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The first and only time I met Steven Wright was for a week in 1983, when I running the Comedy Underground in Seattle. One night he asked me to watch his act, to help him figure out why he wasn’t connecting with the crowd. He would do his set and scan the audience but, while he was looking at them, he wasn’t looking AT them. I gave him this observation and he thanked me. Never sure if he paid it any mind, nor have I seen him since. But during his appearance on Fitzdog Radio this week, I finally know what that blank scan was all about. “I was terrified,” he reveals to host Greg Fitzsimmons. Turns out the the first few years he was doing standup, he had trouble remembering his act joke to joke and he would blank out. After a few seconds, he’d take any joke his panicked mind could recall and say that, which eventually led to the purposely pauseful act he’s now famous for, as well as the halting stream of non-sequiturs. The early days of Boston comedy, his love/hate relationship with Hollywood, why he has so much trouble writing a feature-length film — he is equally forthcoming the rest of the chat, an interview deftly handled by Fitzsimmons even though (or perhaps because) he is an unabashed fanboy when it comes to Wright. A must-hear for any comic nerd.

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