious fame, of which I obviously and forever belong, but not necessarily in that particular order.   Whichever way you like, is fine with me, sir.  

Thank you for your time and kind consideration.   And, please.  Leave Jerry Lewis alone.   You git!


Nigel Arrisson, Comedian, Capitalist and Theatre Critic for The London Fogg

Here’s my simply response back to Mr. Arrisson:

Dear Mr. Arrisson:

Thank you for your passionate inquiry.   Consider yourself ‘on’.  I’ll be there at the next show and very much look forward to sharing a drink with your kind self, sir; after, and only after, I watch you bring down a San Francisco comedy house down like the 1906 quake with your aforementioned and intimated incredible arsenal of mirth and frivolity.   And, as far as Jerry Lewis is concerned, if, and only if, I think you’re intellectually capable of understanding the complexities of the situation, will I even engage in casual conversation about said subject.   It’s very complex.  Jerry cost me quite a bit, and yet, he still is, and shall forever remain, my childhood hero.  In short, if you impress me enough with your comedy (as you’ve certainly done with your email) then I’ll give you the privilege of grilling me hands-free about said French-worshiped comedian and comedy god, free and clear.  In fact, there’s nothing I look forward to more, except maybe Princess Kate. 


Steven Alan Green, Enjoy the Veal, The Jewish Journal online.

So, I’m gonna check Mr. Nigel Arrisson out; see if he’s for real and report back to you when I do.   And, of course I will inform him exactly how it works.  I charge $500 for a good review, $250 for bribing me not to write a bad review and $1,000 for a quote. JOKING!!!!!! Oh, I crack myself up sometimes.... In the meantime, there’s a lot to present to you this week.   A lot going on and I want to get to the main meaty event straight away.   

Steven Pearl is a total nut job.   But, he’s also one of the most dedicated and funniest nut-jobs truly “out there”.   Pearl is a hybrid comedian.   He’s one half super-fast, super-imaginative, super-prolific rapid-fire comedy manufacturer and distributor; who is counter-balanced by another half of himself: a to-the-book traditionalist and rationalist,  who – were he suddenly magically transported to Grossingers in the Borst Belt in 1958, would quickly excuse himself to the bathroom, comb his hair the other way, put on the stolen bow-tie he just grabbed from the Maître d' like Groucho, and as soon as the band fired up, he’d adjust his posture like a goodfella, then casually stroll into the basking smoke-filled ghost-white spotlight, which shields and filters the audience into black and white Holocaust snaps.   Steven Pearl is truly one of those left behind treasures the Pirates of Hollywood either forgot to pilfer or didn’t understand what is value for money to begin with.   Besides, WTF do they know?   They’re from Cornwall.   Steven is not.  He’s from Far Rockaway, NY by way of Long Island, the little bit of dry-land (well, not these days!) by coincidence, your not-so-humble comedy reporter hails from.  My parents left Long Island, moving across country to Beverly Hills when I was 3.   I found them six months later…  

Conjuring excitement in audiences’ faces like they were on an out of control downward Coney Island roller-coaster car since 1979, Pearl burst onto the New York Comedy Scene when it was still white hot.   Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Larry David, Carol Leifer, Paul Reiser, Paul Provenza, Rick Overton, Andy Kaufman were just about to be plucked by such early comedy sherpas as Chris Albrecht, who himself, started as one half of a double-act, co-anchored by Andy Kaufman’s writer Bob Zmuda.   “Albrecht and Zmuda, Comedy from A to Z”.    Once opportunity hit, Albrecht dropped the mic, picked up the phone and took over management of the Improv on 44th and 9th, turning it into roller-skating waitress heaven, whilst some of the greatest comedy minds of the time graced Budd Friedman’s well-controlled stage, in what was to be the main emerging ripple-making cultural revolution river, with tributaries running from San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and New York, all culminating and feeding into the dangerous rapids known as Hollywood.   Albrecht went on the represent the likes of Eddie Murphy and a skinny and goofy unknown Toronton, Jim Carrey.   From there he went on to create one of the greatest media empires, HBO.    Then he supposedly hit his woman outside the fights in Vegas.   HBO fired him.   But, I thought HBO stood for “Hit the Bitch Outside”.   Now THAT’S a joke, folks.  Not advocacy for domestic (or even foreign) violence.  Anyway, my whole point about Albrecht and New York and the original Improv is that Steven Pearl was an emerging part of that incredibly creative scene, out of two of the main and important New York comedy clubs, Catch a Rising Star and The Improv.    But, it was in San Francisco, during the Comedy Big Bang, where Steven Pearl was to find comedy atmosphere he could breathe and where the audience, who by nature of their locale, were genetically altered, predisposed, and indeed proudly possessed positive predilection towards not just new, but indeed incomprehensibly new ideas, and that, my friends, is the pearl of Steven Pearl. 

