Tag Archives: Larry Hankin

Committee Clean-Up

By the time The Committee put out their second album, The Wide World of War, in 1973, they had just about finished their ten-year run in their own theatre (though they continued intermittently as a touring entity for a few years afterward).
In “The Clean-Up,” Del Close and Larry Hankin play junkies. Those who knew Del will tell you that this was not a great stretch. This is where you will hear one of Del’s favorite comedy lines: “You can’t sell fire, man, that’s one of the four elements!” As the scene progresses, Del’s character becomes increasingly frustrated because he no longer can find anyplace on his body to shoot up, and–well, you can listen for yourself.


Happy Birthday Committee!

Fifty-first anniversaries are never quite as flashy as 50th anniversaries, but it’s always worth remembering the opening night of The Committee on April 10, 1963! Scott Beach, Hamilton Camp, Garry Goodrow, Larry Hankin, Kathryn Ish, accompanied by Ellsworth Milburn, stage managed by Dick Stahl, and directed by Alan Myerson, took the stage at 622 Broadway in San Francisco.


(The Dick Cavett Show appearances, including the one with Janis Joplin, above, didn’t come until much later.)

Since that evening, a lot of talented folks took the stage as part of The Committee, and they influenced countless others, most of whom don’t even know it. Hopefully, Jamie Wright, Sam Shaw, and I will be able to change that in the next couple of years. Jamie and Sam, who do a terrific job producing the San Francisco Improv Fest every year, are producing a documentary on The Committee, and I’m working on my Committee book.

Anyone who has ever performed The Harold (or any other kind of longform improvisation), or been to the iO, UCB, Groundlings, The Annoyance, or so many other theatres and schools, or enjoyed the work of some of their alumni (including the much-in-the-news iO and Second City alum Stephen Colbert), owe an awful lot to these pioneers, and the upcoming documentary and book will tell you why.