“Live Radio Theater” to 4 Emmys… its Paul Robins & Phil Cowen

When it comes to very successful Radio and TV guys, the team of Paul Robins and Phil Cowen can’t be beat. This Show features a Fun interview with Paul & Phil, talking about their days starting at Laughs as comics and doing radio spots, to their years of Radio success, and then their Emmy Award winning TV work as the “Answer Guys”, on the Discovery Channel. I added a couple sample commercials they wrote and a musical number by Paul Robins….Enjoy!

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Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

This is another episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee, celebrating 40 plus years on the fringe of show business, stories, interviews and comedy sets from the famous and not so famous. Here’s your host and emcee Scott and words.

Scott Edwards: 

Hey, and welcome to this week’s show to get things started off and kind of get a feel and excitement for this episode. Here is a promo from back in about 1983. Enjoy

Paul Robins: 

the names jackhammer, paramedic, my partner Bill and I work the toughest beat in town. Tuesday through Sunday nights our ambulances parked right here in firehouse alley outside laughs unlimited old Sacramento. The things we’ve seen this place, dude, that’s right top named comedy acts from LA San Francisco, New York. And now a full service ball. Don’t get us wrong. We got a sense of humor. We think people should have a good time. Yeah, but laughs Unlimited is just too much entertainment. Yeah, these comics are professionals. Okay. New shows every ways he believes he gets some people can’t take all that humor. They start laughing they just snap. Here we go again. Come on. All right. Stand back. Back. Give him room. eyes rolled back oxygen Bill started IV. He’s not coming around. It’s getting to emergency move right out of the way. Yeah. When will you people learned, like know the name of the comic who did this? Who’s in there?

Phil Cowen: 

Find out who you’re missing this week at last call 4465905 for details and reservations. laughs unlimited firehouse at like bold Sacramento.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, that was a promo done for the club. By two very special guys who are joining me in the studio today. Emmy award winning Paul Robins and Phil Cowen. Welcome. Welcome. Nice to have you here.

Paul Robins: 

Sound effects and everything. Quite a crowd in here.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, well, for a small room, we get a lot of people. Hey, it’s so exciting to have you guys. I know. We’ve known each other for 40 plus years. But we haven’t seen each other in a while. So great to see you.

Phil Cowen: 

I was trying to think on the way over here. I don’t recall the last time I saw you. I can’t remember. Well, there we put it out of our mind. Just forget it was so stinking long ago, I honestly I can’t. I can’t put my finger on when it was well. That’d be 20 years, at least.

Scott Edwards: 

And this is what’s great about this is that and I found in interviewing other people I haven’t worked with in a long time that once you get going it’s like you saw each other a month ago.

Paul Robins: 

I mean, we just say it’s not like you know anything’s really changed.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, I kind of gotten the Jay Leno way. But good to have you guys here. And this podcast. We’re going to go over some of the history of Laughs Unlimited bit really, in this particular case, how it ties into the symbiotic relationship we had with you guys, starting with comedy going into radio and promos like we just heard and will share and then I have some material later on that we’ll share from Paul Robbins. Oh, man, but let’s let’s kick it off the right way you guys met started working together in Santa Rosa. Right?

Paul Robins: 

Yeah, we were both at Santa Rosa Junior College. slightly overlapping there. Yeah, but that. Yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

And you were on separate debate teams, I believe. Yeah.

Paul Robins: 

Yeah, we’re Speech Team geeks. And we were never on the same team. We could go into a lot of details about this. But do you want to talk about the Junior College Speech?

Scott Edwards: 

Don’t just I just want to set the platform because it led you to working together. Sure enough. Yeah. And your writers, your performers. So how did that lead from that? That stage experience of speech? Geeks speech geek? Yeah. into comedy in showing up on the doorstep of Laughs Unlimited.

Phil Cowen: 

A you’ll have to talk to him. And he was the guy that broke the ice at Laughs which is how the rest of us ended up. Yeah, there’s Paul. I’m Phil and I ended up after college working on a Department of Education Project producing educational radio dramas. We liked working together. And so we thought something might happen there and nods to our old buddy Paul Kinney, who was a part of that we were a trio.

Paul Robins: 

While that was going on, I was waiting tables at the Rusty Duck which is no more. And I was and I decided to take a shot at stand up. And so I was probably 22 When I showed up on your doorstep. You were doing open mic nights. There were not a lot of locals giving it a try.

Scott Edwards: 

No, we were we had just opened in August of 1980. And based on the video you and I saw right before we started taping this, you came to try out and started working really early. Yeah. As we were still at the original club in the basement of the Delta Queen restaurant. Absolutely.

