You may know comedian Tom Dreesen from his dozens of appearances with Carson, Letterman, Leno, and other hosts, or his 14 years as Frank Sinatra's opening act. What you may not know is that he started his career as half of America's first (and last) black-and-white comedy team. His partner was Tim Reid -- best known for playing Venus Flytrap on "WKRP In Cincinnati" -- and their five years together are chronicled in "Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White."
Tom joined me today on WHAS/Louisville to talk about how the act started, how tough it was working at a time of racial and social upheaval (1969-74), whether they had more trouble with black or white audiences, how the Playboy clubs were an oasis that gave them venues to play across the country, and how a backstage fight led to their best show ever. He also explained why he thinks there hasn't been a black-and-white comedy team since, and why there's still a bias against the idea in show business.
I also talked to Tom about his friendship with David Letterman, his years touring with Sinatra, his time with Sammy Davis Jr., and his love of the Chicago Cubs (for whom he recently hosted an event at a funeral home, where all the Cubs curses were cremated).
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Here's Tom's website.
Here's Tom's solo comedy album, "That White Boy's Crazy" from 1989.
Here's Tim Reid's solo comedy album from 1976.
Here's an album of Tim and Tom onstage in 1973.