Robert Klein, HBO and Haverford

Random fun fact.  So it turns out that HBO’s very first comedy special was taped at Haverford, first semester 1975.  The BiCo News reviewed Klein’s performance — part of which you can see on youtube — and described him as “probably the funniest and most creative of what has become America’s ‘new wave’ of standup comics — a wave that includes George Carlin, David Brenner, Albert Brooks, and Freddie Prinz.  No longer do we hear the rapid fire of one-liners of a Bob Hope or Johnny Carson.  The new comedian derives his humor from situation, from his observations of our culture and the individuals who compose it.”

So why and how did HBO select Haverford as the venue for this special?  We asked Jerry Levin ’60, former Time/Warner CEO what he knew about it.  “(It) was the beginning of unedited comedy standups on cable–the connection to Haverford was not only me but we had a young producer named Brad Schreiber whose brother, I believe, went to Haverford as well,” he said via email.

“The key to Klein’s high batting average is not hard to pinpoint,” wrote Jonathan Reichman in his BiCo review.  “It evolves from his ability to take situations that are common to all of us, situations that seem perfectly normal, and push them, play with them, to the point where their absurdity is glaring us smack in the face.”

The Roberts Hall audience as seen from the back of the stage.

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