I recently mentioned on Facebook my admiration for the talents of movie writer-director Larry Cohen who, among many other things, was ‘murder consultant’ on the TV series Columbo. I am particularly keen on the quirky God Told Me To (a very odd film about random killings in which the title actually IS the story) and Q – The Winged Serpent (about a South American flying lizard god which lives atop the Chrysler Building in New York).
It turned out that my Facebook Friend comedian Steven Alan Green had – among his many other careers as writer, producer, performer and currently radio show host and comedy blogger for the Jewish Journal… actually appeared in a Larry Cohen movie – as a stand-up comic in the horror film sequel It’s Alive III: Island of The Alive.
How did that happen?
“I was working at The Comedy Store in Hollywood as a comedian, but also answering the phones,” says Steven Alan Green, “and Larry Cohen calls on a Sunday and asks for ‘the talent department’ to get a comedian to come down that night and play a comedian in his film.
“I told him there was only me on the phone and he asked me. So I called the talent coordinator at home and he told me to take the job.
“So, I got down to the Santa Monica pier and was hired as ‘an extra’. But, since I had lines (improvising a stand-up act) I asked Larry about ‘Taft Hartley-ing’ me – meaning, since I was speaking in a Screen Actors’ Guild union production, he could do the paperwork to get me into the union.
“He agreed to do this if I would come in and ‘loop’ – recording my dialogue in a studio another day – which I did.”
“How long did the filming take?” I asked Steven Alan Green.
“Just one afternoon and into the night,” he told me. “They didn’t mic me during the film shoot, except when I talked with the stand-up comedy mic on set.
“So, I end up in this recording studio in Hollywood, looping my stand-up set, just saying whatever comes to mind. Larry just said to wing it, then to get him a coffee. One of the things I said was So, here’s my impression of Steven Alan Green…. and Larry left that line in the final film.
“So, if you go to this clip on YouTube and get to the scene that starts about the 4min 11sec mark and turn up the volume, there are two comedians on stage… I’m the one closest to the camera who says to Michael Moriarty: You got an act to go with that suit, sir?”
“How would you describe the movie?” I asked.
“Ah,” replied Steven Alan Green. “A horror film with Apocalyptic implications predicated on the notion that Youth are always dangerous.”
“Was Larry normal?” I asked.
“What’s normal?” said Steven Alan Green. “He was a little too normal for the type of films he makes. Friendly, hands-on. I mean, he was the one who called the Comedy Store looking for a stand-up comedian for his film. What director does that?”
“Did you,” I asked Steven Alan Green, “make any good contacts during the filming or was there any follow-up from appearing in the movie?”
“One of the cannibalistic babies started stalking me,” replied Steven Alan Green.
“Anything you want to plug?” I asked.
“My new radio show and live podcast Stage Time with Steven Alan Green… and The Laughter Foundation, which has a big benefit planned for the Spring in San Francisco… and my blog for the Jewish Journal… and I Eat People For You Like Breakfast! my famed and infamous one-man show about my bringing Jerry Lewis to the London Palladium. I’m doing that show at The Marsh in San Francisco next Wednesday and on December 4th…”
“What does being blog writer for the Jewish Journal involve?” I asked.
“I write what I want and they publish it,” said Steven Alan Green. “My blog is called Enjoy the Veal and I review live stand-up as an art form and write open letters to Jerry Lewis. I try to review comedians’ shows in the ideal – somewhere between what they were trying to achieve and why they didn’t.”
“In the Larry Cohen movie,” I ventured, “did you choose your own costume?”
“What are you saying?” Steven Alan Green shot back. “That was my comedy outfit! A 3-piece Japanese designer with trainers. I mean, Doh!”