A late Eighties gig opening for Sam Kinison brought Steve to The Comedy Store in LA, holding his own as a writer and performer amongst Richard Pryor, Kinison and Roseanne.  Subsequent TV appearances on Evening at the Improv and Caroline’s Comedy Hour, led to more road work, but it was writing for and working alongside such comedic legends as Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and Rodney Dangerfield, that was the true highlight for Steven, a true unabashed fan of the greats.   These days, in addition to doing gigs, Pearl co-hosts and co-produces a very popular podcast on the subject of comedy.   They interview comedians.   How simple of a great idea is that!   The other half of "RIFF-erendum" is another San Franciscan comedy stalwart, Al Clethan, a veteran incredibly youthful funnyman and great writer, whose multiple appearances across the universe of comedy broadcasting (Showtime, HBO, Comedy Central, A&E, MTV) have cemented Al as one of the dependable and established names on the comedy club scene.   The two of them go together like ebony and ivory, broadcasting their blatant enthusiasm for comedy and other comedians, which is something so close to my heart, it could turn your blogger into a girly man.   I not only had the recent fascinating pleasure of interviewing Steven Pearl for ETV, but also had the chance to catch his act, as he performed to another sold-out house in Oakland.  For me, watching Steven Pearl perform is like watching a prize fighter, but it’s never a championship.  No, it’s a sweaty gym sparring session; and I’m loving every stinky minute of it. 

SAG: Steve, How would you describe your act?

SP:  Now, wait a minute, didn’t you just see it?

SAG:  Well, no not really.   I was planning on it, but on the way out to Oakland, I found out that the BART train stops at midnight and your show started at 10.   So, no.  I didn’t make it I’m sorry.  Was worried about getting back home.

SP: That’s okay.

SAG:  Yeah, I’ll catch you next time.  I promise! 

SP:  No problem.



SAG: You know, Steve, I've been in the room numerous times over the years when you're on stage and have always enjoyed your amazing comedy stylings.  Tell you what…Why don’t you tell me specifically what you did on stage last night? 

SP: I can do that.  Well, I did my "Dis Must Be the Place!" song and squirting flower opener that's been slaying them since 1948 and then I went into a few "Hey, how about these gas prices?" jokes to get 'em on my side. Then I did an impression of Lorne Greene and Vic Tayback in a gay bar which slays 'em every time! From there I went into my "What if the Civil War was fought with pies?" recital which got them thinking, and then I finished with my musical "Tribute to cobalt" bit that requires 112 dancing dwarves, 16 purple spotlights, a 73 piece kazoo and Jew's harp band and never fails to get the crowd on it's feet cheering for more!

SAG:  Sounds like I missed genius.

SP:  Actually, I think of myself more of a savant. I'm also an excellent driver.  An excellent driver. 

SAG:  So, how did you and Al meet?

SP:  We met on a teen tour in Zanzibar. No, actually we met at a little dive called the Holy City Zoo on Clement Street, a smelly little rotting cabin that had comedy every night. It held maybe 70 people and was packed with a great audience every night. It was the first place I checked out for comedy when I came out here from NY in early '79 for a few months to see if I wanted to move here permanantly. I met Al and a whole mess of my other whacky comedy friends there. A lot of comedy magic happened at the Zoo back then. It's now called the Dirty Trix Saloon and they're doing comedy there again a couple of times a week. I went on a couple of months ago and it was a wild feeling performing for a bunch of people who weren't born when I first played there! Coincidentally Robin (Williams) was there the same night and also went on. It was the first time we’d both been in that room since 1987!

