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Shelley Berman

Biography

Years prior to the introduction of Woody Allen, Garry Shandling, or Janeane Garofalo, there is Shelley Berman, the comic who have singlehandedly transformed contemporary neuroticism into large art. Filled with both a distinctive, vignette-styled narrative sensibility along with a mannered, advanced stage existence, Berman introduced a fresh variety of comedian — uncooked, extreme, and deeply personal, his materials reflected everyday expectations and concerns with uncanny accuracy, and along the way established the humor record like a practical mainstream commodity. Created Feb 3, 1926, in Chicago, Berman primarily attempt to turn into a dramatic acting professional, but after locating little success within the theatre he became a member of the Compass Players, exactly the same improvisational troupe that later on offered rise to Mike Nichols & Elaine Might, Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara, and Alan Arkin. In 1957 Berman struck from his own, developing a singular design steeped seriously in his theatrical history; unlike the free-form riffing well-liked by well-known comedians like Mort Sahl, Berman’s routines had been finely orchestrated, well-oiled comic systems, performed with rigid decorum while sitting on excrement. However, the refined perfectionism of Berman’s function belied the tortured neuroses at the primary of his comic eyesight — at their finest, his monologues pulsed with dread and loathing, his jokes fresh, shown nerves. The achievement of his Grammy-winning 1959 debut traditional Inside Shelley Berman uncovered to precisely what level his work linked to the American psyche; the very first humor record ever to become certified silver, it cut towards the core from the jittery suburban state of mind gradually attaining dominance because the reassuring secure haven from the 1950s provided method to the dark, foreboding adjustments from the 1960s. Furthermore to his famed “The Morning hours After the Evening Before,” an article on drunkenness and regret, in addition to riffs on flights and grammatical idiosyncrasies, Inside Shelley Berman highlighted “Buttermilk,” a career-defining regular that firmly set up the comic as a person truly disturbed with the multiplying complexities of today’s world. The unparalleled reputation of his debut released Berman towards the forefront from the humor circuit, and he quickly resurfaced using a sequel, 1959’s Outdoors Shelley Berman, an ambitious established spotlighting the tour de power “Dad and Boy,” a warm, poignant slice-of-life tale about an maturing Jewish deli owner who must grapple along with his child’s decision to go to NY to be an professional. While high-concept parts like “Franz Kafka on calling” produced Berman the darling from the intellectual established, he made a decision to continue discovering the warmer, gentler aspect of “Dad and Boy” on 1960’s ironically entitled The Advantage of Shelley Berman, a disappointingly gentle established that didn’t repeat the achievement of its predecessors. Because of this, 1961’s AN INDIVIDUAL Appearance came back the performer to his origins; darker and much more surreal than some of his earlier function, its angst-ridden monologues aligned him strongly with so-called “ill” comics like Lenny Bruce. Released in 1962, New Edges continued in an identical vein, while 1964’s studio room sketch work The Sex Existence from the Primate (ALONG WITH OTHER Items of Gossip) came back to Berman’s improvisational roots, and featured visitor Lovelady Powell combined with the Stiller-Meara group. Obviously, Berman was developing sick and tired of endlessly duplicating exactly the same routines over and over, and he started leaving humor; following a couple of tv humor specials, he started concentrating his energies on performing, and appeared in several films and Television programs. Aside from a repeating role around the cleaning soap opera satire Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Berman maintained a minimal profile throughout a lot of the 1970s and ’80s; personal complications plagued him, as well as the loss of life of his child proved a damaging blow. Finally, by the finish from the 1980s he started to resurface, going for a series of little functions in low-budget features and producing tv guest performances. In 1995 he released Live Once again!, a return record featuring brand-new standup material.

