Watch an Exuberant, Young Woody Allen Do Live Stand Up on British TV (1965)

In 1965, Woody Allen took time out from his first film What’s New Pussy­cat to tape a half-hour of stand up in front of a live tele­vi­sion audi­ence in the UK.

Exu­ber­ant and horny in an adorable, pup­py­ish way, the 30-year-old com­ic seemed to rel­ish this return to his night­club act. The com­e­dy is sit­u­a­tion­al, obser­va­tion­al, auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal — imag­ine Louis CK with a PG vocab­u­lary, no kids, a neck­tie and a twin­kle in his eye. Already ensconced on the Upper East Side, he paints a decid­ed­ly down­town vision of a New York pop­u­lat­ed by artists’ mod­els, swing­ing Ben­ning­ton girls, and women with pierced ears. Like Louis—or the young Brook­lyn hip­sters on Girls—he’s itch­ing to score.

It does a body good to see him at this “child­like” stage of his career.

As he told jour­nal­ist Eric Lax in Con­ver­sa­tions with Woody Allen:

“…comics are child­like and they are suing for the approval of the adults. Some­thing goes on in a the­ater when you’re four­teen years old and you want to get up onstage and make the audi­ence laugh. You’re always the sup­pli­cant, want­i­ng to please and to get warm laughs. Then what hap­pens to comics — they make it and they become a thou­sand times more wealthy than their audi­ence, more famous, more idol­ized, more trav­eled, more cul­ti­vat­ed, more expe­ri­enced, more sophis­ti­cat­ed, and they’re no longer the sup­pli­cant. They can buy and sell their audi­ence, they know so much more than their audi­ence, they have lived and trav­eled around the world a hun­dred times, they’ve dined at Buck­ing­ham Palace and the White House, they have chauf­feured cars and they’re rich and they’ve made love to the world’s most beau­ti­ful women — and sud­den­ly it becomes dif­fi­cult to play that los­er char­ac­ter, because they don’t feel it. Being a sup­pli­cant has become much hard­er to sell. If you’re not care­ful, you can eas­i­ly become less amus­ing, less fun­ny. Many become pompous… A strange thing occurs: You go from court jester to king.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Woody Allen Amus­es Him­self by Giv­ing Untruth­ful Answers in Unaired 1971 TV Inter­view

Woody Allen Lists the Great­est Films of All Time: Includes Clas­sics by Bergman, Truf­faut & Felli­ni

Woody Allen Box­es a Kan­ga­roo, 1966

Ayun Hal­l­i­day won­ders that she has yet to bump into this famous and cur­mud­geon­ly  New York­er.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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