SAG:  Is there one guy in control of production and how do you share your production duties?

SP:  What production? We bring the digital recorder and we talk to whomever we're interviewing.  Later on, I record an intro to the interview, I take it to my webmaster Waitman Gobble's house and he splices the intros to the interviews, uploads (or downloads or whatever) it onto our "RIFF-erendum" page and the iTunes page and that's that. If anyone is in charge of the production I guess it would be Waitman since he's the electronic genius and knows how to do all that stuff. I'm an electronic water-head on the computer. The last time I tried to download something I accidentally burned a Synagogue to the ground.

SAG:  I'm sure our readers will find that a bit horrifying.   Moving on...  How and when did you come up with the idea of a podcast interviewing comedians?

SP: Michael Pritchard, an old friend and a long time Bay Area comedian, actor and motivational speaker, mentioned that I'd be good doing a podcast show, but I didn't think much about it since everyone and their brother has one and a lot of 'em suck. On the first day of 2012 I was at a New Years' Day get together at my friend Becky and Dan Spencer's place and Rick Overton was there and also mentioned that I should do one. In fact he came up with the name "RIFF-erendum". I was gonna call it "Riff-O-Rama" which I wasn't crazy about since it sounds like the name of a ride at the county fair. Rick came up with the much better "RIFF-erendum name and I used it. Al was there when I talked about it with Rick and he said "Lemme do it with you!" and I said "Sure! I don't wanna do this shit alone! I'm not responsible enough!" Robin was there that day too and said that he'd love to be on one of our shows and that alone was enough to get me interested in getting it done! We started doing interviews in April and got the show up and running online in late July.

SAG: Is there a discernible difference between interviewing comedians young vs. old, famous vs. anonymous?


SP:  Well, famous people may have more stories about other famous people, but there are many famous people that are very dull; and unknowns who are kickass funny and amazing storytellers. It all depends on the person. So far the only household names we've talked to are Robin and blues legend and guitar shredder Johnny Winter and they both told a ton of great stories! Johnny's brother Edgar also said he wanted to do one and whenever I get to L.A. I'll try to get an interview with him. As for young vs. old comedians, the older ones may have more stories to tell since they've been on the planet for more years, but once again, it all depends on the individual.

SAG:  What’s the one question comedians almost always get wrong?

SP: Who would win a naked celery eating contest between Fabian and Bobby Rydell? They always say Fabian! Silly mislead losers! 

SAG: Do you validate? I mean, you guys seem incredibly encouraging to other performers. Why do you think comedians (at least within the ranks) seem to feel that other comedians are all selfish bastards who wouldn’t help an old lady cross the street unless she had some great material to steal?

Steven Pearl with Rock n Roll legends Edgar and Johnny Winter.

SP:  We're not L.A. comics, bubbie! We encourage other talent if they're good. Very few backstabbers, users and fair weather friends up here. As in any other profession there are good people and azzholes. There are some lowlife thieves and slimeballs out there, but there are also some very good hearted people who won't hesitate to help another comic (or generally another human being) out.

SAG:  I can personally attest that both you and Al have been super nice and accommodating to me.   And, I appreciate that.

SP:  No problem.  And welcome to San Francisco!

SAG: Thanks! So, how did your life get so low that you’re actually wasting your valuable time doing an interview with me?

SP: I lost a bet with Pat Cooper.

SAG: You guys could be called “San Francisco Comedy Veterans,” I think that’s a fair statement without calling you old, war-weary comedy soldiers. And, you’re both also still working the comedy boards. Tell our Enjoy the Veal readership how the San Francisco comedy scene has changed – for you, as working comedians -- in the 25 years since the Stand-Up Comedy Big Bang?

SP: You forgot to say "battle fatigued shell shocked has-beens".

SAG: Oh, sorry!

