Theodore Gottlieb, better known as Brother Theodore, was a Holocaust survivor whose entire family was wiped out at Dachau. He subsequently created a stand-up act that was one of the strangest and funniest comedy monologues I’ve ever experienced. He performed regularly in New York City in the 1980s at the 13th Street Theater, where I saw his show several times.
He billed himself as “Brother Theodore…Philosopher…Metaphysician…Podiatrist. ” (He once demanded of my date as to why she was going out with that comic book character next to her.) He lived on the Upper West Side of NYC, and if you were feeling a wave of insomnia, you could often catch him playing chess in the middle of the night at the local chess parlor.
He performed essentially the same show unchanged up until the age of 94. Yesterday’s post reminded me of this comedic genius. Click on the picture above to see the video.
My father’s wife who is a Holocaust survivor (so is my dad) told me that in the camps, all they thought about was food. Theodore must have also experienced starvation and I’m thinking that this is how he came up with his tirade.
All of his monologues came from a place of deep despair. You can see more of his work on YouTube. He used to be a favorite guest of David Letterman, back when Letterman had his late night show. Once he moved to CBS, though, Letterman would not risk having someone like Theodore on the show.
I used to watch Letterman’s late night show and I thought he was “iconic”, daring and different. Of course all that changed when he moved . However, I don’t remember seeing Theodore on the program. Thanks for posting this.
P.S. I grew hearing accents like his….although I was born in Cleveland Ohio, English is my third language!