Lebanon Reporter

Columns

September 4, 2012

This Diller was a dilly

(Continued)

Q: Why do you think your style caught on?

A: It’s about everyone’s life. My jokes have nothing to do with what you have read, where you have traveled. Everyone must get the joke at the same time.

Q: How do you deal with hecklers?

A: I have no hecklers. My timing is so precise. A heckler would to have an appointment to get a word in.

Q: How many jokes do you tell in a minute?

A: I’m told it’s about a dozen. Bob Hope told six, but he would stare at the audience and wait. I just kept going. I work wild like a woman would.

Q: How did the laugh start?

A: At first, I did it because I was nervous. Then, I used it to prime the pump and break up the jokes with an oral exclamation mark. It caught on. I don’t laugh nearly as often as people think. It just seems that way.

Q: Why the cigarette holder?

A: So I could keep my left hand in the air. It became such an important part of my act that people thought it was a foot long. It was five inches long. Oh, and it was never lit. I flicked it, but no ashes. (She cackled.)

Q: Have you had bad audiences?

A: There is no such thing as a bad audience. You must never surrender on the stage. The audience comes to see you, so you must take charge. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be up there.

Q: Are some people born funny?

A: Steve Allen once said that if you’re not funny by the age of 12, you’re not going to be funny. I agree with him.

Finally, here a few of Phyllis’s favorite one-liners:

I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford; then I want to move in with them.

Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.

I wore a topless suit to the beach. It took me two hours to get arrested.

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.

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