View My Stats

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Continuing Debate . . .


Kramer Vs.Rothman Vs.Kramer, Part Two.

As advertised, here's Kenny Kramer's response, as it appeared on Lyle's blog:

"Yes it's me, Kenny Kramer. I just read your blog through a google alert and thought I should respond.
First let's make it clear that in 1973 at the Comedy Store in LA I wasn't doing Buddy Hackett's "act" as you claim but just one of his jokes. And I wasn't bombing as you claim because the joke always got a good laugh. I even remember the line about how hand is a bad word and ass is a good word.
A little background as to what brought me to the Comedy Store that night, doing that lineŠ I was about 25 years old and always wanted to be a stand-up. The way I got into the business was as a driver/assistant to an old time Catskill Mountain comic who shall remain nameless but for the purpose of this narrative lets call him Jay. Jay didn't pay me, our relationship was kind of an apprenticeship. In exchange for my services Jay was mentoring and tutoring me in the art of stand-up. After awhile I began to write jokes for him and hearing my jokes get laughs gave me the confidence to realize I could do the jokes myself. Well I was ready to go on stage but the problem was with all the jokes I had written to date my act was about 8 minutes long. As long as I wasn't going to be playing the Catskills Jay "generously" told me that I could use any jokes in his act that I liked to pad my "act" so I had a reasonable amount of material to be able to hold my own on stage.I took several of Jay's bits and continued to write jokes and a year or two later I actually had an act about 45 minutes long which still had about 10 minutes of material that was borrowed from Jay. I moved from NY to Miami where I was doing club dates at the hotels and then when the off season came, I set out on a cross country trip performing anywhere I could, mostly strip clubs where I would MC and do some patter between the acts. I landed in LA in the fall of 1973. The Comedy Store had just opened a few months before my arrival and Sammy Shore was happy to give me spots there. I was still doing a couple of Jay's bits and it was there one night on stage at the Comedy Store that a woman in the front row loudly said "That's Buddy Hackett's joke" That was my first realization that the joke I borrowed from Jay was not his but Buddy's. That night was the last time I would ever do the line. Needless to say at that point I became suspicious of the other bits I had borrowed from Jay and subsequently discovered another chunk I had been doing was Allan King's. By the time I left LA and returned to Miami a year later I has a solid hour of original stand-up that I continued to do for several years. Lot's of stuff happened over the years until my friend and across the hall neighbor based a character on me and I have had a reasonably successful "Real Kramer" career ever since.
If you care to see it there is a video bio that fills in a lot of the blanks.
It is at:
As far as your saying that you are happy to see that I'm not doing so well, sorry to disappoint, I'm doing just fine!
Visit The Real Kramer's homepage:
Information about booking Kenny for theaters colleges and corporate events
To book The Reality Tour on-line:
Kramer's Reality Tour DVD now available at:
To send Kramer things:Box 391Times Square StationNew York, NY 10036
Phone: 212 268-5525"

This was my e-mail response to Lyle. I told him that he was free to post it on his blog.


Like I wrote, I had just seen Buddy Hackett do his act in Vegas only 3 or 4 days earlier,
Hackett did about an hour. The Comedy Store gave Kramer about 7 or 8 minutes.
They were ALL Hackett's. Not just one line. Even Kramer admits that the guy he was writing for may have lifted that material.
I saw Hackett's act. According to him, he didn't. So how does he know he only stole one line?
He corroborates that he was there when I said he was, and that someone else called him out about stealing from Buddy Hackett.
What he's writing here is self serving, and should at least be seen as such.
I'll probably post this entire correspondence on my blog.



He was bombing for ALL 8 MINUTES the night I saw him, and it wasn't the night that someone else called him out for doing Hackett's "one joke".
Maybe he did get a laugh with that line that night.
Maybe he had already taken that "one line" out before I saw him.

An audience usually has a better idea of having witnessed bombing than the comedian who has committed the act.
I can't tell you how many times I'd seen a comic come offstage and say "Boy, I really killed 'em tonight", and to only be polite, knowing otherwise, I agreed.
At that point, I had far more experience being part of an audience than he had at being a performer.

And now, he's gone on to rip off someone else's career.
Maybe Seinfeld doesn't mind, but face it, folks. That's what he's done.

Maybe he IS happy with his lot.
Probably far happier than if he had actually gotten cast as Kramer, which you just KNOW he must have been angling for.
If art was actually imitating life, there were several episodes of "Seinfeld" that depicted this.

My question is, where is the contrition? Where's the humble?
All I see here is someone portraying himself as a victim.
Not someone offending and wasting the audience's time by doing someone else's act badly.
Whether he meant to or not.
If I had done what he did, I would be thoroughly ashamed of myself-----for being too stupid to know better (and that's giving him the best of it), and for not immediately retiring himself from the stage when there was even a hint that he might be doing someone else's act.

The audience and Buddy Hackett were the victims.

No comments:

Post a Comment