“How the Story of Comedy Tells the Human Story of America”: A conversation with Stephen J. Morrison, Kliph Nesteroff and Kelly Carlin

Friday, August 04, 2017

Location Amphitheater

To close its week on “Comedy and the Human Condition,” July 31–Aug. 4, Chautauqua Institution and program partner The National Comedy Center convene three leading figures of comedy who’ve played critical roles in preserving and telling the story of the art form and its artists. How has comedy historically informed our understanding of the human condition, and what can it tell us about our future? Kelly Carlin, author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George and conversational leader throughout “Comedy” week at Chautauqua, has shouldered the daunting task of evaluating how to go about treating the legacy of her father—one of the most important and well-respected comedy minds the world has known. She has also interviewed the likes of Robin Williams, Norman Lear, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters and Phyllis Diller for her SiriusXM show "The Kelly Carlin Show." Stephen J. Morrison is an Emmy-nominated executive producer of CNN’s “History of Comedy” docuseries, as well as executive producer of exhibit media for the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y. And Kliph Nesteroff is best-selling author of the critically acclaimed The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy, the star of the new Viceland television series, “Funny How?”, host of the Classic Showbiz podcast produced by Marc Maron, and a curator to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y.

***Program note: This program replaces the previously announced conversation between Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan, who have had to cancel their appearance at Chautauqua so that Jeannie may focus on continued recovery from brain surgery.

SJM thumbnailStephen J. Morrison 

Executive producer, CNN’s History of Comedy; executive producer of exhibit media, National Comedy Center

Stephen J. Morrison conducted more than 60 interviews with prolific comedy minds in order to produce the eight-episode docuseries The History of Comedy, which was an official selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and received a green-light for a second season by CNN Originals for 2018. Morrison is also responsible for telling the story of comedy as the executive producer of media for more than 70 interactive exhibits in the forthcoming National Comedy Center visitor experience.

Kliph NesteroffKliph Nesteroff c Jim Herrington thumbnail

Best-selling author of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy, and curator for the National Comedy Center, Nesteroff currently hosts the Viceland television series “Funny How” and the Classic Showbiz podcast produced by Marc Maron. The Comedians by Kliph Nesteroff has become the standard book on the art form and has been praised by Judd Apatow, Merrill Markoe, Norm MacDonald, Bob Odenkirk, Mel Brooks and Steve Martin. Following eight years as a stand-up comedian, Nesteroff became a frequent contributor to CBC Radio One, CBC Radio 2, GQ and Radio WFMU. His work has been praised by The Atlantic Monthly, Boing Boing, The Chicago Tribune, Comedy Central, The New York Times, and many other major media outlets. 

Kelly Carlin

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Kelly Carlin is a writer, public speaker, performer and radio host whose work explores “the big questions of life.” Like her father, George Carlin, she loves to use humor to question the status quo, and she loves to seek out the unique angle into any subject she tackles. But unlike him, she brings a more personal and emotional tone to her work. 

As a child, Carlin explored her own creativity by writing skits and doing imitations, but began her professional life in her teens working behind the scenes with her parents on various shows for HBO that continued into her 20s. While at college, Carlin discovered her voice as a writer, which led her to a career in writing for film and TV with her husband Robert McCall. After her mother’s death, Carlin began exploring autobiographical storytelling through her first one-woman show, “Driven to Distraction.” She is now host of “The Kelly Carlin Show” on SiriusXM and “Waking from the American Dream” on SModcast Network and tour her show “A Carlin Home Companion” — also the name of her memoir.

Carlin earned her bachelor's in Communications Studies from University of California, Los Angeles, and her masters in Jungian Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.