Quick Facts


Full Name Shelley Berman
Profession Actor, Teacher, Comedian, Poet, Philanthropist
Education Goodman Theatre
Nationality American
Spouse Sarah Herman
Children Rachel Berman, Joshua Berman


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 One of the jobs he had before he got into show business was a dance instructor at an Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
2 In 1955 he joined The Compass Players in Chicago, a comedy improv group that had a cabaret on the city's North Side.
3 Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde (1968).
4 He studied drama at HB Studios in Greenwich Village in New York City.
5 Uncle of actor Henry Herman.
6 Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald S. Smith, pg. 48-50. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Car 54, Where Are You? 1961 TV Series Rabbi Einsenberg
General Electric Theater 1961 TV Series Stanley
The Twilight Zone 1961 TV Series Archibald Beechcroft
Peter Gunn 1959 TV Series Danny Holland
Dementia 1955 Stoned Beatnik (uncredited)
Goodyear Playhouse 1955 TV Series Manager
The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse 1954 TV Series
Hawaii Five-0 2012 TV Series Morty Sapperstein
The Legend of Secret Pass 2010 Ira (voice)
Curb Your Enthusiasm 2002-2009 TV Series Nat David
Raising the Bar 2009 TV Series Danny Rose
The Unusuals 2009 TV Series Tom Speigelman
CSI: NY 2009 TV Series George Savar
Pushing Daisies 2008 TV Series Gustav Hofer
Hannah Montana 2008 TV Series Dr. Froman
You Don't Mess with the Zohan 2008 Zohan's Father
Boston Legal 2006-2008 TV Series Judge Robert Sanders
State of Mind 2007 TV Series Harvey Fleischman
Entourage 2007 TV Series Uncle Shelley
The Holiday 2006 Norman
Grey's Anatomy 2005 TV Series Jed Sorento
Meet the Fockers 2004 Judge Ira
Dead Like Me 2004 TV Series Theo
The King of Queens 2003 TV Series Skitch
Lizzie McGuire 2002 TV Series Nobby Frostybump
That's My Bush! 2001 TV Series Principal
Walker, Texas Ranger 2000 TV Series Ira Goldberg
The Last Producer 2000 Poker Player
Providence 2000 TV Series
In God We Trust 2000 Short Manny
L.A. Doctors 1999 TV Series
Arli$$ 1998 TV Series Ollie Fogle
Chicago Sons 1997 TV Series McGlashan
Friends 1996-1997 TV Series Mr. Kaplan Jr.
The Blues Brothers Animated Series 1997 TV Series Alderman (voice)
Living Single 1995 TV Series Hyman
Garfield and Friends 1994 TV Series
L.A. Law 1992-1993 TV Series Ben Flicker
Civil Wars 1992 TV Series
Carol Leifer: Gaudy, Bawdy & Blue 1992 TV Movie Shelley Berman
Walter & Emily 1991 TV Series Albert
MacGyver 1991 TV Series Abe Sherman
Motorama 1991 Million Dollar Driver
Monsters 1991 TV Series Leo Tandoski
What a Dummy 1990 TV Series Grandpa Lou
Elliot Fauman, Ph.D. 1990 Stromberg
The Munsters Today 1989 TV Series Sam Hawkins
Teen Witch 1989 Mr. Weaver (as Shelly Berman)
What's Alan Watching? 1989 TV Special Mel Krasoen
Rented Lips 1988 Bill Slotnik
Night Court 1988 TV Series Al
ABC Afterschool Specials 1987 TV Series Harold
CBS Summer Playhouse 1987 TV Series Harry
The New Mike Hammer 1987 TV Series Comedian
St. Elsewhere 1987 TV Series Bill Belvedere
Knight Rider 1985 TV Series Josh Bevin
Hotel 1985 TV Series Barney
Brothers 1984 TV Series Marcus Beechcroft Marcus
Matt Houston 1983 TV Series Dickie Bevak
CHiPs 1978-1981 TV Series Strum / Desperate Car Owner
Eischied 1979 TV Series
Brenda Starr, Reporter 1979 TV Movie A.J. Livwright
Flying High 1978 TV Series
Vega$ 1978 TV Series Mickey
Forever Fernwood 1977 TV Series Mel Beach
Police Woman 1975 TV Series Eddie Bender
Emergency! 1974 TV Series Art Frommich
Beware! The Blob 1972 Hair Stylist
Love, American Style 1970-1971 TV Series segment "Love and the College Professor" / Window Washer segment "Love and the Ledge" / George Miller segment "Love and the V.I.P. Restaurant"
- Love and the College Professor/Love and the Eyewitness/Love and the Lady Barber/Love and the Plumber 1971 ... segment "Love and the College Professor"
Adam-12 1971 TV Series Phil Duke
Mary Tyler Moore 1970 TV Series Dr. Walter Udall
Every Home Should Have One 1970 Nat Kaplan
That's Life 1968-1969 TV Series Mr. Quigley
Get Smart 1967 TV Series Elwood Box
Divorce American Style 1967 David Grieff
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. 1967 TV Series Dr. Vladimir Toulouse
The Hero 1966 TV Series
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 1966 TV Series Sheldon Veblen
Hollywood Talent Scouts 1966 TV Series
Mister Roberts 1966 TV Series
Bewitched 1964 TV Series Mr. Brinkman
Burke's Law 1964 TV Series King Dmitri
The Best Man 1964 Sheldon Bascomb
Breaking Point 1963 TV Series Roy Chase
Rawhide 1962 TV Series Mendel Sorkin

