Glen Braget with Author William Knoedelseder
In the mid-1970s, Comedians Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams and several hundred other would be talents from all across the United States headed out west to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they created an artistic community unlike any before or since. It was Comedy Camelot—but it couldn’t last.
In July 2009, Glen Braget interviewed William Knoedelseder, author of I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era. Knoedelseder was a cub reporter covering the scene for the Los Angeles Times and was there when the comedians—who were not paid for performing—tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community.