PERFORMERS: SHELLEY BERMAN

Born: February 3 1926

sbermanby PETER TATCHELL (reprinted from LAUGH MAGAZINE #10, 1994)

The album Inside Shelley Berman marked a break-through in the history of recorded comedy. It was the first to sell over a million copies and resulted in the long-play disc becoming the chief medium for collectors to access performance by the top comedy names over the next three decades.

Thirty-four-year-old Berman had graduated from a Chi­cago improvisational group to stand-up comic with a series of clever routines about the problems of everyday life and the frustrations we all face. Telephone conversations with such antagonists as doctors, receptionists, sales assistants and chil­dren figure largely in his work and the public was quick to identify with the neuroses and irritations he presented.

Berman’s half a dozen releases of the early 1960s offer a consistency of quality material and paved the way for other examiners of the human condition Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby and Woody Allen.

Inside Shelley Berman (1958)
Verve LP MGV(V6) 15003, Laugh.com CD LGH 1111
Child Psychiatry + Airline Routine
Department Store (The Woman On The Ledge)
Buttermilk
The Morning After The Night Before
Embarrassing Moments
The Phone Answered By A Child

Outside Shelley Berman (1959)
Verve LP MGV(S 6)15007, Laugh.com CD LGH 1115
Mort Sahl And Lenny Bruce + Franz Kafka On The Telephone
The Agent
Father And Son
The Child Psychologist At The P.T.A. (1)

The Edge Of Shelley Berman (1960)
Verve LP MGV(V6) 15013, Laugh.com CD LGH 1139
First Date
Alvin And Shirley
Gertrude Stein And Alice B. Toklas
Another Embarrassing Moment + The Early Morning Telephone Call
The Child Psychologist At The P.T.A. (2)
A Comedian And His Audience

A Personal Appearance (1961)
Verve LP V(6) 15027
T.V. Commercials
Room Service
The Conventioneer
Intermission
The Black Speck
Moments Of Agony
The Dentist

New Sides (1963)
Verve LP V 15036
Credit Card Call
The Doctor
Pins In The Shirt + The Tag In The Pillow
Loan Company
Flowers
The Complete Neuroses
Jews Harp
Lost Dog

The Sex Life Of A Primate (1964)
Verve LP V(6) 15043
A revue for LP written and performed by Berman,
which also features Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara and Lovelady Powell
Spermatazoa Plus The Roe Make The Little Fishes Grow
Cleans And Dirtys
My Friends The Gorillas
Drugstore Prob­lem
Associated Wives Of America
More Cleans And Dirtys
Cleans And Dirtys Rise Again
Divorce New York Style
An Expurgated #!?* %
Sex Is Un-American
Ooby Dooby Ooby Doo
“It Was The Lark” Or Goodnight Already
The Beginning Is A Clean The End Is A Dirty

Live Again! At The Improv (1995)
Dominion/Chuckle CD 3373 2
Introduction – Argued With My Pants
The Department Store
Hotels (Coat Hangers + Toilet Seat + Soap + Room Service)
I’m Not Doing The Airline Material
International Conference
Neurosis
Embarrassing Moments
Fathers And Sons

the following discs feature reissues of the above material

Shelley Berman On The ‘Phone
H.M.V. single 45POP 732
Hold On (aka Department Store)
Nephew Trouble (aka Phone Answered By Child)

Excerpts From Inside Shelley Berman
Verve promotional EP V-5067

Outside Shelley Berman (excerpts)
Verve promotional EP V-5070

Great Moments Of Comedy With Shelley Berman
Verve LP V 15048
The Morning After
Flowers
Airline Routine Department Store
Father And Son
Complete Neuroses

Let Me Tell You A Funny Story
Metro LP M(S) 546
same tracks as for Great Moments Of Comedy With Shelley Berman
with the addition of linking dialogue by Berman himself

Berman may also be heard on the following discs:

A Family Affair
United Artists LP UAL 4099/UAS 5099 (1962)
original cast album from the Broadway musical

More Funny Fone Calls
Dot LP DLP 3517 (1963), Casablanca LP 81 1 367-1 MA
Shelley is featured on one track of this Steve Allen disc

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