The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.
The Baseball Reliquary opens
its 2002 season with an All-Star Baseball Comedy Benefit on Thursday, March 21, beginning
at 8:00 PM, at The Ice House Annex, 38 N. Mentor, Pasadena, California. All proceeds
generated from ticket sales ($20.00 per person, two-drink minimum not included) will go to
support the Baseball Reliquary’s Ebbets Field Cake project. Reservations are required
as seating is limited; phone (626) 791-7647 or e-mail email@example.com.
Coordinated by Jack Riley, Chris Epting, and Terry Cannon, this All-Star Baseball Comedy Benefit features a superlative roster of stand-up comedians and performers, who have distinguished themselves for many years in television, radio, film, and theater. They will join together for this one night only to perform a variety of baseball-related routines and anecdotes. We expect to announce the addition of several more comedians by March 21, but as for now the lineup includes:
GARY OWENS — The man who brought to the English language such words as “nern,” “creech,” and “finork,” Gary Owens will serve as emcee for the All-Star Baseball Comedy Benefit. Born in South Dakota, Owens worked as a radio announcer in Los Angeles in the 1960s, including a highly acclaimed stint with Gene Autry’s radio station KMPC. By the mid-1960s he began doing voices for animated characters and has been a staple of Saturday morning cartoons for over 30 years. Probably his greatest notoriety came as the on-air announcer for Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, where his dulcet tones and ability to deliver ridiculous pronouncements with a straight face made him a popular feature of that landmark show during its five-year run from 1968-1973. Named the honorary sheriff of Encino, California, Owens has done considerable charity work, including raising more than $20 million for the fight against diabetes.
JACK RILEY — Became familiar to televison audiences in the 1970s as the supremely insecure Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show, named by TV Guide as one of the 50 most memorable television characters of all time. Riley has performed in many motion pictures, including McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, California Split, The Player, Catch 22, High Anxiety, and Boogie Nights. He is also very active in the Los Angeles theatrical scene and was recently featured in the Pasadena Playhouse’s version of Do I Hear A Waltz? Riley can be heard as the voice of Stu Pickles on the popular animated television series Rugrats.
FRED WILLARD — Often described as looking like everyone’s favorite Little League coach, Fred Willard is firmly ensconced as one of America’s premier comedians and actors. Growing up in Ohio, Willard wanted to be a professional baseball player (“I thought I was pretty good. When I look back I was so mediocre it was unbelievable.”) but eventually turned to acting, starring in sitcoms such as Fernwood 2-Night, where he played Martin Mull’s sidekick, Jerry Hubbard. Willard made his film debut in 1973’s The Harrad Experiment, and recent roles in Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show have highlighted his improvisational talents. He can currently be seen on the weekly TV comedy series Maybe It’s Me.
RONNIE SCHELL — The honorary mayor of Encino, California, Ronnie Schell is an extremely versatile actor and comedian, whose first prominent role was Jim Nabors’ sidekick, Duke Slayter, on the TV series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Other TV roles included co-starring with Goldie Hawn on Good Morning, World and playing Marlo Thomas’ agent Harvey Peck on That Girl. Schell has been featured in well over 20 motion pictures, including Fatal Instinct and Revenge of the Red Baron. Another comedian who dreamed of playing professional baseball as a young man, Schell has appeared on the diamond for The Reruns, a softball team featuring fellow comics Jack Riley and Fred Willard.
THOM SHARP — Born in Michigan, Thom Sharp is a comedian, actor, and lifelong Detroit Tigers fan. Although he presently calls Los Angeles home, Sharp still treasures such prized possessions as two old green seats from Tiger Stadium and Charlie Maxwell’s 1958 road jersey. Sharp’s film credits include Taking Care of Business with Charles Grodin and Jim Belushi, Body Heat with William Hurt and Kathleen Turner, and Protocol with Goldie Hawn. He is known to television audiences from his appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman, and as Tim Allen’s older brother on Home Improvement. Sharp’s self-deprecating humor and ad-lib skills have earned him many gigs on radio and TV commercials.