Paul Robins: 

And I you know, I had an advantage. There weren’t a lot of local people trying stand up and you were desperate. So I think there was a contest that I won and I ended up getting a week as the opening act. And so yes,

Scott Edwards: 

the Great Comedy Competition might have been in the first Why should we do more fun

Paul Robins: 

since there was nobody else I so I was able to be your opening act, you know, a number of times, and eventually it gave me chances to move up that ladder. So I was doing some stand up, Phil was my buddy, we had worked on this project for the State Department of Education. And then we just wanted to keep working together. And so we say, well, what can we do to make any money? Let’s start doing some radio commercials. You heard a sample of it there a little bit ago. And I said, you know, Scott, probably let us try our hand at Team stand up comedy, if you like, and we put together a show. Yeah, that’s when we started doing the actually called Live Radio Theater.

Scott Edwards: 

So that’s on my list of things to ask about, because I used to love that. And I still have a strong memory of your great lines. You know, a bear would be proud of this.

Phil Cowen: 

Please tell me you don’t have any of that on tape. No, no,

Scott Edwards: 

actually, we don’t have anything Oh, I radio shame.

Paul Robins: 

But yeah, it was a sketch comedy. And we live on the fly had a guy in the back of the room, a producer, if you will play a live sound effects and music as we went along. And there was a lot of fun.

Scott Edwards: 

You know what, that was a really good show. And it was very entertaining. And the audience is like nobody was doing anything like it at the No, in fact, that was kind of a precursor to the one man shows that got more popular later in the 80s and 90s. This was of course, a team effect. But it was somewhere between Stand Up Comedy in a play. We were ahead of our time, exactly as we were in live radio theater was a great description of what you were doing. Because it was a story in effect, but lots of comedy and very entertaining. And then you had the sound effects. And we had a few prop bits and it looked great.

Phil Cowen: 

And it was unique. You know, the phone would ring you’d hear it ring and there’s nothing on stage and you turn your hand into a phone. There we go. And you’re talking on the phone. And and so it was a unique I mean, I’ve never seen anything else like it. Still. Yeah, still have not. And we had a really good time, man. And Paul was right, you let us come down and do it down there. And you know, we did it at AAR. I know one of our very early at Sac State. And we did it there more than once did a couple of private events that I wish we hadn’t done.

Scott Edwards: 

But I didn’t know about though.

Phil Cowen: 

That’s the way private events go. We will then you know, when we were on the radio after that. We were doing what we’re doing every other Tuesday night out at the center site. Yeah, for a while we did that regularly.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, it will. It was a great bit. And it was great. It’s, you know, good for the club, because you want to get funding people, especially local funding people and bring them back so that you get that recognition and name recognition.

Phil Cowen: 

You actually let us headline a few times.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, you know, I did what it pulsate desperate, but I was new to the business to me, you got to keep in mind I was so he didn’t know any better, right? Yes. And in August 1980, I was like 24 years old and really doing this by the seat of my pants. And so it was really a challenge to create what ended up being the experience needed to know what to do and what not to do. And trust me, I made some mistakes. But in your guys’s case, it was a great decision. And it led to a lot of things because during that, I believe that kind of led to wasn’t a KPOP the first radio show.

Paul Robins: 

Yeah, our first radio job. The station manager had seen us at last unlimited. And then it occurred to him somehow, hey, I think some of the commercials we’re playing or once these guys have done and we’re such a dope said we know we were looking for a way to make a living and it had not occurred to us. Hey, I wonder if we could get a job at a radio station. And this guy called wasn’t on our radar screen at all. He called us up and said you want to try to in the morning show. The offered us $1,000 A month each and we said Yeah,

Scott Edwards: 

Well that’s talk about that kernel of luck turning into, because I alluded to earlier you ended up having 15 Plus successful years on radio. You ended up doing a lot of TV you want a couple Emmys, but it all started with Live Radio Theater.

Paul Robins: 

And Scott Edwards gave us our start.

Scott Edwards: 

Yes. And I got nothing for it. But anyway, memories memories. Yes. But that’s a great story, though. Because it was something you weren’t planning as Phil said, yeah, that you were having fun making a little money from me doing the show little, little money, but it turned into a real opportunity with Kpop. Now the first station was KPOP. How long were you there?

Unknown: 

Year and a half.

Phil Cowen: 

Yeah, only about a year and a half.

Paul Robins: 

Then we were in Detroit got fired. We’re only there for six months, 12 weeks, actually on the area 12 weeks, and then then we were in Dallas for a year that fires seven months on the air there and then we hung around For about five months, and then we came back at our friend Paul Kenny stayed in Dallas then and Paul and I came back to Sacramento work very briefly on channel three on “TV Light”.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yes, it was a fun show. And I do have some episodes of TV live from there. They show Jack Gallagher as a host and people like Jay Leno. And Jack. Yeah. Jack got all kinds of people on that show. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And TV Light was kind of a radio version of what you guys ended up doing as a morning show. Radio being tried on TV, which was really new at the time. There was a few morning shows, but they weren’t as loose and music oriented.

