My Two Cents: Reliving standup comedy’s glory days with Ritch Shydner
Welcome to the 24th episode of “My Two Cents” with comedian Bill Engvall, the show designed to make you laugh and think! Scroll to the bottom to listen to this week’s episode.
Special Guest: Ritch Shydner
After giving his two cents on the alarming amount of apathy in the U.S. these days, Bill welcomes standup legend Ritch Shydner to this week’s show. The two recount their first meeting in the 1980s at a Dallas comedy club where Bill used to MC, and they chat about where comedy has gone since then, recounting many of the stories Ritch told in his new book Kicking Through the Ashes: My Life as a Stand-up in the 1980’s Comedy Explosion.
In particular, Ritch recalls getting in a fist fight on stage in Michigan during a gig at a former biker bar. Bill recounts the time Mike Tyson and his entourage showed up in the middle of his act in a theater that previously had just six people in it. The two reminisce about the video of the their friend Kenny Moore smacking a guy with his guitar during a show at a bar in Louisiana.
“I did a count,” Ritch says. “There were about 400 comics in the whole industry in 1979. There are 400 comics in Toledo now. It’s a hobby for these guys. But for us, we could never afford to look at it that way. This was what we did.” To say Bill agrees might be an understatement.