SP: When I started here there was a great comedy scene starting to grow. I always thought San Francisco and Boston were the capitals for the Comedy Boom of the 80s. I don't think anyone set out to make a big comedy wave. It just happened, and in my humble nickel and dime opinion, San Francisco and Boston were the creative hub of the action. In fact, we kind of had an exchange program with Boston then. Some of them would come out here and work and we'd go there and work. It was wonderful! A guy named Alex Bennett, a long time NY radio personality came out here in '80 and he started having comics on his show in the morning. Luckily I was one of the comics who was a regular and you could riff to your heart's content on that show. He was a great straight man for many of the comics. Doing his show helped make many of us local stars and people turned out in good numbers to see our gigs. There were also many brilliantly funny original comics, who each had their own style and always brought the goods to the table. There was Al, Michael Pritchard, Dr. Gonzo (John Means), Jeremy Kramer, Kevin Meaney, Will Durst, Dana Carvey (although he was in L.A. a lot by the time the scene was really developing here), Sue Murphy, Dan St. Paul, Bobby Slayton, Rob Schneider, Kevin Pollak, Rob Becker (who wrote and starred in the longest running one man show on Broadway history), Dana Gould, Tom Kenny, Paula Poundstone (who all came out from Boston), Ellen DeGeneres, Evan Davis, later on Larry "Bubbles" Brown and Michael Meehan and some others I can't think of at the moment. There was a small army of us and we were fairly supportive of each other and most of us were good friends. A real family atmosphere.

SAG:  Nice.  Sounds great.  Both you and Al did your time in the penal colony known as Los Angeles.   I know you, Steve, were incarcerated at The Comedy Store (I was in Cell Block B - the Belly Room). Tell us about some of your LA experiences. And, please give us an anecdote which symbolizes it completely. A good ole Hollywood story.

SP: For me, L.A. was fun the first 6 years or so, then it wasn't so much fun and then it was a living Hell. When I first moved to L.A. in June of '87 the Comedy Store was still a happening place and it was fun to go there. I was friends with Sam Kinison, whom I'd worked with in the Bay Area before he got real famous, and Sam was the hot guy there at the time so no one really fucked with me as the new guy since they knew we were friends. The Comedy Store and the scene in general coincidentally started going downhill around the time Sam died in '92. It just wasn't fun to go there anymore and gigs were getting far and few in between. I was just playing these shitty free rooms for 6 drunks and hardly going on any auditions. I just got sick of being there. If I had a good Hollywood story it might be the time I was stopped at a red light and I saw George Hamilton in all his tanned glory standing on the corner. It just cracked me up seeing Mr. Almost Lynda Bird Johnson standing there, so as the light turned green I rolled down the window , said to him "So how's that facist c**t Imelda Marcos doing?"  and tore off into the sunset seeing a disapproving look on his bronzed Hollywood face in my rearview mirror. I also remember doing a set late one night at the Comedy Store when there were about 11 people in the audience and I heard this hoarse drunk laughter and a weird kazoo sound coming from the back. When I was done I went back there and it was Christopher Walken with a date, drunk as all fuck and blowing into a kazoo that looked like a small white saxophone. He told me I was great and I asked him to autograph a napkin. He drunkenly scrawled his name and it looked like a cross eyed monkey wrote it.  He was a nice guy, tipsy as he was.

SAG: I lived in London, England for twenty years as a stand-up comedian and I made a pretty good living, working local comedy clubs. And, it wasn’t because I was such a genius or anything. There are a lot of clubs and most of them pay a decent comedy wage. I know things in San Francisco changed. Seems the only comedians making any good local money these days are either the local legends or the comedians delegated to corporate work.