Paul Robins: 

Yeah, again ahead of our time. I did what’s funny with it was it was a goofy magazine shows great. Oh, that’s a good way to put it. But yeah, it was a lot of fun. At Jack did a really great job as the host it was all you know, that lasted? What were we only about four weeks. Longer than that. When you and I were on? Yeah, really? Yeah. Why not? Much? I would know, I would have said I would have said three months maybe really? Yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

Wow. So again, a new opportunity coming from comedy taking you in different directions.

Phil Cowen: 

And I think one of the things we learned at that point. And it served us pretty well in the years to come. And I think what is a good lesson for anybody, regardless of what business you’re in, if you do everything that you can, if somebody says hey, can you do that say yeah, he things kind of that more people see you things tend to happen and opportunities will present themselves. Yeah, well, that’s exactly what would be good advice to anybody absolutely want to be available. Just good career advice.

Paul Robins: 

Exactly. And don’t burn bridges. We came back from Dallas and landed the what? We landed the job at channel three and the station manager at the station that would become Why 92 which was our long radio jobs. He called us up and said, Are you interested in doing morning radio again? We said no, thank you. We’re TV guys now. And and you know, maybe maybe you’ve seen our show. A couple of months later, they canceled the show, like, Hey, would you still like to come back and do the radio show. And we went to that radio show. And then eight weeks later, out of the clear blue, we probably shouldn’t even talk about it. We got an offer to this Fox Network show. And we left that station. And then the Fox network show was a disaster. And we call them back and said, Would you like us to come back? The Fox, the fox thing came and went so quickly. They hadn’t replaced this. Yeah,

Scott Edwards: 

it was interesting that you say that you don’t want to burn bridges, because you were able to go back and back and back. And because you never left in a bad way. Yeah. And that’s good advice. For any young person out there in the working world. You always want to absolutely leave on good terms. Before we get too far ahead. I’m going to drop back to KPOP just to bring up a short memory when you guys were on that show, which wasn’t that long. I did get a residual from that. I purchased the KPOP car all Kpop cruiser bright pink. Yeah. And I’m telling you is pink as you can think pink. Yeah, it was a Olds Cutlass 88. Yep. And it was his it was a convertible with white leather tuck and roll. 68 Maybe Yeah, yeah. It had to be a 60 Yeah. And 67 Yeah, and a beautiful old car. And you guys had had it when you were a Kpop and didn’t know what to do with it. And I bought it on the cheap. I thought about that. Yeah. And then I turned it into the laughs mobiel and that car was in every Sacramento parade. Probably for the next five to 10 years. I mean your your St Patrick’s parade or Christmas parade you name it. We would sit in the back and throw candy on.

Paul Robins: 

That’s right because they used to do the Mardi Gras parade every year in Old Sacto I was having a brain fart, Mardi Gras we were parades that car was I wanted a convertible and I didn’t have any money and I persuaded my brother Glenn to buy it and it was white and rust and in desperate need of in everything. And so we got the job of Kpop and I was and I started calling it the Kpop cruiser and then I took some spray paint and I wrote Kpop cruiser down the side of the thing in spray paint and it was such an a bag design. And it was such an embarrassment to the radio station that they traded advertising for the paint job and the new upholstery. So when all is said and done, my brother came out way ahead on the deal because when I sold it to you on the cheap it was still way more than he had invested in it and

Scott Edwards: 

yeah and and I just brought it up because I literally just just sold that car. A few years ago, we kept it even after we sold the club because the kids loved going for rides in it. I always kept it up and running. We did a little we had it all rechromed at one point, we did a few things here and there. \

Paul Robins: 

But it was just a beat what you get for it when you sold it? Oh.

Scott Edwards: 

Sixth Grand. Yeah, bet. Yeah, I did. Okay.

Phil Cowen: 

That’s a smooth looking ride. It really was if you don’t mind pink.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, it was really, really pink. And I you have to be a pretty steadily man to drive around. Here. Yeah. So I just wanted to bring that up. Because I didn’t know if you knew that after it became the laughs cruiser from the Kpop cruiser that we kept it up until fairly recently. I’ll tell my brother got many years of use out of it. And the only reason I finally sold it is Jill, you know, was like, when are you going to get this crap out of the garage. So we can put a real car in there. But it was a great bit of history for the club. In fact, I don’t know if you recall, but that car was featured in the opening of not only our TV series, but also the fox special we did. So there’s still tape of that car being driven around. And it’s it’s a big part of the history of the club. So anyway, I just wanted to share that with you. Because it wouldn’t have happened without you. So before, before we move on to Y92 And your great success there. Let’s listen to one more promo that you guys did, that would be about timewise fairly close. This promo was a few years, several years after the one we played at the beginning of this podcast. So let’s listen to this. It’s a little more updated, but you hear some more of the talent and the comedy genius and the writing of Paul and film. Enjoy.

