198: Comedy In a Cancel Culture—Tom Leopold


198: Comedy In a Cancel Culture—Tom Leopold

Christoper Guest (Waiting for Guffman, This is Spinal Tap, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind) said, “When it comes to comedy, Tom Leopold has an extra gene. You may not know it, but he has probably made you laugh.” Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, NPR, This Is Spinal Tap) called him “a semi-precious stone in the crown of comedy,” appellations Leopold treasures.

Indeed, he may well be one of the most prolific and successful comedy writers ever, having written for sitcoms in the US and the UK, material for Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jonathan Winters, Michael McKean, Chris Guest, Chevy Chase, et al.

Raised Jewish, the natural raconteur was baptized and received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2011. The conservative-minded comedy writer and one-time actor has some fascinating insights into what we call the culture, especially important for the Covid-19 lockdown.

In this episode you will learn

  • Whether comedy is a skill you learn or must be born with
  • How his father’s storytelling tradition shaped young Tom’s imagination
  • What it’s like to meet, and write jokes for, your heroes
  • The time Vice President Mike Pence served him a coffee on Air Force Two en route to Cleveland where Pence was set to give a talk written by Leopold
  • The meaning of “comedy is tragedy plus time” and “death is easy, comedy is hard”
  • How Jews and Catholics share a love of story

Resources mentioned in this episode

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