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Photo of prickly cactus plant against blue sky

The Act to Sell the Act: Media Interviews Can be Very Prickly


Comics and speakers have a real problem with the different demands of self-promoting. You are the interviewee.
So you can see it from the interviewer's side, please read TV Guide, 8/28/93, where David Letterman cautions:
"I can always tell when a guest is going to be a disaster . . . when our producers do the pre-interview that afternoon, and the person says, 'Just tell Dave he can ask me anything he wants.' Well, that ain't the way it works, kids!

". . . Whether you're a comedian, or an actor, or an author, you're being given seven or eight minutes of network time to come out with your sample case, open it up, and show people why they ought to buy your new miracle sponge. We expect you to come out, and entertain.

"I'm always amazed at how few people understood that, and did it. . . . Steve Martin. Bill Murray. Both these guys always try something new, different, and rewarding. . . . Even someone like Tom Brokaw. . . . He understood: 'I'm demonstrating that I'm a reasonable, engaging, entertaining person,' which he is. Still, it's stunning to me how many people have taken huge chunks of money out of the show-business mother lode and don't understand it.

". . . It's not an homage. . . . You're there to show people why they oughta spend seven-and-a-half bucks for your new move, or watch your show on TV. Even I did it: When I'd go on The Tonight Show, I'd spend weeks writing anecdotes, working on stories. It's not easy. And it's not fun. But it's what is important. You owe it to the people watching."
Photo of Kirk Douglas as Spartacus in the famous scene from the movie, sitting of a hill while all around him taunt the Romans by standing up, one after the another, and declaring that they are the real SpartacusTo take the pressure off,
(ROD SERLING "Twilight Zone" voice): "I submit for your consideration, a fictitious beginning comic's first interview that succeeds in spite of his ignorance;" i.e.,

How to Get Lots of Practice Doing Broadcast Interviews
Without Ever Having to Leave Your House

The information age is a wonderful thing. But speakers and comics seldom take advantage of the extant technology to perfect their craft. For you, that day has ended!

Invade the Photo of David Feldman in Chairman Mao cap, wearing menacing dark glasses, serious expression, hands folding in front of himself; but all this fierceness is belied by the clearly visible flashy Western wristwatch--great satire of '60's student radicals posturing while hiding behind their parent's wealthEstablishment

Hysterical/historical tradition: when my student and client David Feldman was starting out, he loved to play pranks on the establishment. He did this even before he decided to become a professional comic. In college, the school's president had suggested saving dollars by doubling up the students in dormitory rooms. Encouraged, and bi-partisan, Feldman began calling up radio stations interviewing right-wing extremists.
  1. Feldman would take a pretend position to the extreme right of the right-winger, and then push it for all it was worth until the DJ became suspicious.
  2. Result: Feldman (now a comedy headliner) became a favorite on San Francisco's "Alex Bennett Show," Monday-Friday 6-10 am, radio show on KITS-FM.
  3. Feldman is also the only performer to appear on the short-lived "Dennis Miller Show" (syndicated TV) and blow Miller's mind over-and-over again. Usually, it was the other way around. Feldman joined the writing staff of HBO's "Dennis Miller Show", and has won TV Emmys for that job since 1995. In January, 1998, while still continuing on the writing staff, Feldman became the show's co-producer.

    Old Jokes Switched for Radio

    Hysterical/historical tradition continues: as we can hear on this audio clip, on March 3, 1993, I called radio station KSRO in Santa Rosa, pretending to be a nervous wannabe comic, a character I named "Joey Joke." And I managed to get a few very ancient jokes on the air. This should never have happened. DJ's are usually very alert to such cons, as we will hear on the audio clip. How did "Joey" get away with this hoax?

    Planning

    I used the following switched old jokes for this radio show.
    My total prep time was under an hour.

    Since I had never told any of these jokes before, I did not rely on my memory.
    Instead, I just kept this typed up joke sheet in front of me.
    So, no matter what the DJ said to distract Joey Joke,
    Jim Richardson would still get the wording exact.
    Just by reading.
    My eyes never left the page throughout the interview.
    Read these lame jokes over quickly, then play the audio clip and read along to see how Joey sneaks each joke past the DJ's very paranoid, very distracting banter: Photo of Jim as the harried Joey Joke, circles under his eyes, gritting his teeth and tensely clutching the microphone as he leans into the shot

    Des R Da Jokes

    To Jim's surprise, the DJ actually asked Joey Joke to call the DJ's weekly Sunday entertainment hour again the following week. This is the ultimate compliment a host can pay to a guest, and he is usually sincere! So, Joey Joke's one-and-only radio interview met with success!

    Using a mock-character gave Jim permission to tell open-micer jokes taken from Milton Berle's Private Joke File and other joke books. After all, Joey Joke is the archetypal open-micer, guilt-ridden by his lack of originality-- insecure despite his braggadocio and forced charm. Jim was just focusing on the problem of the call-in guest spots, and not worrying about defending himself, his actual original jokes (not using any of them this time out!), or Jim's actual stage persona. Jim merely functioned as a lawyer or puppeteer for his client/puppet "Joey Joke." As we will hear on the audio clip, Joey was very nervous. His puppeteer (me) was relaxed!


