The Eightysomethings Launching Standup-Comedy Careers

[singing in French]

Hey. How are you?

[Announcer] We’ve got another comedian coming up.

She’s amazing.

She’s so funny and cool.

Please give a big round of applause for Natalie K. Levant.

[crowd cheering]

[Natalie] One of the best things that I have going for me

is walking out on stage and just looking around,

and waiting for folks to recover.

Guys. I know like some of you,

you have your cell phones out,

please don’t call 911.


My family is not looking for me.

They think I’m at Happy Acres.


But I left.

They said I couldn’t use my vibrator.

It was disturbing my roommate.

Christ, I thought the bitch was deaf.


[Natalie] Maybe it was stupidity,

but I never had the thought, oh,

I’m too old to do this.

Thank you.

[crowd cheering]

How was your set?

I love you.

Here she comes.

Miss America.

♪ You know, I wish that I had Jessie’s girl ♪

♪ I wish that I had Jessie’s girl ♪

[Natalie] Why do I only get bills?

You guys have to get a job.


Say hello, my darling.

Why are you hiding under there?

Say hello.

Lights, camera, action.

[upbeat music]

I love showbiz.

This walker was decorated for me,

when I had my bilateral hip surgery.

With jewelry that I wore

when I did a lot of community theater, very low key.

I always knew my place, it’s obvious.

My husband asked me, would you have rather

been a famous Broadway star than married to me?

And I said to him, I don’t know,

’cause I never had the opportunity.

My husband passed away a month after

our 55th wedding anniversary.

It’s a strange feeling when you’ve been married

for so many years,

you don’t really think about your identity.

And then one day, oh, it’s me.

Who am I?


This is the part of the show

where I formally introduce myself.


I’m Natalie.

Guess what?

I’m postmenopausal.

Yes, let’s hear it for postmenopausal.

Yeah. I have no body hair.

My vagina looks like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.


[Natalie] I found myself really a misfit

being an older woman widowed.

There was like a format that I was supposed to follow

but I didn’t fit.

The first time that I attempted stand up,

I thought, yeah, you know, this is where I belong.


It’s George.

[Woman] George, I didn’t recognize you.

I know.

They’re doing a documentary about my comedy.

I’m the next Kardashian.


[Man] You have no gigs lined up?

I have lots of them.

Take care.

Okay. See you.

[jazz music]

[Announcer] Coming to the stage right now,

ladies and gentlemen,

I love working with this guy.

He is absolutely funny,

which is why he was voted the funniest Jew.

Give it up for George Saltz, ladies and gentlemen.

Put your hands together for George Saltz.

The amazing, George Saltz.

Mr. George Saltz.

[crowd cheering]

This is a very special day.

I made my final payment on my student loan.


60 years goes as fast as a fart, doesn’t it?


[George] I grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

During the summer we would go to the Catskills

and we see all these wonderful comics.

Ever since I was 12, or 13,

this is what I wanted to be.

I didn’t want to be a movie star.

I didn’t want to be a ball player.

I didn’t want to be an actor.

I just wanted to do schtick in the Catskills.

♪ We’re gonna hitch hike up to the Catskills ♪

♪ We know the highway route 17 ♪

[piano music]

[George] When I was 18 years old, I was hired to perform

in the Catskills, and I was gonna start on the career

that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

It was the first time that I was performing

for strangers, I had stage fright.

And then I couldn’t perform.

The next day I got fired.

I was off to a flying stop.

This was not a good day for me.

I found out I was unfriended.

Not on Facebook, I read it in the obituaries.


Now I said, someday I’ll be back.

And the next time I performed, I was 80 years old.


Can you hear me?


[Natalie] George and I met doing comedy,

and we’ve bonded ever since.

Make sure you tell them the Maggie May joke.

We’re very good friends.

You know, just on the phone, back and forth.

Behave yourself.

Well, actually don’t behave yourself.

He always tells me that he’s keeping track

of what I’m doing, and we stay in touch.

Every morning I try to do some writing,

and then I’ll test it out on my voice recorder.

They always put me out first.

They’re afraid I won’t last the whole evening.

It’s all consuming, but it’s like any artist.

You have to have the love and the passion.

And I do.

I’m getting a lot more gigs now.

And I think it’s because of my business card.

On it it says, hire me before it’s too late.


I’m not a young man,

but when it comes to comedy, I am.

I feel young and I think young.

[Man] Oh, it’s George.

Hello there.

I brought a school bus.

Cause you wanna bring everybody on.

[George] Having the camaraderie of these young people,

is unbelievable.

And there’s been no prejudice against me because of age.

I hope I don’t suck.

♪ Happy birthday, Mr. President ♪



♪ To you ♪

[crowd cheering]

It’s not only my 84th birthday, but it’s four years

the anniversary of when I first started to do

stand up comedy.

[crowd cheering]

Please welcome, everybody, Natalie Levant, everybody.

