Interview by A.T. Maygarden
SF! Is the Shorty character something you created just for the Stooges Theater?
Shorty: No, I've been doing Shorty for about 15 years. When I'm not doing the Stooges thing I go to all these places like birthday parties and picnics, and do caricatures, and gags as Shorty. I've been doing it full time for six or seven years.
SF! Do you have any background in theater or clowning?
S: So, you noticed my background when you saw me! Actually I've been acting since I was six. I was in a repertory company playing juvenile roles. I went to drama college, and American Center for the Performing Arts in Boston, and went on from there and did commercials, industrials and stuff like that. I did a few television shows in Charlotte and in Florida.
SF! How did you develop your clown routines?
S: I'm a big, big old-time movie fan. The very first present I can ever remember getting was a big poster of Laurel & hardy. I was three or four years old and it was my prized possession.
SF! Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton . . .
S: Oh yes, that's what got me started in acting trying to emulate them. I've always gone the comedy route, though I've done some drama too.
SF! What about the verbal humor you do, the word play? Is that just you or do you work at it?
S: I guess it's a combination of both. You can work at it, but unless you have somewhere inside of you can't really do it. You have to be able to think on your feet. In fact, one of the acts I do when I don't do Shorty is Groucho Marx. When you do skits like that you have to be able to come up with quick answers to what people say. After a lot of years you can do that without even thinking.
SF! How did Stooges Theater come about?
S: The guy who's the head at WYED used to work in Charlotte and I had done some stuff for him. His kids are big fans of some shows I did in Charlotte.
SF! So the skits are produced in Raleigh?
S: I go out here once a month and stay for a week, and do a month's worth of shows.
SF! Do you write and produce them all yourself?
S: Well, there's not much writing, except for the skits. The station produces them. I do the editing of my stuff, though. It's not so hard, because a lot of it's improv. That's one of the reasons I came up with the idea of going to kids' houses and doing the show from there.
SF! How about the Messterpiece Theater skits?
S: They were done five or six years ago here in Charlotte.
SF! Will there be new Shorty skits this fall?
S: I hope so if I can work out the travel business.
SF! The response to Shorty's Stooges Theater seems to have been pretty good.
S: I've been getting bunches and bunches of fan mail. I seem to be getting somewhat of a celebrity status. Everywhere I go people seem to know who I am, even without makeup!
SF! Who's your favorite Stooge?
S: The one everyone else says - Curly. I use a lot of Curlyisms in my stuff.
SF! Do you find that a lot of Stooges comedy creeps into your subconscious and you use it without thinking about it?
S: Soitanly! Yeah. I just seem to be a mixture of a whole lot of people. They're dead and I'm alive.
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