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Barney 1965 TV Movie
The Judy Garland Show 1964 TV Series telephone sketch - 1 episode

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Comedy Tonight 1970 TV Series co-producer - 2 episodes

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Keep Off My Grass! 1975

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Geraldine Page: Stages of a Dream Documentary post-production Himself (rumored)
Sills Documentary post-production Himself
Chabad Telethon 2015 TV Movie Himself
Compass Cabaret 55 2014 Documentary
When Jews Were Funny 2013 Documentary Himself
Looking for Lenny 2011 Documentary Himself
25 Things You Didn't Know About Curb Your Enthusiasm 2010 TV Movie documentary Himself
Surviving the Holidays with Lewis Black 2009 TV Movie Himself
Jimmy Kimmel Live! 2009 TV Series Himself
Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America 2009 TV Series documentary Himself / Himself - Comedian
Chabad: To Life Telethon 2008 TV Movie Himself
History of the Joke 2008 TV Movie documentary Himself
The Florence Henderson Show 2008 TV Series Himself
Windy City Memories 2008 TV Movie Himself
Lunch 2007/I Documentary short Himself
Out of Order: Character Judges 2007 Video documentary short Himself / Judge Robert Sanders
It Ain't Over Til It's Over 2007 Short Himself
Chabad Telethon 2007 TV Movie Himself
Chabad Telethon 2006 TV Movie Himself
History of Curb Your Enthusiasm: Even Further 2006 Video documentary short Himself / Nat David
History of Curb Your Enthusiasm: So Far 2006 Video documentary short Himself (uncredited)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 2005 TV Series Himself
The Bernie Mac Show 2005 TV Series Himself
The Aristocrats 2005 Documentary Himself
The Second City 25th Anniversary Special 1985 TV Special Himself
Young at Heart Comedians 1984 TV Special Himself
On Stage America 1984 TV Series Himself
The Cross-Wits 1979 TV Series Himself
Good Old Days Part II 1978 TV Special Himself
Over Easy 1978 TV Series Himself
On Location 1977 TV Series documentary Himself
Celebrity Bowling 1976 TV Series Himself
Dinah! 1975 TV Series Himself
The Mike Douglas Show 1964-1972 TV Series Himself / Himself - Comedian
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1962-1971 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest / Herself - Guest
The Hollywood Squares 1966-1970 TV Series Himself - Center Square / Himself - Panelist
Can You Top This 1970 TV Series Himself
Comedy Tonight 1970 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest
The David Frost Show 1970 TV Series Himself
The Barbara McNair Show 1970 TV Series Himself
Della 1969 TV Series Himself
This Is Tom Jones 1969 TV Series documentary Himself
The Bob Hope Show 1969 TV Series Himself
The Movie Game 1969 TV Series Herself
Playboy After Dark 1969 TV Series Himself
The Hollywood Palace 1964-1969 TV Series Himself - Comedian / Himself
The Joey Bishop Show 1967-1969 TV Series Himself
The Ed Sullivan Show 1958-1969 TV Series Himself - Comedian / Himself
The Kraft Music Hall 1968 TV Series Himself
The Jackie Gleason Show 1967-1968 TV Series Himself
Laugh-In 1968 TV Series Himself
Showtime 1968 TV Series Himself - Guest Host
Operation: Entertainment 1968 TV Series Herself
The Dean Martin Show 1966-1968 TV Series Himself
The Match Game 1963-1967 TV Series Himself - Team Captain
Shelley Berman 1967 TV Movie Himself - Comedian
Our Place 1967 TV Series Himself
Spotlight 1967 TV Series Himself
Chain Letter 1966 TV Series Himself
The Andy Williams Show 1963-1966 TV Series Himself
The Jack Paar Program 1963-1965 TV Series Himself
That Regis Philbin Show 1964-1965 TV Series Himself - Co-Host / Himself
The Linkletter Show 1964 TV Series Himself
The Judy Garland Show 1964 TV Series Himself
Password All-Stars 1962-1963 TV Series Himself / Panelist
What's My Line? 1959-1963 TV Series Himself - Panelist / Himself - Mystery Guest
The Merv Griffin Show 1962-1963 TV Series Himself
The DuPont Show of the Week 1963 TV Series Himself
The Irv Kupcinet Show 1962 TV Series Himself
The Tonight Show 1962 TV Series Himself - Comedian
The Jack Paar Tonight Show 1958-1962 TV Series Himself / Himself - Guest Host
Here's Hollywood 1961 TV Series Himself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall 1960-1961 TV Series Himself
Person to Person 1960 TV Series documentary Himself
Celebrity Talent Scouts 1960 TV Series Himself
Jack Paar Presents 1960 TV Movie Himself
The Dinah Shore Chevy Show 1958-1960 TV Series Himself - Guest / Himself
Sunday Showcase 1959 TV Series Himself - Performer
The George Gobel Show 1958 TV Series Himself
The Lux Show 1958 TV Series Himself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show 1957 TV Series Himself - Drunk on Telephone / Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Unusuals 2009 TV Series Tom Speigelman
Disney Channel Holiday 2005 Video Nobby Frostybump
100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time 2004 TV Mini-Series Himself #66
Lizzie McGuire: Star Struck Vol. 3 2004 Video Nobby Frostybump
More Laughing Room Only 1986 Video Himself
The Great Standups 1984 TV Movie documentary Himself
The DuPont Show of the Week 1961 TV Series Himself