[crowd cheering]

[Natalie] Big deal.

So you’re 84.

I’ll see you’re 84 and raise you two.


I love to hear laughter.

For me, laughter is love.

When you tell a joke, the endorphins kick in for the person.

And when they laugh, the endorphins kick in for me.

It’s an enormous high,

when you are doing really well on stage.

You just feed off of the energy that the crowd

is giving you.

Yes, yes.

And you know, you get home and you can’t go to bed.

It’s like, you know, New Year’s Eve all over again.

Yeah. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Like love making.

It’s just fantastic.

Let’s bring it into the kitchen.

This was on the honeymoon, I guess.

We were married in ’73.

At the Hamptons.

With all this Jewish background,

who do I fall in love with?


Catherine Mary Teresa Sheridan.

All one person.

It was an interfaith relationship.

You know, she was Catholic.

We had a whirlwind courtship of nine years.

Finally, my mother found out, and she proposed to my wife.

She said, do you wanna marry my son?

And she said, of course.

She said, will you convert?

She said, of course.

And I said, why didn’t I think of that?

[light music]

[George] We had a wonderful marriage.

She took care of me.

And then when she got ill, I took care of her.

My wife passed away a short time ago and just still feeling

you know, the loss and the loneliness.

[piano music]

There were so many times where

I would go to the club so down,

and I would come back just so high, that you know,

I could hardly go to sleep.

It’s just such a good feeling.


Hello, hello.

I need it.

This is my way of dealing with the grief.

[Announcer] George Saltz, everybody.

[crowd cheering]

Stand up for me, is that fine line of humor and pain.

I have four kids.

I know how I had them.

I don’t know why.


[Natalie] I have three sons and a daughter.

[Woman] What do your kids think about your standup comedy?

Can we just skip over that question?

Growing up, we were so happy.

We like made the Brady’s look dysfunctional.

After my husband passed away,

and my life changed financially,

some of my children just expected me to fall into place.

My oldest son feels I should be in government housing.

My youngest son, I have not seen for almost a year.

They do not support my lifestyle.

What do I do?

Do I move out of my home? No.

This is the house that my kids grew up in.

Look around, it’s my life.

What are we gonna do with her?

Call Sarah’s daycare.

See if they have a waiting list.

See if anybody died.

I have a great deal of pain about the broken relationships

with my sons.

Being on stage is the way that I handle it.

I didn’t know when I got my first tattoo that it’s

against the Jewish religion.

You can’t even be buried in a Jewish cemetery

with one tattoo.

Guys, this was like the happiest day of my life.

After I’m gone my kids still won’t know what the fuck

to do with me.

Natalie, I was so invested in your set,

I just thought you were a riot.

Love that you have– Oh, you’re so sweet.

– A great humor about that. You’re so sweet.

Thank you so much.

[Woman] You’re so funny.

Thank you.

She literally took out her phone

and is writing your quotes.

May we get a picture with you?

Yeah. Oh my God.

[Woman] One, two.

[Natalie] These ladies, they were sitting there

for the show and you know, something resonated.

I was touched by the fact that they were touched.

All right, get home.

You have class tomorrow.

Yeah, I have to teach.


So sometimes you don’t need family.

Sometimes just somebody reaches out.

We love you.

I’ll remember that.

I’ll get like mushy now, but I will remember it.

I was a clinical psychologist for quite a while.

And they I’m just gonna hold on to this.

Okay. Recently I’ve had some breathing problems,

and it’s getting more and more of a concern to me.

I’m going home.

You feel okay?

Okay. What?

I’m a little, you know, I held on to the–

I saw that.

Cause I was a little,

it’s got nothing to do with your act, I gotta go.

Oh, no, no, listen.

I would leave on me too.

You’re so nice.

Thanks Elaine.

[Elaine] You wanna call me when you get home?


Look for me on the 11 o’clock news.

I better go.

I’m having–

[Woman] Are you okay to drive?

No, no. I don’t know.


[Woman] Maybe you should take a rest before you

Go try to drive. Yeah, maybe I should.

Yeah, just I’ll have some,

just have some water or something.

[Woman] Yeah.

[somber music]

Our Christmases were legend.

We always had people here.

And we always had gifts.

♪ A kiss on the head ♪

♪ May be quite continental ♪

And then we had Dick Clark.

Hi, this is Dick Clark broadcasting live from Times Square

in New York.

Three, two, one.

Happy New Year.

Happy 2000.

This Christmas was quiet, but it was a good Christmas.

Life changes.

And the tree makes me happy,

because I remember all the other Christmases.

And moving right along.

[Woman] For more than 100 years, Burke rehabilitation

hospital has been pioneering rehabilitation

and helping patients achieve their highest level

of recovery and independence.

Learn more about Burke’s longstanding tradition

of excellence and specific programs at

I had surgery.

