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May 11, 2006


Getting To Know Marty Sherman
When Life Gives Him Lemons, He Makes Lemonade

I didn’t always have these perfectly-shaped pearly whites, you know. In fact, I was born with a severe over-bite and my eye teeth looked like fangs. But this guy at a bar did me the biggest favor of my life...

I had been trying to get into television for a couple of years and couldn’t quite make it. This was 1960 or ‘61 and I was doing plenty of stand-up, but what I really wanted to do was be a TV star.

I was working a gig warming up for strippers at the Painted Lady...I think it was August of ‘61.

It was the pits, but hey, I made some dough and free drinks are free drinks, right?

Anyway, between acts one night I sit down to have a drink at the bar and take in some of the scenery. The shows back then weren’t as raunchy as they are today. These broads were more like fan dancers than actual strippers.

I don’t think I ever saw a nipple in the place, even backstage.

So I’m sitting at the bar sipping on a beer and these two guys sitting next to me order drinks. I watch Danny the bartender pour four fingers of Jameson, some 7Up and a splash of bitters into a shaker full of ice.

"Hey," I say to Danny, "That’s good Irish whiskey. Aren’t you supposed to drink that neat?"

"You can drink it however you want," he replied with a scowl as he gave the concoction a good shake. Danny boy just wanted his tip.

"You’re the comedian here, aren’t you?" asked the guy sitting closest to me.

He was a burly guy with big, thick wrists and muscular hands. I seem to recall hairy knuckles, too. Oh, and a nose that looked like it’d been flattened half a dozen times.

"Not very funny if you ask me." He turned to his friend and they both laughed and the big guy slapped an open palm down on the bar as he guffawed.

Not wanting any real trouble I laughed along and said "If I was really funny, do you think I’d be working in this dump?"

Danny poured the drinks into a couple of cocktail glasses and finished them off with a twist. The two guys looked at me and laughed again. I guess it was around then when I started to not give a shit about starting trouble.

Before their laughter died down I turned to the two bastards and smiled. "Say, guys. What do you call that drink anyway, a faggot?"

The big guy’s first punch took out every tooth in the front of my mouth right at the gum line. I held my own for a few minutes before they pummeled me into unconsciousness.

Long story short...I don’t remember much else that happened that night, but my soon-to-be-ex-wife’s insurance paid for all new caps.

Miracle of miracles! I had a smile just like Cary Grant!
I landed the very next television part I auditioned for...Carl Reiner’s chauffeur on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

And I owe it all to that big, dumb bastard who gave me a brand new Hollywood smile.

A.) I had it bad for Rob’s wife, Laura.
B.) Sally was funny, but she sounded like a man.
C.) Sounded like one? Dude, she looked like a guy in drag.


Enough with the Marth Sherman already!

Who do you think he IS, Shelley Berman?
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