Guest-starring Avery Schreiber!

Ben and Pete examine the career and appearance of Avery Schreiber, and the ties between his comedy partner — the key writer on The Muppet Show — and his manager — whom he shared with Jim Henson. And yet, they find that this show featured some of the best writing of the season and some of the most animatronic antics by the guest star. Was it kismet or nepotism, and does it matter?

Sources and References:

Ben compares the Muppet Show cast album version of “Tenderly” to the actually more tender version as done more traditionally by Sarah Vaughan.

When Pete speculated that Jack Burns knew he would be moving on from The Muppet Show at the end of season one, Ben quoted talent manager Bernie Brillstein’s biography to refute the point.

Jim was patient and rarely raised his voice.  He didn't like confrontation, so he usually gave me the unpleasant jobs.  I knew it was dead serious time when he told me to fire his head writer, Jack Burns, who was my good friend and client.  The way he did it was perfectly Jim.  He called from London and said, "Hi, Bernie, how ya doing?"
"Fine. How does everything look?"
"Fine," he said, and paused. "You know something, Bernie? Jack Burns gives me a stomachache."
I knew exactly what he meant. Time to make a change. "How soon?" I asked.
"Soon," he said.

Pete cites the “Gorilla” entry on the Muppet Fandom page as not mentioning the gorilla in the “Gorilla Detector” segment of Muppet Labs on this episode. Oddly, they have decided to hide the gorilla away on the “Gorilla Suit” page, since the uncredited performer dressed as a gorilla is wearing a gorilla suit and is not a Muppet version of a gorilla. They also sneakily justify this decision by stating that in the Gorilla Detector sketch, “Perhaps demonstrating a keen awareness of the artificiality of the gorilla suit, the detector fails to go off.”

Donna McCrohan’s book on The Second City has a number of references to and excepts of conversations with Avery Schreiber, including the source of the original make of his sketch team with Joan Rivers. The information about Lorne Michaels being hired as a writer on The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour also came from Brillstein’s memoir. On the Second City alumni website, Avery Schrieber still doesn’t have a bio (despite being given an obit in the New York Times), and Jerry Stiller still doesn’t have a headshot along with thirteen other S-named alums. And in Errata Alert, Harvey Korman is not in The Last Remake of Beau Geste, as Ben claims. Peter Ustinov is, and was probably who Ben meant to include in that list, but he screwed up. So Pete technically got that answer correct, and is owed another point for the season. Please update your scorecards accordingly, and Ben is very sorry.

There were probably other interesting connections between Avery Schreiber’s IMDB top four and Jim Henson, but these are the ones Ben spun out on Connect The Stars:

Avery Schreiber's top four on IMDB are: Galaxina, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, The Concorde: Airport '79, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. 

The shortest route to Jim Henson is  Avery Schreiber is in Robin Hood: Men in Tights with Mel Brooks, who is in The Muppet Movie with Jim Henson.

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