I was in the ICU for a month,

and apparently they were quite concerned about losing me.

I started to make arrangements,

made sure my will was up to date.

The meatloaf is good.

[Natalie] George and I message back and forth.

And he’s been a little bit quiet lately.

I worried like crazy.

I’ll send him a kiss.

I’ve been in touch with Natalie on Facebook.

I try and send him some kind of a joke every day or two.

I hope that I make him smile.

Comedy has helped me just in terms of my spirits.

I’ve got new material as a result of being there,

but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I love my grandma.

As you grow older, your brain naturally begins to change,

which may cause trouble with recall.

I don’t like to think about age

because it like labels you.

But then, you know, you have to, you’re forced to.

But you can’t let it define you.

The secret to longevity is to keep moving.

Get out of the fucking house.

Feels so good.

As you get older, you’re told to start disappearing,

’cause it’s gonna happen anyway.

Put pink on your nails.

Pretty soon, nobody will even see you.

Cover your arms.

Why should you cover your arms?

Even if they look like bags of dead mice.

It’s just, it’s more room for tattoos.

Stop telling us to disappear.

We’re not going anywhere and wherever we’re going,

you’re gonna go there one day.

Oh God, I’ve gotta save my energy.

I have a show to do tonight.

[upbeat music]

I know I was supposed to die a long time ago.

I am so sorry that honey,

I never know my place.

[crowd cheering]

Cheers to queers and guys like us, bottoms up.

So this is Natalie’s favorite song.

And we figured we have to do it.

[Natalie] I don’t care if my kids think it’s foolish.

I am still doing stand up because I can still stand up.

[crowd cheering]

I’ve had to cancel my shows.

This is my first one back.

I have trouble concentrating now.

Things that were a piece of cake before, aren’t.

And I keep skipping things.

So I don’t know how it’s gonna go in terms of that.

And I’ve got cheat sheets, which I’ve never used in my life.

But I’m excited.

I’m really excited.

I’ve come such a long way.

The other one’s fancier, but this is more stand up.

[light music]

There he is.

Good to see you, my brother.

Good to see you, my friend.

How you doing?

How you feeling?


Oh, it’s good to be king.

Holy shit.

Right in the middle of your pasta, huh?

You okay?

This is gonna be a great night, yeah.

Of course it is.

I got the energy, I got–

This is just what he lives for.

See you soon.

I would really worry about Georgie,

if he didn’t want to have that mic back in his hand.

The return of the one, the only.

George Saltz.

[crowd cheering]

They always put me on first,

they think I won’t last the whole night.


As you know, I spent quite a bit

of time in the hospital of, with a surgical problem.

I drove in because I was gonna be there for quite a while.

And I see the parking lot,

and it says complimentary parking.

So I say, oh, at least I won’t have to pay for that.

And you know, and when I check out, he says that’s $1,204.

I said, what?

What about the complimentary parking?

He says, oh yeah, nice car.


And then I speak to the doctor, okay?

And I was concerned.

It was a rather difficult procedure.

And I said, what is the mortality rate for this procedure?

They said, oh, one per person.


I’ve been very, very fortunate.

How many people are doing, you know,

what they wanted to do at 12?

Thank you very much.

I love you.

I love you all.

Thank you.

[crowd cheering]

People ask, are you sorry you didn’t do it

when you were 18?

I say for me, it came at the right time.

If anybody ever tells you to act your age,

tell them to go fuck themselves.

[crowd cheering]

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

I’m grateful that I’ve sort of forged my own path.

Now we’re gonna look at Darrel.

Hey, Darrel, hey.


I love you.

[Natalie] Do you feel okay?

[George] Yeah, and I’m crying.

I’m emotional.

Just the whole evening.

It’s making me emotional.

Considering, you know where I’ve been.

I understand. And I’m just.

There, to here.

In fact, I wanted to cry afterwards,

but I couldn’t ’cause it would ruin it

for everybody up there.

So I just. Right.

I’ll go home and I’ll have a big cry.

And tomorrow we’ll talk.

Yeah, okay dear.

Love you dearly.

Thank you Papa.

Aw. They don’t make ’em like us anymore.

If you live long, you know, all the people that you grew

up with, you lose them.

So one of the things I say is,

I’m gonna be the last comic standing

and there won’t be an audience.

[upbeat music]

[George] Before doing this nonsense,

I was a clinical psychologist.

Really? Yes.

So one of the comics asked me, you know,

he’s into kinky sex, and he is a bit concerned about it.

He said, when is it considered kinky?

And when is it a perversion?

A good question.

I said, well, if you use a feather, that’s kinky.

If you use the whole chicken, that’s perversion.

Most of the folks here don’t pay any attention

to the agents and in commercials.

But I do.

And I’m here to tell you that I’m fighting it all the way.

Help, help.

I fallen and I can’t get up.


We got you were posing for a Playboy centerfold.


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