from my sketchbook: stanley myron handelman

no sleep 'til Brooklyn
Stanley Myron Handelman was born in Brooklyn in 1929. He worked as a stand-up comic and gag writer as a young man. But for nearly ten years, he was a fixture on variety showcases and late-night talk shows. He made numerous appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Flip Wilson Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show.  He was a semi-regular on Dean Martin‘s popular Golddiggers  program in the late 1960s. His nerdy clothes, gangly stature and trademark horn-rimmed glasses made him look like a walking cartoon character. His surreal brand of humor (think Emo Phillips crossed with Steven Wright) was a refreshing and welcome alternative to the Las Vegas/old-school schtick delivered by contemporaries Shecky Greene and Jackie Vernon.

Stanley was a regular on the Danny Thomas’ revival Make Room for Grand Daddy.  The show was canceled after one season (leading co-star Rusty Hamer down a dark path). Stanley continued to perform stand-up, opening for Frank Sinatra and pal Dean Martin at various Vegas showrooms. Stanley also continued to write jokes for his friend Rodney Dangerfield.

When Rodney Dangerfield passed away in 2004, his will stipulated that Stanley receive a lump sum of $10,000 and a monthly payment of $800 for the rest of his life.

Stanley quietly collected his inheritance and laid low until he died three years later at the age of 77.



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