As his family drove around, especially when they moved, they listened to comedy on the radio. This is important because it gave him a background knowledge of comedy.
He was a guidebook seller, magic shop clerk, and a roper. This is important because he became used to performing in front of people and learned jokes from comedians who performed there.
The Birdcage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm was his workplace for a few years. This developed his performing skills.
He began to develop his sense of humor while performing at the theater. He tested material and got a start in comedy.
He wrote and performed for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the Sonny and Cher Show, the Steve Allen Show, and much more. This really helped him understand what people thought was funny and not funny.
He started out small, but after his breakthrough he began to perform at stadiums and large venues. In this time period he tested theories in comedy, formed better jokes, and got rid of bad jokes. He eventually became very well-known, and he performed for crowds of large numbers.
He was born in 1945 in Waco, Texas.
In 1950 his family moved to Hollywood, California.
Inspired by his girlfriend, Stormie, he decided to study logic at Long Beach State College.
He was hired to open for Ann-Margaret, and he met Elvis Presley after the show.
He was given the opportunity to be on the show. This began a series of appearances on the show, and helped him become well-known.
After he stopped his writing career, he started going to nightclubs like the Troubador.
When Johnny Carson chose him as a guest host, it boosted his reputation and gave him more exposure to viewers of the show.
His manager sealed a deal with Warner Brothers. At first the producers thought his act was too visual, but later they signed the deal.
He realized that he needed to stop being an opening act and get one. He also started to take his audiences outside and walk them around. This was when he started to become more famous, performed for larger audiences, and made better material.
This began a series of appearances on the show. He also used a bit where he said that he was "a wild and crazy guy."
He released The Jerk which is about him growing up with an African American family. He used some material from his shows, and people loved the movie.
After struggles with equipment, audiences, and material, he realized that he needed to stop performing. He then moved on to other things like acting.
His friend told him to solve family problems now because someday his parents might not be there, so he improved his relationship with his dad before his dad died.
After he lost his mother, he took a trip down memory lane, and he went back to the Birdcage and walked around. He thought about how he had come so far from the little theater where he started.
His mother died.