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2008 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)
2006 Actor Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) · Larry David
· Susie Essman
· Jeff Garlin
· Cheryl Hines
· Richard Lewis


Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1 While you're improvising, you may come up with something which will break him up. As soon as that smile comes out, you know that, hey, we're having fun.
2 The most memorable performance was my appearance in concert in Carnegie Hall. The first standup to do so.
3 The Steve Allen Sunday-night show had the right to two options after my first performance.
4 [referring to his comedy album, "The Edge of Shelley Berman"] Though it sold very well, I hated "The Edge".
5 Unquestionably, standup comedy is and has always been an art form.
6 So that this thing that aired in 1963 would result a few years later in personal bankruptcy, would result in having people be on edge with me, wondering when I'm going to blow up.
7 Incidentally, I'm still looking for acting work, my first love.
8 "Inside" [his album "Inside Shelley Berman"] was the second LP album of a comedian's performance before an audience.
9 My first job was at a Chicago nightclub called Mr. Kelly's.
10 My whole act is confession.
11 [referring to his best-selling comedy albums, "Inside Shelley Berman", "Outside Shelley Berman" and "The Edge of Shelley Berman"] "Outside" came in '60. "The Edge" in '61. All three [went] gold, but the biggest seller was "Inside".
12 I am careful with my material and presentation.
13 I am presently in my 13th year of teaching a graduate course at the University of Southern California.
14 I believe it is important for comedians to know who came before them.
15 I quit smoking well over 20 years ago.
16 I will always love to perform standup comedy.
17 As a culture I see us as presently deprived of subtleties. The music is loud, the anger is elevated, sex seems lacking in sweetness and privacy.
18 I was an actor before becoming a comedian.
19 The old problems-- love, money, security, status, health, etc.--are still here to plague us or please us.
20 I am in the Master of Professional Writing program teaching Humor Writing, Literary and Dramatic.
21 As much experience, education and awareness as one can attain is important for a comedian.


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