SP:  Back in the 80s there was a major comedy scene here (and comedy clubs were also opening all over the country and Canada) and a lot of excellent comics. There were the clubs in the city and a zillion one nighters all over the place, Marin, the East Bay, everywhere. Even hacks were working! I was doing Alex Bennett's radio show pretty regularly and was getting pretty well known here and so were some other comics. I was a star in 3 area codes! There was so much work here, I only went on the road once a year, because I wanted to.  In L.A. comics were getting sitcoms, HBO specials and becoming huge stars.  One shot on the Carson Show could make you. That doesn't happen anymore.  These days you kick ass on Letterman and the next night you're playing Spunky Puddle, Ohio for $200 and a plate of candied squid. Comics are outdated surplus now. It's like trying to sell stagecoaches! How many sitcoms are on now that feature comedians? I can only think of two and one of 'em isn't very good.  It's all about reality stars now and dopey contests with manufactured talent dancing and singing cardboard songs devoid of any soul.  Very sad.  Most comics today who are making a living at it are doing so on the road, and who wants to do that when you're over 50?  Not me! Not unless you're a big star making the Don Rickles bucks anyway. I'm sick of planes and hotels and I like waking up in my own bed at home next to my lady.  No more road for this wandering Jew!  I don't really see a strong comedy scene like we once had anywhere now, but there are young people doing it at various places. When I did that set at the Dirty Trix Saloon I told you about, it was packed with a lot of young people doing stand-up like I was doing there in the '70s and 80s. They're trying to make something happen and I think it’s great.  I’ll help in ‘em any way I can.

SAG: How are the audiences these days? Are they smart? Are they paying? Are they coming in?

SP: Depends where you go. Whenever I play in Oakland it's always packed. There's the Punchline in the Financial District and they've been having consistent full houses since 1978. Mark Pitta has a Tuesday night comedy show at the Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley and I've never seen that place less than full. I usually find the crowds to be great. They dig my groove, Daddyo!

SAG:  There seems to be camaraderie amongst San Francisco comedians. I sense a duty of mutual support across the board on all levels. Is this true? Or have I drunk the Kool-Aid?

SP:  I don't know exactly what's going on with the younger comics here, but back in the good old days when I was a lad we treated each other with respect and supported each other. A lot of us also hung out a lot together and helped each other with material. That's why I'm still friends with a lot of the people I knew then and I'm so glad to be living back here!

SAG:  Who is the new “undiscovered comedy genius”? Is there one?

SP: Tommy Smegmetti the Clown Prince of Canarsie. He has a brilliant bit about Dutch Elm Disease and he does a gut-busting impression of Roy Cohn as a fry cook. Actually, I haven't really seen anything in a while that's blown me away like Robin, Carlin, Klein, Pryor, early Kinison, Hicks, Hedberg, etc. If there's a genius in that caliber out there I sure haven't heard of him/her. I doubt these days they'd get any press if they were that good! There are some very talented younger comics I've seen here that could go places. Ben Feldman and Coree Spencer both come to mind. They're both very funny and original.

SAG:  Do stand-ups still feel they need to “go to LA” for completion of their comedy mating ritual? Or can a comedian be successful and content here in the Bay Area?

SP:  L.A. and N.Y. are still the places to go if you want to "make it". That's where the cameras are! Of course, with the invention of the internet anyone anywhere in the world can make a video or do a podcast show or videotape their stand up set and post it for anyone anywhere to see, but you'll still eventually have to end up in L.A. or N.Y. if you want to get known.  However, things have changed drastically since I started and nowadays.  The odds of becoming a star from stand-up comedy are extremely minuscule. I'd tell most people trying to make it in show bidnizz to forget about stand up. Either write a script and try to sell it, take acting lessons and go out on auditions, make a sex tape and get a reality show out of it or make a sex tape with a poodle and get a reality show on Animal Planet.

SAG: If you could advise comedy club owners, promoters, agents and managers one thing, what would it be?

SP:  Don’t ask me to do a third show on Saturday.

SAG: If you could advise comedians one thing, what would it be?

SP: Say no to drugs and olive loaf.

SAG:  If you could advise audiences one thing, what would it be?

SP: Laugh, titter and guffaw like you never have before!

SAG: Where do you see yourselves in Comedy History?

SP:  I see myself as a small, but well respected hair on a pimple on the comedy ass of life. Is that so wrong?

SAG:  Depends on where the chair is.  Is it possible for an audience to laugh uproariously at an unfunny comedian?

SP:  Sure. Haven’t you heard of Pauly Shore and Dane Cook?

SAG: No comment.  And good point. Though my personal theory is that if the audience is laughing, it must be funny to them?