Paul Robins: 

Reason number 19 Why you should be at Laughs Unlimited. Sacramento’s only all comedy nightclubs. Hey, did you catch Robin Williams on Carson last night? No funny guy. In person though. At laughs unlimited in person. Yeah. So whatever you did, I probably already seen it.

Phil Cowen: 

Well, the night before Pat Paulson and Jay Leno or on Alaska unlimited. We had a few drinks together. Okay, well, like last week they had this guest host named Gary shin. Jerry. Yeah, I suppose you’ve probably seen him.

Paul Robins: 

Yeah. Laughs Unlimited. To come to the holiday. Yeah. We split a patty melt. Yes. Impress your friends and associates come to laughs unlimited and firehouse alley old Sacramento and see the same comics in person that your friends only see on television. laughs unlimited. Sacramentals only all comedy show room call for 465905 for information and reservations. That’s 4465905. That’s good stuff right there.

Scott Edwards: 

Where are you guys? You know, what was great for me is I tapped into a real creative pool with you guys. And Paul Kenny that we could use, I would say, hey, I need a commercial for this. And a lot of radio stations, there’d be some template that they would use or some basic thing. And with Laughs Unlimited. You guys were very creative.

Paul Robins: 

Well, I you know, we obviously wanted the spots to be good to reflect what we hoped people would expect when they went to laughs unlimited, and we wanted to get paid. Yeah. And that was that. Yeah. But I you know, I think the real genius of that spot is that people really got the sense that you had every big name comic in that club.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, that last promo was it really was clever. Yeah. name dropping. Oh, yeah. extraordinare. Yeah. Yeah. Good job, by the way.

Paul Robins: 

Thank you, thank you very much. Well, and then you know, for years, me and on the radio, you would bring whoever your headliner was in?

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I was we’re gonna go into the wind at two years and how that really worked not only to benefit you guys had a nice career going and end up doing it for over 15 years. But for the club Laughs Unlimited. What a great place to showcase because of our history, and you starting in comedy at the original room as my clubs grew and changed in comedy development through the 80s and 90s. I was gonna bring up that we were able to share a lot of great entertainment and who do you stands out as memory for you guys.

Paul Robins: 

You know, it didn’t. It didn’t do any good to impress young people, but to talk to people our age and say, Yeah, you know, there was one week in the 80s. I did a week with Dana Carvey at Laughs Unlimited Well, I did a week with Garry Shandling one time, you know, that’s, it’s super cool to be able to say that.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yeah. I mean, I my if I wanted to show off. I go. Yeah, I was sitting in a Jacuzzi. When Dana Carvey got the call from Saturday Night Live.

Phil Cowen: 

action this morning on this silly political talk show that I do that one of the highlights of my career. We were doing our listenerthon event. Yep. out that there was there wasn’t Frank curling was Mike Doherty Chevrolet at a time and he was at the club that week you brought Soupy Sales out. Soupy Sales hit us in the face with a pie

Scott Edwards: 

yeah that is that I got hit as well. One of the best things ever great memory. I know a lot of the audience will go Soupy Sales. But he was a hallmark of Stand Up Comedy back in the day. And we brought him in, in his senior years in much like Pat Paulson, and in a few others, it was a great opportunity to interact with the real core. The old guard. Yeah, where comedy came from. Yeah, but that’s great that you mentioned Soupy Sales recently.

Phil Cowen: 

Oh, yeah. I just was talking about this morning. And I said to Cindy that night. I said, I can’t tell you what a thrill that is, man, you hit me in the face with a pie. He said, that’s a pretty distinguished list. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. All the Rat Pack guys. And he just started ripping off this list of huge celebrities of like the 50s and 60s, he had them all on Facebook. Were on the list.

