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The Last First Comic (2010)

| Documentary
Documentary feature exploring the history of American comedy with the last living Burlesque comic, 97 year old Irv Benson.


Bart Williams




Cast overview, first billed only:
Irving Benson Irving Benson ... Self
Lillian Benson Lillian Benson ... Self
Suzanne Charny Suzanne Charny ... Self
Phyllis Coates ... Self
Chris Costello Chris Costello ... Self
Andrew Davis Andrew Davis ... Self
Mickey Deems Mickey Deems ... Self
Dixie Evans ... Self
Armond Fields Armond Fields ... Self
Dee Ann Johnston Dee Ann Johnston ... Self
Ed McMahon ... Self
Don Potter Don Potter ... Self
Betty Rowland ... Self
Alan Young ... Self
Bart Williams Bart Williams ... Narrator


The Last First Comic tells the story of comedy itself as seen through the eyes of Irving Benson - the last living First Comic of Burlesque. Burlesque - up to the 1940's - was a variety show featuring different acts: magicians, singers, jugglers, comedians, and of course strippers. Many of the comedic acts who got their start in Burlesque include Jackie Gleason, Abbott and Costello, W.C. Fields and Danny Thomas. Having turned 102 at the end of January in 2016, Irving Benson is the last living First Comic. The film features interviews with strippers such as Dixie Evans and features clips of Benson heckling Milton Berle and Johnny Carson. Bart Williams, the narrator, takes Benson back to the Palace Theater in New York where he interviews him on stage while Benson teaches him the timing of a "bit" The film also features the last filmed interview with Ed McMahon. Written by Bert Simonis

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How Burlesque Died and Irv Benson Lived to Tell It!



User Reviews

Fabulously Entertaining and Historically Important
16 May 2014 | by tracy-doyleSee all my reviews

My S.O. and I (he's a ragtime pianist!) received our copy of LFC a couple days ago, and we've already watched it twice! Great work, guys... this film is informative and entertaining and has a lot of valuable historical information: clips, music and visuals as well as oral history. It is well- paced and engaging, and at the same time it tells an important story of the development of a particular brand of comedy in a crucible which will never exist again, and its evolution into television and improv. The conclusion is moving, and the emotional connection of this man to his craft and a long-passed entertainment venue drives home the sense of loss over the passing of true burlesque. Thanks for making such an important film.

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$10,000 (estimated)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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