SP: That didn’t work so well with the Nazi’s.

SAG: Another good point.  Uh, one more question.

SP: Sure!  Anything!

SAG: Can you please stop stepping on my air hose?

SP: Never my love.

Steven Pearl, the Edgar Allan Poe of Stand-Up Comedy, has been back and living happily ever after in the Bay Area since 2009 and is engaged to the woman of his dreams.  Steven continues to work locally and only uses the finest homegrown organic jokes.   And, Steven Pearl keeps proving at every show that  several decades of doing stand-up hasn't slowed him down at all.  A true journeyman comic, Steven Pearl continues to push the envelope of both good taste, sanity and propriety.  More profoundly, Steven and Al fill a void.   A deep void in within the San Francisco Comedy Scene.   Back in the day, the early 80’s, what helped facilitate the Comedy Big Bang was local radio DJ, the legendary and left-wing politico Alex Bennett.   Bennett brought to life the comedy movement by bringing on the likes of then emerging comedians Bob Goldthwait, Whoopi Goldberg, Dana Carvey, Ray Romano, Margaret Cho, and Jay Leno.    The RIFF-erendum does just that.   They fill the void.   And, long may they reign doing so…..!   Here!!  Here!!  Where?? Where?  San Francisco, baby.   San Francisco.  

Tune in, turn on and get high on that comedy laughter with RIFF-erendum, hosted by Steven Pearl and Al Clethen.



The good news for me is that I haven’t had an attack of Clinical Depression since I left LA.   It makes sense.  Living in a city, a great city, with a world-class public transportation system, makes all the difference.   I’m no long an isolated pathetic soul, unless being an isolated pathetic soul suddenly becomes trendy again, then I wanna be at all costs.   I’m reviewing comedy up here for The Jewish Journal online and really having a great time, soaking up a new and exciting scene.   Taking a street car to Chinatown or walking uphill to a park.   NOT pedaling my bicycle up to the armpit of Western Civilization: Melrose.   (And, when I say “armpit,” I mean the “fulcrumatic endpoint between the mind and the fingers”.)     I’m still looking for work and this week I have an interview at a Funeral Home to be a “Family Counselor.”   Which is really a salesman in the Death Business.   Whatever; should be a day’s laugh.   And I found a really good temporary home.   A hostel on Geary that is $27/night, including breakfast.  I’ve even got a better deal.   And, Kim, the Korean hostel owner, runs a Korean Opera charity and will spontaneously burst out into Rigoletto when you inquire why there’s still no heat.   I’ll be okay, and I’ve begun to hit the streets with street campaigning.  Amazingly, people are donating to the cause.  In the meantime, I’ve begun planning and producing a big night up here for The Laughter Foundation.   It’s going to be at a fairly sizable famous theatre and it’s going to be an evening for COMEC and The Heckler Fund, which will go a long ways in helping local comedian Doug Ferrari.   I’m assembling a great panel for an open town-hall meeting to discuss political correctness and censorship in Comedy.   “Comedy: The New C-Word”.   It’s gonna be great and I’m hoping it will all happen early next year.   Doug, one of the Bay Area’s original kings of comedy, is infirm and The Laughter Foundation wants to help him.   He’s a good guy and helped build this city, not on Rock n Roll, but on Comedy.   Doug, we love ya’, baby!  Hang in.  We haven’t forgotten you!   

As for my readers in France, England, Australia and of course, right here in the "US of... 

Steven Pearl,  SAG & Al  Clethen

Ehhhhh….!, What’s your problem?", I’ve linked-up for download, our new Laughter Foundation FA-Q (get it?) sheet.   Take a read and if you can, make a donation.   You can contact me for any writing work too.  I’ve just been hired to help write an iPhone ap and I have money coming in from a commercial I did in the UK.   They’re renewing it.  Here it is.  I play “the obnoxious American”.  It was easy, thank you.   I can write anything for you.   Just contact me.  I’m really inexpensive right now.   But, frankly folks, the way things are going?  Who knows...   Thanks so much for supporting Enjoy the Veal and The Laughter Foundation.   It means a lot to me.  A lot more than standing on the edge of the twenty-story Century City tower rooftop, looking down into the abyss, as I nearly did over two years ago.  I honestly never thought I’d be alive to write this blog.  Thank you to all my fans and supporters and please get the word out to “the sleeping audience”.   They must be awoken and make their zombie-like way back into the comedy clubs.  

