March 31 'DC Update' Goes Wilde With Comedian

Author and entertainer Larry Wilde shared insights he’s drawn from many of the world’s greatest comedians as the March 31 guest on the Washington Update public affairs radio show that I co-host weekly with Scott Draughon on the My Technology Lawyer network. Our guest, right, is an ambassador for the comedy profession. He founded "National Humor Month," celebrated in April, and founded the Carmel Institute of Humor to foster research on the role of humor in wellness, longevity and human relations.

With so many troubles in the world, this show was a change of pace from our usual public affairs topics as we indulge in Wilde ideas. He is a motivational speaker and the author of 53 books, including the iconic, Great Comedians Talk About Comedy. The book is a unique study of comic genius. An reader review says:

Great Comedians is a superb, singular achievement that collects within one lively, 402-page, info-packed volume detailed interviews done over several years with some of the 20th century's greatest comedians and comedy actors. The selection is absolutely mind-boggling: Woody Allen, Milton Berle, Shelly Berman, Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, George Burns, Johnny Carson, Maurice Chevalier, Phyllis Diller, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Dick Gregory, George Jessel, Jerry Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Danny Thomas and Ed Wynn....This book an essential for ANYONE interested in comedy, or for students of comedy, public speakers, or anyone who simply wants to be funny in public. It's ALL HERE: the inspiration, the tips, the stories, the bios...the TOOLS.

I concur that it's a wonderful book, which I devoured from cover-to-cover. To further prepare for our radio interview, I sought out also YouTube videos of the stars in action. Let me share one

, which portrays Jack Benny hosting Marilyn Monroe during her first television appearance. It's an understatement to say this is the kind of performance that makes legends. It's all the more remarkable that they performed live. Monroe may be missing an earring because of bustle of live action, but neither star missed a nuance of what they did best.

For broader perspective, click here to listen to the show by archive. (As a listener advisory, Mac listeners need “Parallels.”)

Wilde's rare background and lifelong stage experience enable him to connect solidly with audiences. His 53 books have sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. He is portrayed at right from his younger days appearing on stage and national television as a comic. He also embarked at that time with his meticulously researched, in-depth interviews with comedy legends to preserve their secrets. His quips often appear in Reader's Digest. Larry's most recent book, When You're Up To Your Eyeballs in Alligators, is the result of years of research, and the basis for his acclaimed motivational programs. Click here for more detail.

Listed below are selected articles on our usual fare of legal reform, with the most important political, security and media factors. See the full articles by visiting the Project home page's section on News Reports, and clicking the link.


March 30

Legal Schnauzer, "Casino Jack" Hits Close to Home In A State Tarnished By Abramoff's Sleaze, Roger Shuler, March 30, 2011.  Thankfully, a new movie shines considerable light on how former Gov. Bob Riley and his GOP cronies turned Montgomery, Alabama, into a sleaze pit. Casino Jack, starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, was released in late December and now is playing in select cities. The film should be of special interest here in Alabama, given Riley's documented ties to Abramoff and his fellow felon, Michael Scanlon. According to early reviews, the film portrays Scanlon as perhaps even more despicable than Abramoff. The mainstream press, curiously, seems to rarely mention that Scanlon used to work for Bob Riley.

March 29

Washington Post, Supreme Court rules against exonerated death row inmate who sued prosecutors, Robert Barnes, March 29, 2011. An ideologically divided Supreme Court on Tuesday stripped a $14 million award from a wrongfully convicted man who had spent 14 years on death row and successfully sued New Orleans prosecutors for misconduct. Conservative justices prevailed in the 5 to 4 ruling, which shielded the district attorney’s office from liability for not turning over evidence that showed John Thompson’s innocence. Justice Clarence Thomas said Thompson could not show a pattern of “deliberate indifference” on the part of former district attorney Harry Connick Sr. in training his staff to turn over evidence to the defense team.

Legal Schnauzer, The Rule of Law Seems to be on Life Support in Western Civiilization, Roger Shuler, March 29, 2011. When you start a blog about corruption in our justice system, you know you aren't getting into the "fun and games" side of the cyber world. We try to lighten the mood with the occasional post about rock music, Scrubs, or LOL Cats. But as we approach our fourth anniversary here at Legal Schnauzer, there is no escaping the serious nature of our subject matter. Based on a recent cover story in Time magazine, Western civilization, it turns out, hinges to a great extent on the kind of stuff we write about.


The Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, who has just written a book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, puts things in historical context: "For 500 years the West patented six killer applications that set it apart. The first to download them was Japan. Over the last century, one Asian country after another has downloaded these killer apps — competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things are the secret sauce of Western civilization."

Jonathan Turley’s Law Blog, Justice Thomas’ Dangerous Conceit, March 6 2011. Louis XIV of France was infamous for his view that there was no distinction between himself and the state, allegedly proclaiming “L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the State”). That notorious merging of personality with an institution was again on display in a February speech by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas before the conservative Federalist Society.  Thomas used the friendly audience to finally address a chorus of criticism over his alleged conflicts of interest and violation of federal disclosure rules concerning his wife’s income. Rather than answer these questions, however, Thomas denounced his critics as “undermining” the court and endangering the country by weakening core institutions.

New York Times, Ethical Quandary for Social Sites, Jennifer Preston, March 27, 2011. Built as a platform for amateur and professional photographers to share their work, Flickr is among the social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,that are increasingly being used by activists and pro-democracy forces especially in the Middle East and North Africa. That new role for social media has put these companies in a difficult position: how to accommodate the growing use for political purposes while appearing neutral and maintaining the practices and policies that made these services popular in the first place.

Washington Post, Chitchat with the president: Film at 11, Peter Wallsten, March 28, 2011.To reach key voters, Obama gives interviews to local TV stations.  Ever since he quit smoking, President Obama has been staving off nicotine cravings by reaching for celery sticks. He thinks Americans who help Mexican drug cartels should be “thrown in jail.” These are just a few of the exclusive news nuggets to emerge from the White House in recent days. The new details were not disclosed by the army of White House reporters employed by the country’s biggest news media organizations to track Obama’s every move and word.


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