For the past forty years, Robert Klein has been making people laugh, as a stand-up comedian, on Broadway, on television, and in film.”Versatility,” Klein said in a New York Times interview, has kept him ‘interested and working.’ But stand-up is his passion, and he is credited by many with helping invent the genre. “Robert Klein’s style and brilliance changed the face of stand-up.” according to Ray Romano. Best known for his unique brand of observational humor, he has a gift for satirical social criticism. Honest, self-questioning and always contagiously funny, Klein has never spared directing his rapier and scathing wit on himself, not just inspiring laughs but an entire generation of headliners like Jay Leno. Jerry Seinfeld who considers Klein his mentor and hero, says. “Klein has always been the funniest, most intelligent, coolest comedian.
Klein got his start in comedy as a member of the famed theatrical troupe The Second City in Chicago. His albums “Child of the Fifties” and “Mind Over Matter” both received Grammy Award nomination for “Best Comedy Album of the Year.” In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on Home Box Office. He has gone on to do nine one-man shows for HBO and received his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music and Lyrics in 2001 for “Robert Klein: Child in His 50’s.” His special for HBO, “Robert Klein: Unfair and Unbalanced” earned him a second Emmy nomination in 2011 for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.
As for versatility, Robert Klein may have helped invent that, too. He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor, and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance in the hit Neil Simon musical, “They’re Playing Our Song.” In 1993, Klein won an Obie and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in Wendy Wasserstein’s, “The Sisters Rosensweig.” He has had dozen of starring and guest star roles on television, including the hit NBC series,”Sisters,” “Law and Order” and “The Good Wife.” He has hosted his own talk shows and made more than 100 appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” Currently, he’s a favorite on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Klein has also appeared in many notable films including, Hooper, The Owl and the Pussycat, Primary Colors, People I Know, Two Weeks Notice, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and The Back-Up Plan. Most recently, Klein was the subject of a new documentary,”Robert Klein: Still Can’t Stop His Leg” for the Weinstein Company, which had its World Premiere this past March at SXSW, and premiered in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. His book “The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue,” is an affectionate coming-of-age memoir about growing up in the ’50s and ’60s before embarking on a show business career. “A fine and very funny writer, Klein is biting, but never bitter, and reveals an interesting life with this thoroughly enjoyable chronicle.” –Publisher’s Weekly
A lifelong New Yorker, Klein makes his home in Westchester and New York City. Growing up in an apartment complex in the North Bronx, he had alway aspired to live in Westchester. “I wanted a “Leave It to Beaver” kind of house with a backyard. I always wanted to say,”Ma, I’m going out” instead of “Ma, I’m going down.” I wanted when the ice cream man came to have the dime thrown out the window horizontally instead of vertically.”
“Where were you, who were you with and what were you smoking the first time you saw Robert Klein do his sidesplitting “I Can’t Stop My Leg” number? Depending on that third variable, you may not remember such logistical details anymore. But I’m betting that you’ll never forget the classic comedy routine in which Klein pricelessly skewered – in very few words indeed – the ubiquitous young suburban white guys of the 1960s and ’70s who desperately wanted to be old black bluesmen” –Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly
When I think of the comedians that inspired and influenced me, he is at the top of the list. -“ Ray Romano