Scott Edwards: 

There you go. And I’m sure he’s mentioning now guys, this so

Paul Robins: 

you know, somebody that I remember quite vividly, just because I liked him a lot. And he used to come on the show quite a bit. And I bring it up because I wonder. I understand he’s still working. But I don’t know what kind of stand up he’s doing now. What in the world is Bobby Slayton talking about when he goes on stage now,

Scott Edwards: 

he is still considered the Bulldog of common forms. Mostly in Vegas these days. He’s still edgy. Oh, man, still angry, still angry, still edgy. And he’s had. He’s had some ups and downs in his life. And I think that that has taken that edginess and that anger and update a little bit. He’s still funny as heck. And I saw a set from him recently, and was just blown away. I mean, he’s such a professional. But we had a chance to work with some of the best. I’m gonna sidetrack just a little and say that because uh, you guys, I got to work with Huey Lewis, at a couple of events. And that was a real thrill for me. Well, that

Paul Robins: 

was the other thing is that we always had somebody from the club that the Christmas specials every year. We did that. What nine of those 10 Yeah, something like that. Every Christmas we did that. Might have been 12. Yeah. Might have been. Yeah. And then we had all kinds of comments down there. I you know, Bruce Bohm, I think did the Christmas special more than once. And for those who may not know the names, because they were not the top tier of TV stand up comics, but you know, we got to pick the people we love to come there. And you know, do people know the names Milt Abel, and Steve Bruner and guys like that know who could not have been, it’s not possible to be funnier and more lovable and charming on stage.

Scott Edwards: 

I was just listening to a set while I was getting ready for this, there was a somewhat famous time where Bob Worley was Y92 with you guys. And he did his Elvis impression. The almost dead Elvis, and it’s just, you know, it was those kind of moments that made not only laughs unlimited more in the ear of Sacramento, but was also a benefit to Y92 Like I mentioned earlier, it was a real symbiotic relationship and I think both grew from what started is you being an open mic er,

Paul Robins: 

and and separate from good for our show and good for your business. I just I you know, I’m glad I knew Dan, what’s his name for stand up? Dad’s a Dan. Dan, St. Paul and St. Yeah, did a Christmas special. It’s so funny. And I still get Christmas cards from from Don freezin. Right.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, Don’s a great guy just talked to him the other day unbelievably funny,

Phil Cowen: 

and they’re not. They’re not the names everybody knows. But if you ever get a chance to see those guys, unbelievably well, when

Scott Edwards: 

you hear that when you get a chance to listen to your own podcast, this one in the intro, it says interviews of the famous and the not so famous. And I did that because that’s us. You guys having me even on TV. You’re the I haven’t mentioned it but you’re the answer guys famous on the Discovery where but there’s a lot of comedy that came through the club that never made it because only the you know, one one half percent make it to stardom, and we were lucky to have those. Yep. You know, Jay Leno and carboot. We’ve already mentioned a few Sagat. And but there was a whole strong pool of talent that people wouldn’t recognize their name that were extremely funny. Oh,

Phil Cowen: 

there were a lot of headliners in during that time that nobody would know now. I’d say quick story. Yeah, I don’t know if you would remember. I know Paul does. We actually and it was through the radio station. wound up getting on America’s Funniest people. Oh, we ran out to the Arden Fair Mall that silly bit doing some lawyer jokes and we go down there and we’re on the show. And of course Dave cool. Yeah, he was the co host and Bruce Baum was on there doing one season Yeah, bits. And we end up winning this thing.

Scott Edwards: 

I don’t think I know that.

Paul Robins: 

We split the 10 Grand we win the 10 Grand i Wait You know one of the three finalists don’t look Get that we’re a finalists oh look at that we won well afterward hazing you leave that stage and you go to one across the way and they they’ve got it set up there with catering and the crews gonna you know eat in between tapings and I tell everybody who was on the show come on over and and you can eat with the staff. Okay great. So we go over there we walk in the door here we just won that thing. And Bruce and Dave are coming over there going you guys I can’t believe you won this thing. All these other people are looking at us going oh, fix Yeah, they know the House did look bad. Embarrassing.

Scott Edwards: 

It’s all that’s got to be a moment side

Phil Cowen: 

note doing the radio show one time. Sagat and cool. Yay. came in together. Right? We’re really supposed to have Bob brought a rather cool yeah. And for those who don’t know, because, you know, everybody thinks of him has you know, that was that was not a sitcom. I particularly enjoyed full house, you have no idea how funny both those guys were. And cool, yay, brilliant impressions. And for some reason. This Dave cool. Yay, decided Tony Curtis. He was gonna do Tony Curtis and not break character. And so whole time, he just keeps doing Tony Curtis. And they kept saying Bert Convy is a wonderful dance. Never forget, I don’t know why, Oh, why that was the line beyond me, but all morning.

Scott Edwards: 

And you know, and I’m so glad that you’re telling these stories, because we do have a great library of history, audio and visual. The experiences but there was so much that you couldn’t capture that were just moments. Yeah. And things like this, that you couldn’t plan in the comics

Unknown: 

backstage in the green room playing Missile Command while somebody else is out on stage. They were selected here. Here’s one of the best jokes I’ve ever heard. And I’m sure it was spontaneous. And nobody else heard it backstage in the green room. And I don’t know why you had this. It was like it was it was this thick as to dictionaries. And it was something medical dictionary. I don’t know why it was back there. But it was as medical. Bruce Baum Picks it up it goes, Oh, I love books like this. I go through and circle the mistakes. He just couldn’t help but tell jokes, right?

