Comedy writer, songwriter and actor
This week, Ira spoke with comedy writer, songwriter and actor Bruce Vilanch. In this eclectic (and hilarious) episode of Ira’s Everything Bagel, Bruce talks about his connection to the comedians of the Catskills; his move from the East Coast to Ohio and on to Hollywood; writing for the Academy Awards shows, Joan Rivers and Bette Midler; his relationship with his mother, who adopted him and just recently finding his birth mother; whether the deli will survive; raising funds for charity, including AIDS; why he loves writing and performing, but never wanted to be a producer; aging out in Hollywood; collaborative writing vs writing by yourself; and his new project (a musical), featuring an imaginary Dolly Parton (but with the real Dolly Parton music).
One of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry, Bruce has become a recognizable face in his own right, thanks to the feature-length documentary “Get Bruce!” (1999) and his one-time stint as a regular on “Hollywood Squares” (1998), for which he also served as head writer.
He began contributing to Academy Awards telecasts in 1989, collaborating with the likes of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman, and graduated to head writer in 2000. He has roasted celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and President Clinton. His resume also includes “You Made Me Watch You,” the touching Emmy-winning valedictory Midler crooned as a send-off to Johnny Carson.