Long before I had met any of the Pythons, I did my first celebrity interview, and it was the first article I ever got money for writing. I was still in college at the time, working a couple of shifts a week at the college radio station, including a weekly comedy show which primarily consisted of playing album cuts by the Smothers Brothers and Jonathan Winters (this was before I had gotten my mitts on Monty Python albums. I discovered that a friend of a friend was running a convention in California, and he was bringing in several guests. One of them caught my eye.
Ironic, in retrospect, because his own eye had been caught by Moe on numerous occasions. By this time, though, Moe and Larry had both passed away. But Joe DeRita, “Curly Joe,” was still alive and well and apparently doing public appearances. Although I figured Jonathan Winters and the Smothers Brothers (to say nothing of the Pythons), would probably be too busy to deign to do a college radio interview, I had a feeling that Curly Joe might have a little more time on his hands. I was right. Using my radio show to justify my request, I finagled his number and made a call, and that very week I was interviewing Curly Joe. He couldn’t have been nicer, and answered all of my fanboy comedy questions with great patience and tolerance. Eventually, at the urging of Mr. Jewell, my former speech teacher, I transcribed the whole thing and sent it off to a nostalgia magazine, which eventually printed it. As a college kid stuck in the Midwest, I couldn’t believe I had spoken to someone who was part of a comedy legend, and to get paid for it? I couldn’t think of a better way to make money.