Harry Shearer discusses “The Day the Clown Cried” with Howard Stern

In the early 1970s, legendary comic actor/director Jerry Lewis decided to make what he believed would be the film that would finally make critics take him seriously … and hopefully shower him with Oscars. The film was “The Day the Clown Cried” and the plot involved a clown (played by Lewis) who is sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis in World War II and the clown’s job is to entertain the children in the camp before they’re sent off to the gas chambers.

That’s a VERY … um …  heavy and bizarre subject for a film … not to mention potentially tasteless. To be fair, I’m not saying that this concept would be impossible to bring off in a non-offensive manner. But it would take an artistic genius on the level of Orson Welles during the “Citizen Kane” era to do this and I’m not even sure he could pull it off.

Nobody’s entirely sure what happened next, but Lewis got into battles with his financiers and eventually, the film was never released. It’s allegedly locked in one of Lewis’s vaults somewhere and he has never shown it to anyone. The subject matter is verboten for any Lewis interview.

However, a few people have managed to see it, most notably comedian Harry Shearer who saw it in a surreptitious screening back in the 1970s. I’ve attached a clip from the Howard Stern Show from 2011 where he talked to Howard about seeing the film.

When Shearer was interviewed for a famous Spy magazine article about the film in 1992, he described it as like “if you flew down to Tijuana and suddenly saw a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz. You’d just think ‘My God, wait a minute! It’s not funny, and it’s not good, and somebody’s trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly-held feeling.” He also said “With most of these kinds of things, you find that the anticipation, or the concept, is better than the thing itself. But seeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object. This was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. ‘Oh My God!’ – that’s all you can say.”

Some extremely rare and behind-the-scenes footage of the making of “The Day the Clown Cried” recently surfaced on YouTube, which can be seen here.  It is so rare in fact, that the mere posting of this footage on YouTube was a major story:

A pretty good and detailed article by Justin Bozung can be found at the Mondo Film + Podcast website:

http://mondofilmpodcast.blogspot.com/2012/04/atomic-energy-moonshot-heart.html

Marc Maron on “The Howard Stern Show” 5-1-2013

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One of THE best interviews I’ve heard in a long time, if not ever, is Howard Stern’s interview with comedian and podcaster Marc Maron. Maron is getting a lot of attention these days due to a terrific new book that just came out (“Attempting Normal”), a new IFC series (“Maron”), and host of, arguably, one of THE best podcasts of all time (“WTF with Marc Maron”).

Maron’s podcast “WTF” is required listening if you’re a fan of comedy, film, and underground culture as Maron is one of the best interviewers around. So it should come as no surprise that his interview with Howard Stern (another great interviewer) would result in one of the most compelling near-hours I’ve heard in a long time. Maron is quite frank about how his anger and bitterness over the years towards his more successful friends (Jon Stewart and Louis C.K.) burned a lot of bridges personally and professionally.  His tales of partying with Sam Kinison back in the day are harrowing and hilarious. Well worth checking out, but lots of bad language so not safe for work.

And if you like what you hear, check out Maron’s podcast, which can be located at the iTunes store or at his website:

http://www.wtfpod.com/

Again … simply amazing stuff.

“Mother” – Natalie Maines (with Fred Norris) live on the Howard Stern Show 1-4-2013

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Natalie Maines’s beautiful and moving cover of Pink Floyd’s “Mother,” performed live on the Howard Stern Show earlier this month. The stellar studio version is available on the “West of Memphis” soundtrack.

Quentin Tarantino interview (Howard Stern Show, 12-5-2012)

Tarantino promotes his upcoming film “Django Unchained” on the Howard Stern Show.  Like most of Tarantino’s films, the 74-minute interview is shocking, hilarious, profane, politically incorrect, and most of all, fun.  Not only is Tarantino a great guest, but Stern  proves once again he’s one of the best interviewers around.  As you can imagine, not safe for work or little ones.

Joe Eszterhas on Mel Gibson (Howard Stern Show, 6-27-2012)

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A great interview with legendary screenwriter Joe Eszterhas by Howard Stern from June 2012, focusing on Eszterhas’s disastrous collaboration with Mel Gibson. Pretty funny in a lot of spots, but also a fairly disturbing look at Gibson. If you’re interest is piqued, you seriously need to read the Amazon Kindle single “Heaven and Mel”which goes into much more detail. It’s the length of a 150 page book, but it’s only $2.99. One of the most harrowing and hair-raising True Hollywood Stories you’ll ever read. To be fair, aside from Mel’s minor rebuttals, we haven’t heard Mel’s complete side of the story. However, Eszterhas does make a good case and rightly or wrongly, as Mike Ovitz learned, “Don’t f–k with Eszterhas!”

Lots of bad language and adult subject matter so not safe for work or little ones.