Leslie Nielsen: The Doctor of Comedy Who Made “Airplane!” Fly

Do you remember the very first time you saw the movie “Airplane”?

Even if you have never seen it, however, everyone knows its most famous lines.

At the time the movie was released in 1980, Leslie Nielsen had already been an established dramatic actor for decades.

But “Airplane” literally changed the entire course of his career, propelling him into comedy. The television series “Police Squad” was followed by the movie “Naked Gun”| and its sequels.

And by 1993, Nielsen had a book called Leslie Nielsen’s The Naked Truth. And that’s when I first met him.

So here now, from 19933, Leslie Nielsen:

Leslie Nielsen died in 2010. He was 84.

You may also like these episodes:

Carl Reiner

Mel Blanc

Buy Books / Media from Amazon

As an Amazon Associate, Now I’ve Heard Everything earns from qualifying purchases.

Betsy Borns

Stand-up comedy has become such a staple of American entertainment that we may forget that it was not that long ago that it was a more rarefied profession.

And we may also forget just how hard that profession is.

In the late 1980s, just a few years into the start of the stand up explosion, a young writer producer named Betsy Borns put together a book about stand up comedians and how they work.

Borns called her book Comic Lives.

So here now, from 1987, Betsy Borns.

After Comic Lives Betsy Borns went on to work in TV on Roseanne, Friends, and All of Us, among many other projects.

You may also like these episodes:

Jim Gaffigan
Gilbert Gottfried

Buy Books / Media from Amazon

Phyllis Diller

Like many of my fellow Baby Boomers, I grew up watching Phyllis Diller on TV and in movies. She was one of America’s first female stand-up comedians, inspiring the likes of Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, and Ellen DeGeneres, among others.

Photo: Allan Warren

Diller was known for her wild outfits, her even wilder hair, her self-deprecating humor, a cigarette always in a long holder, and her jokes about her long-suffering husband whom she nicknamed Fang.

Phyllis Diller wrote a memoir in 2005. She was too frail at that point, in her late 80s, to go on a book tour, so I interviewed her by phone.

So here now, from 2005, Phyllis Diller:

Phyllis Diller died in 2012. She was 95.