Monday, April 9, 2012

The Art of Audio #13: "Abbott & Costello in the Catskills!"

The Joe Bev
The Art of Audio #13

Joe Bev & friend doing "Who's on First?
at the 1976 Nostalgia Convention at The Staler-Hilton Hotel 

The first time I performed Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First?" was in 1975 at a high school play audition. I was a 16 year old kid with braces and a peach fuzz mustache trying to be Bud to my 17 year old friend's Lou.

Joe Bev performed "Who's on First?
on WOR-TV's Joe Franklin Show in 1976 

In 1976, after winning a contest at the first Nostalgia Convention at The Staler-Hilton Hotel in New York City, my partner and I performed Abbott & Costello all around the New York-New Jersey area and even did "Who's on First?" on WOR-TV's "The Joe Franklin Show". (I had my braces removed the day before.)  You can hear audio of my Joe Franklin appearance here.

I stopped performing Abbott & Costello after my partner and I had a falling out. That was in 1980. You can hear the NPR story I did about it here.

In 2006, I was walking down a lonely corridor during the Oldtime Radio Convention at the Holiday Inn in Newark, New Jersey--when Joe Franklin walked past me. He had not seen me in 30 years. Without skipping a beat, he said, "Bihler & Bev, Who's on First."  

This year, when I was cast as the MC of a Borscht Belt comedy show here in my home of the Catskills, I was asked to pick a character to play. I chose to host the evening as Bud Abbott. Now I needed a Costello. My old partner was out of the question.

Luckily, I found Bob Greenberg, an enormously talented comedian who has been doing Lou Costello his whole life with other Abbotts. Like me, Bob is a trained professional actor with major credits including Saturday Night Live.
Joe Bev & Bob Greenberg as Bud Abbott & Lou Costello

In 1993, Bob had also been on the last week of TV's "The Joe Franklin Show" where he did impressions of Lou Costello and Curly Howard.

For three nights, Bob & I performed not only "Who's on First?" together but wrote and improvised an entire night of hilarious audience pleasing comedy surrounding the music acts, dancers and magician. 

We had never met before and only spoke on the phone twice. Yet we BECAME Abbott & Costello on stage! We looked like them, sounded like them, we listened to each other and improvised many great moments, and worked the audience as if we had been together forever. Our chemistry together was electric! We clicked!

See us performing "Who's on First?" here.

Bob and I even created a new Abbott & Costello bit we call "Luzon Station" and gave the two-hour show a subplot and a title: "Abbott & Costello in the Catskills"

All three nights were sold out and we had to turn people away. The success has led to more! "Abbott & Costello in the Catskills" will soon be heard on NPR stations and released as an audiobook! 

You will get to hear excepts from it when Bob is my special guest on this week's Comedy-O-Rama online radio broadcast, Saturday, April 14th at 1:00 pm (Eastern) on Cult Radio-A-Go-Go.

Now, Bob and I are ready and willing to become Abbott & Costello anywhere, anytime, for anyone!

We can custom tailor a show to any need and write new material to fit any occasion, plus deliver authentic and exciting performances of Bud & Lou's classic routines, including Who's On First, Susquahanna Hat Company, Niagra Falls, Job as a Loafer, Loan me $50, Cow's Utter, Lou Hates Mustard, and Jonah and the Whale.
Want to meet Abbott & Costello in person? Just give us a call at 845-647-9475, and shout, "Heeeey, Aaaaaaabbott!!!" We'll be right over! :-)

Best to you all,

Joe Bev.

Joe Bevilacqua is a veteran award-winning actor, writer, author and producer. His audio is available at Amazon, iTunes, and Audible for Kindle, Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPod or iPad download, or CD purchase or rental. Find out more!

1 comment:

  1. I have seen this whole post regarding The Art of Audio, I really appreciate this whole post because I am also musician and I think this post very useful for all music related person.
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