Mike Nichols and Elaine May – Part 4

This final part of Nichols and May’s Monitor sketches includes: Fern Escapes, White House Laundress, Keep It Under Your Hat, Successful Director, The New Baby, I Love Lucy, Labor and Management, You’re Snoring, Tallest Man In The World, Happy Birthday, Where’s My Sheet, Your New Beaver, Bringing Home People For Dinner, About That Mustache, The Sick Mouse, Christmas Gift, Bad Cough, Selective Hearing, 1200 Frogs, American Legionnaire, David Ben Gurion (outtake), It’s Not Nancy, My Chosen Career, Taxi To Rockefeller Center, and an extra: Mike and Elaine Interviewed on Person To Person.


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Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Part 3

This is the third installment of unreleased – notice I didn’t say “lost” – sketches Mike Nichols and Elaine May recorded for Monitor radio in the early 1960’s.

Topics this time out include Anna May Wong, an RCA Building window washer (Monitor Radio was headquartered in the RCA Building), a man who tries to drown his wife in the bathroom, and a woman who wants to get a tattoo.

Don’t worry – track three seems to be missing – I’ll add it to the final posting of Nichols and May on Monitor, due in a few days.

Here’s the link.

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Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Part 2

Here’s the second of four installments of Monitor radio sketches by Mike Nichols and Elaine May, “The King and Queen of Sophisticated Comedy.”

This brief history of the team comes from The New York Times: “Nichols and May first did improvisational theater with the Chicago-based Compass Players troupe, which evolved into the Second City company. They began performing their own act in 1957, arrived on Broadway in 1960 and broke up in 1962 after feuding over a play that Ms. May wrote and Mr. Nichols starred in, “A Matter of Position,” which closed in Philadelphia.

The last track isn’t a sketch – it’s Mike and Elaine as part of a round table discussion with Irv Kupcinet (or is it Mitch Miller? It’s hard to tell those two guys apart from their voices). Favorite tracks from this second bunch: “The Air Conditioning Repairman” and “Edith and Osbert,” which was written about international long distance calls, but works well today as a cell phone sketch.

Link to Folder

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Stan & Ollie, Bud & Lou, George & Gracie, Bob & Ray, Pete & Dud... Mike and Elaine!

Mike Nichols and Elaine May were a comedy team for a short time – from 1957 through 1962. Their recorded output was tiny – just three LP’s: Improvisations To Music (1959), which, powered by the team’s television appearances, became a ‘top forty’ LP; An Evening With Nichols and May, which contained excerpts from their hit Broadway show of 1960, and their final record, Nichols and May Examine Doctors, from 1961.

Nichols and May were improvisational situation comedians: sophisticated, funny, and cool. They appealed not only to adults, but also to kids. Steve Martin says that each routine was “…like a song – you could listen to it over and over. I used to go to sleep to them at night.”

The ten sketches on the final album, …Examine Doctors, were originally recorded for “the greatest show in network radio history” – Monitor, an NBC extravaganza that ran pretty much the entire weekend, pretty much across the country, from 1955 through 1975. At its peak, the monitor beacon could be heard for forty hours, from 8 a.m. Saturday morning through midnight Sunday. If you’d like to listen to excerpts from Monitor, you’ll need Real Player and Dennis Hart’s Monitor site.

Nichols and May were Monitor regulars for a couple of years. The ten tracks on the …Examine Doctors LP are but a small fraction of their work for Monitor. The rest remains unreleased, which is a shame, because it may well be some of their very best work. See if you agree.

Mike Nichols and Elaine May Unreleased Monitor Sketches, Part 1

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