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October 13, 1995 - Image 90

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-10-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Comedian
Alan King
brings his
act to the
Fox Theatre
for a ZOA
benefit.

`, N.SM A F s'

SUZANNE CHESSLER

SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

omedy is the sin-
gle greatest con-
tribution of the
Jews with the
exception of the
Ten Command-
ments, Alan
King likes to
quip. The outlook comes from his
father, someone he always con-
sidered a great wit.
"When I was a child and my
family used to get together,
everybody was talking loud," he
recalled. "I asked my father why
Jews talk so loud, and he said,
`For 2,000 years, nobody listened;
they had to learn how to talk
loud!"'
Detroiters soon will hear Mr.
King talk loud and lively about
his heritage and its enduring ef-
fects. The humorist is the head-
liner for the Oct. 18, 62nd annual
Balfour Concert planned by the
Zionist Organization of America
(ZOA) — Metro Detroit District.
"What I now do on stage is to-
tally autobiographical," revealed
the entertainer, whose memoirs
are being published by Scribner's
as his fourth book. "I start at the
very beginning and end with my
arthritis."
Mr. King's spoken and written
autobiographies span a 50-year
entertainment career, business
enterprises and nonstop philan-
thropic projects.
"I get my energy from drink-
ing a lot," jests the guest artist,
who has been to this area on
many occasions.
"I can remember the last time
I was at the Fox Theatre; I
opened for Judy Garland when

C

we were on a three-year world
tour."
Through his HBO program
"Alan King: Inside the Comedy
Mind," the entertainer present-
ed interviews with high-profile
gag whizzes and people close to
them, analyzing what triggers
laughter.
"I refer to comedy as a distort-
ed mirror in a fun house," he said.
"Those who do stand-up see the
ridiculous side of life and try to
put pins in some of the pompos-
ity that goes on in our society. If
you expose it with comedy, you
finish it. Comedy is the period at
the end of a sentence."

What about the effects of time
on approaches to humor?
"I think the rhythm of comedy
always stays the same," Mr. King
said. "It's the freedom of language
that changes. I believe anything
that's extreme is bad, but, over-
all, change is healthy. '
"Comedians make personal
judgements as to content and
taste and become self-censors.
For me, if the conditions are
right, there is no subject that is
taboo."
Mr. King also considers self-
censorship critical for audiences.
While he agrees there can be too
much violence and sexual ex-

plicitness in today's entertain- plays a heavy in Las Vegas, the
ment industry, he disagrees with town where his audiences rou-
those who want imposed controls. tinely expect jokes instead of dra-
"I don't agree with the reasons ma.
that make subject matter a po-
"Villains are easy for me to
litical issue rather than a moral play because I've known enough
one," he- asserted. "If you don't of them in my life," he said.
like a movie, you don't go to see "'There's also more meat in them.
it. If you don't approve of a tele- A villain is generally deep, brood-
vision show, turn the set off. If ing and complex."
you don't want to read a book,
In a role that contrasts with
don't buy it — but don't burn it the sinister ones, Mr. King re-
either."
cently was cast as a rabbi -in the
As much as Mr. King loves H1O film The Infiltrator, which
making people laugh, he loves follows an Israeli journalist spy-
portraying villains. In Casino — ing on neo-Nazis.
a 1995 film with Robert DeNiro,
The showman knows Israel
Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci — he well. He founded the Alan King

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