Scott Edwards: 

They’re entertaining. Comics are. Some people say it’s because their underlying insecurity but that when they’re around other comics they’re on? Yeah, no, it’s rare that the comics can sit together and not want to compete in a friendly way and beyond and try to make the other guy laugh. I mean, quick side story. I was sitting at the original room. This is like got to be 1981. And it happened to be sagen Cooley A, and we’re sitting at a table after the show, having a drink and just be guessing. And I see Dave and Bob passing something under the table and they’re not including me. So I’m feeling a little left out. And I finally go Hey, what the heck’s going on? And they start laughing. And they pull up this note, and Bob Saget, who you know, Mr. Clean from Full House actually had a pretty racy. Oh, yeah. Had folded up in a piece of paper, some lint, and it wrote in on there, here’s some of my pubic hair. And we’re sharing it with Dave cool, yay. And they were passing back and forth with little notes, just to crack each other up. I mean, it was strictly between them. I wasn’t even included. I’m sitting there. And it’s interesting to people who made it on TV and you didn’t know them from their stand up days.

Paul Robins: 

A great example is Harry Anderson. I did a week with Harry Anderson it laughs on live it I forgot about it. For those who don’t know, he was a comic magician, right? Well, he was lovable judge Harry on TV High Court in the comedy clubs. He was the most insulting acerbic. He was vicious. He was vicious and it was great. Yeah, very funny. But you know and like you said sag. It was He was not doing full house when he was Bobby. Bobby is a lot of salty language. One of my favorite comic stories getting back to Bobby Slayton after we had done this morning show on 182 for like 19 years, I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to go do this talk show and so we decided we were going to part ways he was going to keep doing the FM show is going to live in Asia. I did I left him and the morning that the Sacramento Bee publishes this big feature about the way we’re going to be the very big full page on the front of the style so it’s a big deal. Big photo of us. Bobby is appearing on the FM show across the hall that morning. Well at one point at sitting in the lobby outside waiting to get in the building. Paul goes to walk over and gets him out of the lunchroom or somebody sees Bobby she then goes Oh, hey, what’s going on? I’m gonna let Jin hopes the door Bobby holds up the paper. I would say that I won’t tell you the language Bobby use but he holds up the picture. He goes it’s about time you guys broke up

Scott Edwards: 

all about timing, isn’t it?

Paul Robins: 

He was coming to town and we did a PHONER with them. He was in Reno Tahoe he was he was somewhere else. And Bobby Slayton right But he’s talking not very loud. But his daughter was in the room. He said, What are you talking like? My kid is asleep over there. They was awake half the night, I basically gave him a bunch of Benadryl to make her go to sleep. Natasha sleeping on the other side.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, man.That’s funny. But he’s a funny guy. And we were really lucky to have him at the club many, many times. Now, during your wine. 92 years, you were very creative. And you did several things. There was Bowling for Breakfast. The Christmas shows you already alluded to Carphone dating, you had some real fun things that were all comedy based. Was there anything that stood out that really made it memorable? are all just ways to interact with your fans?

Phil Cowen: 

Ah, yeah, I mean, you know, I think you were just always kind of looking to keep it fresh and do something fun. But But in, in a very real sense, if you’re being completely mercenary about it, and it will it was another opportunity to interact with fans. Yes. Always.

Scott Edwards: 

Always. And that you have you did make it fun. I mean, I went to many of those events. And there was never like a boring, I’ve been to lots of radio promos with other stations and even your stations. But the ones that you seem to do always seem to have a little more energy, a little bit more opportunity for fun. And that’s a credit to your guy’s sense of humor and interaction with your fans.

Paul Robins: 

We did what we only do two of those listener phones. We did two of them. Yeah. It was like a telethon. But we were getting people to pledge listeners with a goal of a million new listeners, you know, in an area where there weren’t a million people. It make no mistake, the Paul and Phil Show was super dumb. But we worked super hard at it. And so it’s great. Yeah. So that I mean, there was a lot of being that dumb isn’t easy. No, no, not it’s not as easy as it looks. No, no. You know, the cliffhanger week, the week where we pledged all week long, there was going to be a cliffhanger because it was Jay who shot Jr. That was all the all the shows. We’re doing big cliffhangers. And we said, man, we got to have a cliffhanger. We promise a big cliffhanger on Friday. We Steve Cisco used to come in and play the accordion on our show. And we we had Dina the accountant come in and shoot him.

Phil Cowen: 

The end of the show that was the cliffhanger and the cliffhanger we promised on Monday, we’ll resolve the cliffhanger. That was pretty good stuff.

