Comedy Talks: Conversations with the Legends of Comedy

Comedy talks, conversations with the legends of comedy, old comedians, veterans of comedy, legendary comedians, comedy legends of all time  

Comedy Talks is a hosted panel discussion that brings the classic late night talk show format to the live stage.


Host Robert Strong talks with a panel of three comedy legends about their careers, personal lives, insider gossip, and tips of the comedy trade. A Q&A period lets the audience in on the conversation, too. Meet comedy luminaries so familiar that they feel like old friends, as well as the behind-the-scenes geniuses responsible for some of the biggest laughs of your life.

Producer and host Robert Strong is a comedian and magician who has been entertaining audiences since 1985. In his many years on the road, Strong had the pleasure of meeting dozens of legendary comedians, becoming increasingly intrigued by his impression that the behind-the-scenes chit-chat was often just as entertaining as the performances themselves. This revelation gave rise to the idea of bringing those personal, genuine, and fascinating backstage conversations to the public in the form of Comedy Talks. In 2009, Strong partnered with Juliana Gallin, founder and director of San Francisco’s Ask a Scientist lecture series, to produce the very first season of Comedy Talks. Taking place at the University of San Francisco’s Presentation Theater over three consecutive Sundays in August 2010, Comedy Talks launched with celebrity panelists George Segal, Paul Mazursky, Ronnie Schell, Rich Little, Carol Channing, Steve Rossi, Robert Morse, Shelley Berman, and Will Durst. These national treasures shared their wisdom, wit, and experience with adoring audiences in an atmosphere at once intimate, boisterous, and euphorically funny. Comedy Talks’ producers, crew, panelists, and audience look forward to many more seasons to come!


Our first season took place in August 2010 at the University of San Francisco's Presentation Theater. Our inaugural panelists included actor George Segal, director and writer Paul Mazursky, actor and comic Ronnie Schell, master impersonator Rich Little, stage and screen star Carol Channing, comic and singer Steve Rossi, Tony Award winner Robert Morse, legendary comedian Shelley Berman, and political satirist Will Durst.

What are people saying about Comedy Talks?

  • Jennifer Gordon of America's Comedy — Comedy Talks “was inspiring, refreshing, beautiful, the pure art of comedy at its finest, most poignant and nourishing... The show’s format was perfect for showcasing these comedy legends and giving the audience a full view of their motivations, hard work and insights through decades of comedy.”.
  • Robert Morse, star of stage, screen, and television — “Comedy Talks — what a fantastic experience! A panel of the most interesting artists , actors, comedians, etc. having a most wonderful time talking about who they are and where they have been. The banter was funny, touching, and amazingly brilliant and the audience participation was a joy. Everyone had time to recall the most fascinating aspects of their best of times. I'd like to be part of this again and again. So much joyous fun!”
  • Will Durst, political satirist — “Comedy Talks is a candid exhilarating glimpse behind the glitter and glamour of the comedy business that surgically delves into the genius that make America laugh. I had the blessed opportunity to hang out on stage with two of my comedy heroes, Shelley Berman and Robert Morse. Had so much fun, we made a barrel of monkeys insanely jealous. Of course, I must admit, they were pretty worked up to begin with. Robert Strong was the caulk that held all the basic tiles together, and excelled in both his roles of host and producer.”
  • Vanessa Taub, make-up artist — “Very rarely do we all get to be a part of something that is magical in our careers. This project was magic and I think that magic was so tangible it will touch everyone who is lucky enough to see this.”
  • Nancy Anderman, attendee — Comedy Talks “is one of the most wonderful, entertaining, fabulous, moving, touching, hysterically funny events I have ever experienced.”
  • Laurie Gordon, attendee — Comedy Talks “was truly one of the best live theater experiences I have ever had. I loved the setting, the film clips, and Robert Strong's hosting which was professional, engaging, funny, relaxed and respectful. I so enjoyed the reminiscence, easy banter and gentle ribbing between the three comedians. They had great chemistry and a natural ‘groove’ together. It felt both fresh and historic at the same time. I laughed and was great.”
  • Richard Keller, attendee — “Hosannas — the ‘Little Man’ out of his seat clapping, and hundreds , perhaps thousands , dare say millions — let’s round it off to billions — of collective laughs shared by everyone at the three-weekend event that became a ritual.”
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