    Now, before you click this Joey Joke audio clip, open this same web page in a second window and scroll to Joey's script under the subheading "Des R Da Jokes."
    Of course, the above exercise is a nearly "fool-proof" way to force you to think past the nightclub or speaker's platform situations. To think big, act at once to begin both your national and international performing career.

    If you suspect that Jim has just revealed the tip of the iceberg, you are correct.
    In Jim's 47 years in show business, Jim's picked up a few thousand more tricks.
    You will find references to a few dozen tricks-of-the-trade in the following outline.
    This "Table of Contents" represents under 50 pages from the 1,200 or so pages that make up
    Jim's home study materials.

    Table of Contents:
    "Selling Yourself During Interviews with Newspapers, Radio and TV"

    Comics and Speakers doing Media Interviews:
    Speakers vs. stand-up comics Comics have problems conducting successful interviews
    • "Request for Headliners to do Radio Interviews"
    • Exercise
      Can't "buy a laugh" during an interview?
    Content aside, how print media differ from performance
    • Spoken vs. written English
    How to hustle your own interviews
    • Before you get into town: setting up interviews . . . two to three weeks before your appearance
    Publicity Release
    • Facts: the journalist's five "w's" and "h"
    • Written sketch of your character
      • Example
      • Exercise
    • Additional Publicity
      • Publicity photo
      • Audio and video
    After you've set it up, finally landing the interview: the close-before-the-close
  4. Controlling what newspaper & magazine interviewers quote
    • Biography
    • Joke Sheet
    • Interview with any reporter: do this as a planned comedy performance
        You are not obligated to answer any question asked

    Radio interviews:
      Controlling your delivery to say what you mean to say
    How electronic media differ from live performance
    • "Dead Air"
    • It's just joke-joke-joke!!!
    Suppose a paranoid DJ asks you not to be funny?
    • Nutty interviewers: their true value to you
    • Standards: clubs vs. media
    Set up lines during interviews
      Turning interviewer questions to your advantage!!!
        Example
    Typical "Dumb" Interviewer Questions: answer with jokes!!!
      Items from the news
    When to Play to:
      Only the Host vs. Only the Listening Audience
    Things the interviewer wants from you before the show
    • Interviewers have different personal interviewing styles
    • Format: one piece of paper that will help the DJ/Host
    Handling any interviewer's expected & unexpected questions
    • Play to the people who count: the thousands listening to this broadcast!
        Example: "Jokes for Radio Show"
    • Automatically memorizing an interview act
    HOMEWORK you do, or die on-the-air
    • Advanced drill
        Without any hesitation whatsoever
    • Only write using specific joke forms
        Unlike live performance, now all laughs must come 90% from the writing
    • Ideal panel set for your first time being interviewed on
        "The Tonight Show" or "Late Show with David Letterman"
    Tape the whole show!!!
      Before every broadcast, to get yourself up to the tempo: do this
    What TV requires beyond radio interviews: keep selling your persona, even when the other guy is talking!
      Support your character
        Example
    Good Answers to Tough Questions: form to copy & fill out

    How to Get Lots of Practice Doing Broadcast Interviews . . .
    . . . Without Ever Having to Leave Your House
    Example

    If you have "call-waiting" on your telephone, then you must defeat it
    How to tape call-in interviews when outside their signal
    Letters-to-the-editor
    Finding time to do everything

    Techniques that can help get your anecdotes across in the short amount of air-time you have to make your point
    • The Volcano
        The best talk show guest in the history of television
    • Callback jokes
    • Getting propelled onto the stage
    • Word Stitching,
      • Examples
      • Exercises
    • Defending yourself
    Summary
    • Interviewing is the supreme test of comic technique
    • Talk show hosting is a wide-open field for comics
      • Local TV cable access
      • Hosting slot on "America's Talking"

    Private Comedy Library--
    • Pre-requisites: order Jim's home study materials, plus annual fee
    • How to borrow
        Library card: form to copy & fill out
    • List of books relevant to doing Interviews
        "How to" books
    • Sample newspaper interviews
    • Audio
      • "How to" audio
      • Examples of successful Interviews
    • Video
        Handling the problem interviewer who gets nervous and interrupts
        your jokes
      Related ORGANIZED COMEDY Audio/Workbooks in Jim's home study series
      • Spontaneity
      • Writing to always end on the punch word within joke forms,
        joke formats and premise routines for interview situations


    To order my Coaching & Co-Writing services,
    Or my audio/workbook package:
    "Selling Yourself during interviews by newspapers, radio and TV,"
    please fill out and submit this form:
    Full list of
    all my products and services
    where your investment is $50 on up,
    go to this more extended Order Form .


