Robert Klein

Monday, Jan 6, 2025
at 7:00pm
  On Sale to Members Only

Robert Klein has been entertaining audiences for more than 40 years in a career that spans comedy, Broadway, television, and film.

Describing himself as an “uncomedian comedian, talking reality,” Klein, who attended the Yale University Drama School and was a member of the famed The Second City comedy troupe, has been nominated for two Emmys, two Grammys for Best Comedy Album and a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical, They’re Playing Our Song. He won an Obie and Outer Critics Circle Award for his role in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosenzweig.

Klein grew up in the Bronx and attended Alfred University in upstate New York. He planned to be a pre-med major, but his theater teacher convinced Klein’s father to send him to Yale. Klein stayed at Yale for one year and learned of an opportunity to apply to The Second City. At 23, he was hired by the improv troupe and stayed for a year before returning to New York, where Mike Nichols cast him in the Broadway musical The Apple Tree.

Television beckoned and Klein starred in HBO’s first stand-up comedy special. He has starred in nine one-man shows on the network; they usually conclude with his “I Can’t Stop My Leg” routine, which provided the title for a documentary about him, Robert Klein: Still Can’t Stop His Leg. He is the author of an autobiography, The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue: A Child of the Fifties Looks Back.

Klein’s film and television credits include The Owl and the Pussycat, Radioland Murders, Primary Colors, Two Weeks Notice, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. On television, he played the Canadian Ambassador on Madam Secretary and the Mayor of New York in two of the Sharknado films. A fixture on the talk show circuit, he made more than 100 appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman. Currently, he can be seen on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

For Klein, everyday life is the stuff of his stand-up. Whether it is the relationship between parents and children, the ubiquitous lawyers who advertise to the injured, the hypocrisy of public figures, or his own aging, it is all fodder for his wit. “The golden years,” he has said. “Someone sent me an AARP card on my 50th birthday. I needed that like a hole in the head. You get a nice magazine with great pricing on oxygen and flowers.”

In an interview with Dan Markowitz some time ago, Klein reflected on his career to date. “I started with absolutely nothing, no connections,” he said. “I think I’ve made a lot of people laugh, which I think is a reasonably high calling. I think I definitely developed a trend in stand-up as an uncomedian comedian, talking reality. It was important to me not to be the guy wearing cufflinks making fat girlfriend jokes. A lot of people like Seinfeld and Leno and Billy Crystal said I had a certain influence over them.”

While Klein mines getting older for laughs and underlying truths, he isn’t slowing down. He’s having too much fun, skewering the pretentious, the pompous and the just plain silly, as he always has. It’s fortunate we get a leg up for the ride.