STEVE LANDESBERG — Appearances on The Jack Paar Show and The Tonight Show led to Landesberg’s big break as the erudite detective Arthur Dietrich on Barney Miller, which perfectly showcased his dry wit and comic training. During five-and-a-half years on the show, his peers honored him with three consecutive Emmy nominations. Other television credits include The Tracey Ullman Show and The Golden Girls, and he’s been seen on the big screen in Leader of the Band and The Crazy Sitter. Landesberg has brought his unique sense of humor to sold-out performances in colleges, concert halls, and comedy clubs throughout the United States and Canada.
HAMILTON CAMP — First came to public attention as a singer and songwriter, performing at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960. Camp began his acting career at the age of 12 in the motion picture Bedlam, with Boris Karloff. Since then, he has played both comedic and dramatic roles in movies, television, and theater. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Dick Tracy, Heaven Can Wait, and Under Fire are but a few of his movie credits. Camp’s guest appearances on TV shows include Murphy Brown, Mash, Three’s Company, Hill Street Blues, and Cheers.
SAM DENOFF — Starting as a writer for The Steve Allen Show and The Andy Williams Show, Denoff later wrote and produced The Dick Van Dyke Show. He co-created and produced That Girl, The Don Rickles Show, Lotsa Luck, and Good Morning, World. He was also executive producer for The Lucie Arnaz Show, The Funny Side, The Sid Caeser Show, and Harry and the Hendersons. The recipient of numerous Emmy Awards, Denoff has been on the faculty of the University of Southern California since 1994, where he teaches courses in comedy writing and television production. As a young man, Denoff regularly frequented Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, and in 1957 co-wrote the lyrics to the song “Let’s Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn,” recorded by fellow comedian Phil Foster.
CHUCK McCANN — A third generation performer (his father Val was a musical arranger), Chuck McCann was a show business veteran by age 11 and a nightclub performer at age 17. A semi-regular on The Steve Allen Show, McCann launched a local Manhattan children’s show, Let’s Have Fun, in 1959, where he hosted Laurel and Hardy comedies and read the newspaper funnies — with appropriately zany voices for such characters as Little Orphan Annie and Dick Tracy. His gift for mimickry was put to extensive use in voiceover work for novelty records and animated cartoons. McCann’s film credits include The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Projectionist, and he is widely known for his many appearances as Oliver Hardy in TV commercials for everything from gasoline to pizza.
TAMMY NERBY — Raised as a wholesome, perky Lutheran from Minnesota, Tammy Nerby has taken her wit and jumped off the deep end of comedy. Her observations about marriage, family, and baseball are clever and occasionally wicked. Her comedy is interactive, intelligent, and rapid-fire. After ten years on the road performing at comedy clubs, colleges, and military bases in Europe, her father was quoted as saying, “When are you going to get a real job?” Not just a comic, Nerby’s been a radio talk-show host, a production coordinator for film, and she’s been seen (or heard) in over 100 national commercials on television and radio. She even did a stint on The Dating Game (for the trip, of course)! Nerby owns a production company in Minneapolis and is currently producing two shows for cable television. By the way, she carries a Private Investigation license, so if you don’t laugh at her jokes, she WILL find you.
JAY JOHNSTONE — A former major leaguer who played for 20 years with eight teams (including the Angels, Dodgers, and Phillies), Jay Johnstone was known as one of the game’s great pranksters. He parlayed his zaniness into three best-selling books, the first being Temporary Insanity: The Uncensored Adventures of Baseball’s Craziest Player, published in 1985. Johnstone gained further celebrity status by narrating videos and hosting syndicated TV shows like The Lighter Side of Sports, Baseball’s Funniest Pranks, and Super Sports Follies. He works as a FOX TV broadcaster; hosts the annual Jay Johnstone Charity/Celebrity Golf Tournament, which raises money for children’s charities; and co-founded Sporthings, a company which provides sports collectibles to charity auctions.