That’s the only way we can make real change.   See a live show.  Nothing like it.  You, the audience, after all, is what all comedians live for.  

I asked Steven Pearl to say a few words of support to our friend and colleague Doug Ferrari, who (as I mentioned) is a bit under the weather these days.   Here’s what Steven Pearl said about/to our good friend Doug:

“Tell the big lug I send him my best. He's a true citizen. Tell him to hang in there otherwise there won't ever be a High Wire Radio Choir reunion and the dream will be over. He'll know what it means.”

My dream is The Laughter Foundation.   An entity that is A) There for comedians in need and B) The Comedy Museum & Institute.  I'm gonna get us there.  Some have said it’s a pipedream  created by a deluded man.  Others have called it an inspirational idea.   For me, here’s what inspiration is: 99% ignoring reality and 1% alcohol.   And in the mean time, I'm going to check out this mysterious British comedian, Nigel Arrisson and report back to you, my faithful readership.   

Enjoy the Veal, 

Steven Alan Green


Steven Pearl's & Al Clethen's RIFF-erendum.

The new Laughter Foundation FA-Q Sheet


I predict President Obama will retire next year and go out as a free agent.

Romney woulda sent in Seal Team Five.

From now on President Obama will hereby be known henceforth as "Prez-O2". 

I wish people would stop using Medical Marijuana and just stick with weed. It's nearly as effective, less expensive and easier to Tweet.

I need a gay experience like I need a head in my hole.

Main Street USA business, although now on the mend, really got pretty bleak for a while. It got so bad at one point, storefronts and restaurants had signs which read, "Sorry We're Open".

There's no such thing as an "extramarital affair". Either its an affair or its marital.

When I make love to a woman, I'm like the little kid in the back seat. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Today being Tuesday, May 22nd, I'm vowing to get a better grasp of reality.

Tonight's Special at Havana Negila, the Jewish Deli & Medical Marijuana Dispensary: Pot Roast.

Borsht Belt Comic: "Same Sex Marriage? I was married for 42 years to the same woman. The sex never changed. Talk about same sex!"

Please ignore all previous posts.


Tonight, Nov 15, Kelly Carlin in "A Carlin Home Companion" @ Santa Monica Playhouse - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Tonight, Nov 15, Beth Lapides's Say the Word: The New America @ Skirball Cultural Center - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Tonight, Nov 15, Set-List Returns to NerdMelt - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Tonight, Nov 15, Jeff Garcia & Jay Phillips @ Irvine Improv - (free tickets)

Tonight, Nov 15, The Naughty Show's Final Countdown @ The Comedy Store Mainroom

Saturday, Nov 17,  Top Tale @ The Fanatic Salon - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Sunday, Nov 18, Uncabaret @ First & Hope - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Sunday, Nov 25, Rick Overton & Friends @ The Improv Main Room - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Next edition of Enjoy the Veal! includes reviews of Will Durst @ The San Francisco Jewish Community Center & Lisa Geduldig Comedy Show @ The El Rio in The Mission District

Enjoy the Veal is proud to announce the addition of a great writer Tamsin Hollo.   Tamsin will be covering LA live comedy in my absense, while I'm up here in San Francisco.   If you have a live comedy show in LA you want reviewed, please contact Tamsin directly: enjoythevealtamsin@gmail.com

To have your comedy show reviewed or hire your humble and always incredibly charming comedy writer or to complain about anything: sag@thelaughterfoundation.org.

Follow The Laughter Foundation and on Facebook.

And remember.....

"Never take life too seriously; you'll never get out of it alive!!"



11/15/12, San Francisco

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Steven Alan Green is a New York born, Beverly Hills raised stand-up comedian, writer and Developmental Editor, who started at The Comedy Store in the 80’s heyday as one of...

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