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The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 120,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)
Albert Brooks, stand-up, author, actor, and comedy legend, was recently interviewed in the January issue of Vanity Fair which was guest edited by Judd Apatow. In it, Judd, a comedy vanguard himself, describes Brooks as “the prototype. He’s the original smart, sensitive Jewish neurotic guy, with huge flaws and a heart of gold.” But what’s most fascinating to me is that this statement was true about the man from the very beginning of his comedy career, which began while he was in his early twenties. In the late 1960s and early 1970s when he began playing on the national stage, his comedic character already seemed fully formed, and he never lost sight of it or compromised his unique voice as he moved from stand-up to television to film.