‘Robert Benchley’ Category Archives


“Benchley Despite Himself”

by Nat in Robert Benchley

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Nat Benchley Beside Himself
© Al Hirschfeld
Drawing reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld’s exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries, Ltd., New York

Being a compilation of Robert Benchley’s best monologues, short films, radio rantings and pithy pieces

As recalled, edited and acted by his grandson

And combined with family reminiscences and friends’ perspectives.

A warm, touching, hysterical romp for all who are interested in language and its laugh potential.

“Benchley Despite Himself” is a one-man, one-act stroll through the glory period of literate American humor, from post-World War I New York to post-World War II Hollywood.

It is told through the story of one of America’s premiere humorists, a member of the fabled Algonquin Round Table in New York and a habitue of the Garden of Allah in Hollywood.

Robert Benchley made his mark in the numerous magazines in New York in the early 1920s, rose to stardom on the stage in various revues and wrote and starred in the first all-talking film in 1928. After that, his career skyrocketed in films and radio work, while he maintained several regular magazine columns and criticisms. He is still credited by many of the writers for The New Yorker magazine with inspiring their work. Modern humor writers from Woody Allen, Russell Baker and Calvin Trillin to Dave Barry still acknowledge their debt to Benchley’s innovative style.

Available for a variety of social and literary affairs, “Benchley Despite Himself” presents much of Robert Benchley’s best material in a live, ludicrous look at a unique life. Written and performed by Robert’s grandson, Nat, the show has entertained audiences in formats ranging from 25 minutes to a 90-minute examination of Robert’s life and legacy and the accomplishments of his various descendants. (Robert’s son, Nathaniel, wrote The Off-Islanders, which became the movie “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” and his son, Peter, wrote the thrillers Jaws and The Deep.)

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