Comedian Backstage
Special free screening of urban-legend documentary
Thursday, March 8
Doors 9:00PM | Show 9:30PM

Featuring a special introduction by historian and bestselling author, Kliph Nesteroff, and a Q&A with the audience after the screening.

Shelley Berman (1925-2017), according to Steve Martin, “changed modern stand-up comedy.” Three gold records, major bookings at clubs and on TV, selling out Carnegie Hall, the first comedian to win a Grammy Award — from his sit-down observational humour to his acting in movies and TV (most recently as Larry David’s father on Curb Your Enthusiasm) — Shelley Berman was a true sensation.

In 1963, Berman agreed to take part in a vérité documentary that brought viewers behind-the-scenes and on-stage for 24 hours prior to the opening of a run at a Florida nightclub. But during a tender moment in the act, a telephone rang backstage, and suddenly, all the stress, anxiety, and pressure of being the biggest star in the world of stand-up exploded in a moment of volatilty that, sadly, took a major toll on Berman’s comedy career.

COMEDIAN BACKSTAGE might be the most famous documentary about stand-up that nobody has seen, and JFL is proud to present this rare and FREE public screening of a film that originally aired on NBC exactly 55 years ago (March 10, 1963).

Starring: Shelley Berman
Directed By: Fred Freed
Country: USA
Year: 1963
Run Time: 50 Minutes
Language: English
Black and White Film

KLIPH NESTEROFF is a historian and best selling author of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. Los Angeles Magazine refers to him as “The King of Comedy Lore,” Vice calls him “The Human Encyclopedia of Comedy,” The New York Times has deemed his theories “provocative” and Vanity Fair considers his work “essential.” He has appeared on WTF with Marc Maron three times and serves as consulting producer on CNN’s History of Comedy.