Scott Edwards: 

So that’s creative twist of what was already going on society. And you made it work for the show. And I’m sure nobody thinks that heard you anyway, that it was easy. It had to be hard work. Because there’s a real easy way to compare it because at around the same time, there were some really stupid morning radio shows, you know, in the morning Zoo, and some of these guys that just do poop jokes and have a lot of crazy sound effects, which I don’t think they write or plan anything at all. I think they’re just going for the moment and be high energy crazy. You guys had.

Paul Robins: 

I mean, I don’t know if it was daily. But you had an idea of what you were doing all the time. No, we wrote stuff in advance. And we never left on a Tuesday without knowing what we were going to do on a Wednesday. We all must at least at least once an hour. We knew we were doing some there was one anchor thing every hour and the christmas special. And I I should know we might have done 12 of them. Every year. We did a live show in front of a studio. I’m not studio audience. We ended up at the convention center. They were huge over the years. And we had 1600 people in there watching the show. Yeah. And and you know, that was super fun. You brought comics down and we had, you know named Huey Lewis in the news saying and Richard Marx came down and saying and those were John Tesh on tech, John. Oh, yes. Who would know he washilarious, very down to earth and very funny. Yeah,

Phil Cowen: 

I remember we when we sent him across the street to go, you know, you can post take your picture with me, you know, $5 to some charity. He’s other ticket pictures. Guys that just had his picture taken. So walking away with our British he’s going hey, do you pay your five bucks? Five bucks. Come on. He took a picture. That was a challenge. Somebody in our audience we gave them money for any for we even 25 bucks for every person they could get to pay $5 to get their picture taken with John Tesh and Tesla’s game.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, he was a he was really well, before we get too far away from name dropping I wanted to share that one of the special moments and I still have the AirCheck from it for me and Bob was Boz Scaggs came in and did Low Down just him and his guitar. Yeah, it that was magical.

Paul Robins: 

Were you there that morning? Yeah. Oh, yeah. I still have that in the art but I still have it. It’s one of the few things I have. Yeah, he had a new album out and he was out promoting it, which was uncharacteristic called Sierra. Yeah. And he and he and another guy they were two playing guitars and Boz Scaggs had not played his own guitar sounds for that and yeah, for guys our age because you know, the syllabus gag album in college. And he, he sat there and did some new songs and he did Low Down. That was really fun. I didn’t know you guys were in a room that Yeah, and

Scott Edwards: 

I wouldn’t leave without getting an air check of it or you know, tape of it. I still have it today. And Bob and I were talking about it and pulled it out. There’s a few years back, but I mean, it’s still something that we still remember very fondly. Yeah. And it’s kind of like the soupy sales story. We had a lot of experiences with a lot of famous people, a lot of special people. Graham Chapman worked the club literally a few weeks before he passed away. Yeah, and that was just We’re such Monty Python fans, that was just a moment for us. But those are moments that have all built up to a wonderful history. And I think that this podcast, hopefully will share that if people stick to it and listen, so stay out there.

Phil Cowen: 

Well, you know what the price is right.

Scott Edwards: 

But it was, we were thankful to you guys, Paul and Phil on why 92 Because we were able to not only share the club and promote the club, and then interact with the events that you did like the christmas special. But we also it was a huge it ties in from promotion to marketing. And I don’t know if remember, I would tout myself as pretty good at marketing. I made a deal with a radio station, that if they if I paid for a $10,000 billboard and put your names on it. They gave me 20,000 of airtime. And I could do it on K FBK which normally I couldn’t afford. I don’t remember that. You remember the billboard with listen to Paul and Phil and why 92 was up for months. That full size the paints? Yeah, I did. Yeah. So it the reason I brought it up was that you take all these different aspects of guests visiting to you guys talking about the club, do you showing up at the club, to you know, billboards and going to all these special events. I go back to the term it was a very symbiotic everybody got something out of it. It was a win win win. And everybody had fun.

Paul Robins: 

Oh, yeah. No, they were they were good days. One more thing about Y92. I don’t know where else you’re going with this. But asking about it. What do I remember? One of the best broadcast we ever did was the show we did from Sacramento, Kentucky. Oh, yeah. We did. You know, a lot of we looked around we found out there’s three Sacramento is in the country. I did not know where the third one was. But there Sacramento, Kentucky. It was like population 207. Wow. And we call them and we said we’re coming and we got set up to broadcast from there. We got we made t we had T shirts for everybody in town.

