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EP 468: Comedy Writer Alan Zweibel

Comedy writer Alan Zweibel starting his career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt standups, some of the old comedians who are still using the same material that he wrote for them 40 years ago, and his very first manager, who served as the inspiration for Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose. He recalls his early attempt at performing, carpooling to clubs with a young Billy Crystal, and the night he bombed on stage but caught the attention of Lorne Michaels. He his shares his memories of being one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, his special relationship with the late Gilda Radner, and some of his creative battles with the network censors at NBC. Alan also discusses the genius of Garry Shandling, the delights and difficulties of working with him on the groundbreaking It’s Garry Shandling's Show, and what it’s like to be in Larry David’s world on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Plus the comedian who paid him by the pound, the infamous night when Milton Berle hosted Saturday Night Live, and the charity auction that went horribly wrong (and then inspired Alan’s next movie).

Order Alan Zweibel's terrific memoir Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. Follow Alan on Twitter at @AlanZweibel or at, and look for his new movie Here Today starring Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish coming out this Fall. Today's episode was sponsored by Demand Justice. Visit to learn more and support voting rights in 2020.

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