    To order only my:
    1) One-on-one Coaching & Co-Writing services
    2) And/or your copy of Jim's "Selling Yourself during interviews by newspapers, radio and TV"
    3) And/or your copy of Jim's entire "Home Study Program" (HSP)
    go ahead and use this shorter Order Form.

    Please select your age:
    Under 12 13-17 18-21 22-33 34-45 44-60 61-God Bless You!

    What more would you like to learn about
    The Act to Sell the Act: Media Interviews?



    I am ready to get started with your:
    1)
    One-on-one Coaching & Co-Writing services at $200/hour, rounded to the quarter-hour.
    Today, I wish to purchase this number of hours: x $200/hour = US$:



    I have already read Jim's "Coaching and Co-Writing your Stand-Up Comedy Act or Business Keynote Speech" web page,
    and agree to abide by Jim's "Consulting with the coach--procedures."


    2) I am ready to order your "Selling Yourself during interviews by newspapers, radio and TV" audio/workbook package.
    I realize that since being successfully interviewed by a professional radio DJ, TV talk show host
    or newspaper/magazine writer is the supreme test of comic technique,
    there must be pre-requisite audio/workbook packages from Jim's Home Study Program (HSP).
    So, I can order my copy of Jim's entire HSP
    (see next section)
    or just order my copy of these minimum five pre-requisites packages + the Interviews package itself:
    "How to Write a Joke: the 7 basic joke forms" (32 pages, one hour audio) $50
    "Editing Your Comedy or Serious Speech into an Act" (34 pages, one hour audio) $50
    "Topical Monologues: 11 joke formats" (92 pages, four hours audio)$100
    "Social Commentary: 7 joke formats" (22 pages, one hour audio)$50
    "Simple Premise Routines" (38 pages, one hour audio)$75
    "Selling Yourself during interviews by newspapers, radio and TV" (54 pages, three hours audio)$100
    Total (272 pages, 11 hours audio): $425

    $425 + $35 shipping & handling via US Priority Mail = $460.00
    California residents: must pay 8.5% sales tax on $425: $39.10 + $460 = $499.10

    3) As all the above pages and audio are included in Jim's entire "Home Study Program" (HSP),
    I will instead go ahead, and order all 1,200 pages and 21 hours of audio for my copy of HSP:
    $1,000 + $60 shipping & handling via US Priority Mail = $1,060.00
    California residents: must pay 8.5% sales tax on $1,000: $85 + 1,060 = $1,145.00

    Full description and a video clip preview:
    Go here, and click on "Home Study Program" (HSP) in the left-hand column.
    That will stop the "Tip-of-the-Day" (TOD) video from playing in the right-hand column and
    replace it with this HSP menu.
    See blue arrow below in this screenshot.

    Note: TOD requires Flash Player which is already on 98% of Apple and Windows desktop & laptop computers.
    However, Flash is not allowed on Apple iOS devices like: iPhone, iPodTouch and iPad.
    Scroll down for an alternative link to iOS-friendly information covering basically the same material.

    Apple and Windows computer version:
    Click on the link inside top blue box for "21 hours audio & 1,200 pages workbooks" to find links
    for a video preview and a 3-slide "More Information about" table of contents for entire "Home Study Program."

    See the other five blue boxes for more information about the pre-requisite packages for
    "Selling Yourself in Interviews: Newspapers, Radio & TV,"
    which are easiest to order from this order form,
    not from my TOD video jukebox.

    However, you can just as easily order your copy of my entire "HSP" directly from my TOD video jukebox :


    Apple iOS device-friendly version:
    For a mobile-friendly format targeting Apple iOS devices like: iPhone, iPodTouch and iPad,
    which also works on both Apple and Windows computers,
    you can watch even more video clip previews and read shorter descriptions here:


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    To clear form:

    You can also print this form,
    checking to make sure that all blanks printed out,
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    Jim Richardson
    ORGANIZED COMEDY
    P. O. Box 992
    Mill Valley, CA 94942-0992
    USA


    Page last updated: Friday, November 29, 2013, 5:39 pm PST and Wednesday, June 3, 2014, 9:54 pm PST.
    Copyright © 1997-2014
    Calendar | Video: tips | Endorsements: tips | Coaching & Co-Writing | Coaching order form | About Us
    Lessons 1-35: Descriptions | Register: Lessons 1-4 | Register: Lessons 5-8 | FAQ | Contact Us

    Sub Headings: even more tips!
    Studying Comics | Comedy Roots | Comeback? | Defense | Character mask | Robin | Censorship
    Writer's block | Camcorder Coaching | Memorizing | Remembering | Stage Movement: setting a bit
    Business | Business Cards | Your Web Site | Open Mics | Evil "Bringer Shows" | Audition | MC tips
    Promo Packet | Contact media | Interviews | How to get BIG-$ Gig$ | Agents vs. Managers
    Newsletter | Goodies | Auditioning: TV & Movie parts | Site Map: more tips
    Improvisation: Thinking on Your Feet | Jonthan Winters | Hecklers