October 18, 1993 |
Comedian Janette Barber suffered from eating disorders. "I used to weigh 275 pounds," she said, feigning to pull at her skin. "And I have an upholstery problem. When I run, I look like a lava lamp. "You never know where it's going to melt down," said Barber, a pert blonde with a big, black bow atop her head. "I might have a perfect leg and a ham - that I would eat. "You know," she said without missing a beat, "I'd buy cookies and eat four and throw the rest away. I'd spray them with Raid so I wouldn't eat them.
July 23, 1986 |
A little bit of Philadelphia died the other day. Al Fisher, the straight man of the comedy team of Fisher and Marks, Philadelphia's answer to Abbott and Costello, suffered a fatal heart attack in Florida. And this town will never be the same without him. Al Fisher's sudden death came as a shock, but he had been dying for years. He had a hopeless heart condition. He suffered a series of major heart attacks in recent years, but they always got him to the hospital just in time. A few years ago he suffered two major heart attacks within five days.
July 29, 2003
"If I had to live my life over again, I wouldn't have the strength," Bob Hope wrote in his 1990 autobiography, Don't Shoot, It's Only Me. Few would. His career spanned every entertainment medium: vaudeville, Broadway, radio, movies, television. He wrote 12 books, golfed with presidents, and traveled around the world. At age 100, he knew his life was close to its end. When Dolores, his wife of 69 years, recently asked where he wanted to be buried, he reportedly replied, "Surprise me. " The master of the one-liner died Sunday, leaving a legacy in comedy and a lifetime of public service matched by few entertainers.
March 3, 2000 |
I never saw Beatrice Lillie perform, so I can't tell you whether Susan Borofsky's impression of the comedian at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3 is on the mark. I can say, though, that for Lillie to have been so highly regarded a performer, she must have brought quite a bit more to the stage than Borofsky brings to her one-woman show, Every Other Inch a Lady. Lillie was a Canadian who established a reputation in England as a vaudeville revue performer before 1920 and after that in this country as well.
November 26, 1991 |
The robbers were laughing as one of them pumped four bullets into the manager of a fast-food restaurant while another gunman held a pistol to the head of the victim's 4-year-old son. "This is one of the most cold-hearted and brutal robberies I've ever seen," Assistant District Attorney James Lyons said yesterday. "I've never had a worse case," agreed Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan as she sentenced the men who shot and wounded the manager, Femi Kasili, 41, last Feb. 8. She sentenced Michael Drayton, 19, of Silver Street near Warnock, to 27 to 75 years in prison, and Gussippie Rivers, 20, of 57th Street near Ashland Avenue, to 9 1/2 to 35 years.
July 8, 1997 |
In the Rodney Dangerfield of cities, the premise has possibilities. An Irish Catholic nerd from Mayfair, a real stand-up guy, gets elected state rep while still wet behind the ears. After a stint in Harrisburg (a notoriously funny place begging for a sitcom), our man gets trounced at the polls. He becomes a ward leader. Then that slips away. Before long, he's not even a committeeman anymore. Two marriages go the way of his political career. So he's at a crossroads. What he's good at is making people laugh.
February 7, 1990 |
Bette Midler's beaming face is being beamed onto a telescreen from Beverly Hills. You are in an AT&T teleconference room 3,000 miles away. This is a Hollywood interview, Jetsons-style. You thought Bette Midler was zaftig, so naturally you are surprised that she is flat as a TV screen. You knew the 44-year-old star of Stella was small, but did you know that she was only 20 inches, measured diagonally? "It's like what we used to read about in Junior Scholastic when we were in fifth grade - picturephones!"
January 27, 1986 |
Griot was laughing. He's the little wooden statue that sits in my living room. In West African tradition, he was the tribal historian. Since becoming a member of my household, he's proven to be a trusted advisor. He rarely speaks, and has a notoriously dry sense of humor. But today, he had a serious case of the chuckles. "Suits! Can you believe it? FBI investigations, valuable time, effort and energy devoted to a non-controversy about suits," he said. "It's hilarious.
January 16, 1993 |
On good days, George Foreman produces more giggles and guffaws than a laugh track, his humor so infectious that even his opponents succumb to it. But on April 11, 1992, Foreman had a bad day, and nobody was laughing. Alex Stewart beat him up, giving him a face that only Stephen King could love. Foreman, who won a controversial decision, screamed for his sunglasses after the bout, leaving the arena with bloodied lips, puffy eyes and serious questions about his boxing future.
September 9, 2011 |
NOTE: THIS STORY HAS BEEN CORRECTED. NO MATTER HOW big Kevin Hart gets, no matter how many theaters he sells out, no matter how many awards shows he hosts, the North Philly-bred comedian will always be "Little Kev" to the people who made him. "He's short, but he's big in stature," Roderick "Mr. Rod" Millwood said with a laugh. Millwood, the owner of the Laff House on 2nd and South streets, gave Hart his start on stage about 15 years ago. "Laugh at My Pain," Hart's stand-up movie opening at area AMC theaters today, is the first of his specials to premiere in movie theaters, rather than on DVD, putting him in the elite company of Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Martin Lawrence.