Scott Edwards: 

Good you could

Phil Cowen: 

the whole time we did the show from Molly’s diner and the whole town came out. Well in the T shirts that we brought didn’t we asked listeners Hey, yeah, if you’ve got a business, you got a t shirt as long as it says Sacramento. All right, Senator. So we had Sacramento Fire Department. We were giving it to the fire department guys their budget T shirts that said Sacramento somewhere. That’s right. And we’re we’re interviewing these people from Kentucky that were it was so interesting. They had a little concern, you know, are you guys coming to town to make fun of us? And we weren’t. Oh, and we went there and they were charming. And we got their town’s history and they brought out the sisters that were 90 years old whose grandpa was the guy on the Gold Rush who came to Sacramento, California and didn’t get rich but came back and told the town how great it was. And they changed. It was like Green River, Kentucky. to Sacramento.

Scott Edwards: 

Ha that’s funny…

Phil Cowen: 

the only thing they had going on in that town is it was the site of a Civil War reenactment. Yeah. Oh, what’s that? That’s probably all civil war. reenactments have to be dead.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, yeah. And when that and that stuff only happened pretty much in the South. I mean, you don’t see a lot of reenactments in California.

Paul Robins: 

So they were so fun. They were gracious and it was just a really love the attention. Yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s great. Well, good job. Well, what I was gonna lead to next Is that why 92? did leave you to becoming the “Answer Guys” on the Discovery Channel where you want a couple Emmys. Congratulations. Thank you. And it’s not comedy based. So we don’t want to share. We don’t need to go into too much detail. But just tell us how that came about and what your your the experience was for you.

Paul Robins: 

It actually began as a bit we were producing on as a regular bit on TV light that they called Answers Inc. People could send in any bizarre no matter how trivial the question, we would come up with an answer. And after that show went off the air and we’ve been doing radio for a while. We ended up doing some stuff on evening magazine for a while at KPI X and San Francisco. Yeah. The guy who had taken that show over as the producer said to So I like you guys on camera I think you do a great job. I need a hook I need a reason to have you on every week. And so then we decided to build upon the the answers ink feature and become the answer guys bought a couple of blue lab coats and people believe what you say when and

Phil Cowen: 

where it is. You can still see those on YouTube,

Unknown: 

Kind’a, there’s not many there’s not there two or three right before the dawn of YouTube. But we were doing that for evening magazine. It was on the the National Real. And then that show ended and the guy who hosted the show ended up hosting a show on the Discovery Channel and discovery said, Good show, but you need something punchy at the end. And he said I know the answer, guys. And so we did that show on the Discovery Channel for five years. Yeah, and the last Wow, two or three of which we hosted because Richard left to go to work at CNET. He’d had enough. Yeah. And they said, you know, we just in the interest of continuity. You guys want to host the show. Take off the lab coats. We did that. That’s when we won the Emmy, Scott. That was the me business. Super, super fun job though. That was really good. Yeah. And we were doing the radio. We were doing Y92 At that time, and then, you know, two to two Emmys each. Back to back here.

Scott Edwards: 

Wow, everybody. That’s for the total of four people from Rhode Island.

Phil Cowen: 

That’s for me, those were wild times because they would they would once we were hosting the show they would book on different weekends, one of us would take Friday off from the radio show and leave on Thursday and fly down. I flew to St. Louis. And on Friday shot a thing on the technology for the fire department in St. Louis. And then a couple of miles away was Bigfoot, the monster car truck and I got to go drive Bigfoot and oh, cool, you know, and then they flew me to somewhere else. And you’d have this crazy busy three day weekend.

Paul Robins: 

And then they edit it all together and make it look like you’re together and doing

Phil Cowen: 

well. And when we were doing evening magazine, we would routinely it’s like once a week, or every other week, we would finish our show, drive to San Francisco, shoot and edit two stories, and then drive back and a lot of times we would just sleep on the couch outside the studio and go Geez do the program the next morning.

Scott Edwards: 

So you guys are close. Yeah, I spent a lot of time together.

Paul Robins: 

Actually, one of my highlights from doing that show is when I went to West Palm Beach, there was some big high tech yacht that we were featuring and all the features on this yacht, one of the partners in the boat and he was there having dinner that night. I met Wayne I Zynga that sounds familiar, but it was the billionaire that who started Blockbuster Video and late and then I think he was auto auto nation. Yeah, yeah. And then of course, you know, he owned the Marlins and he owned the dolphins for a while. interesting guy.

Phil Cowen: 

Well, you never know who you’re gonna meet. Here.

Paul Robins: 

Here’s a here’s a synergy thing. Phil is doing a Discovery Channel story in Illinois. And he’s having breakfast. Oh, he sees at a nearby table. Former Vice President Dan Quayle having breakfast. And the Celebrity Golf Tour thing was was in the den Marley’s in there. There’s a whole bunch of athletes and other people hanging around. Dan Quayle stood out and he’s watching Dan Quayle. Dan Quayle bites the corner off of his toast, puts it down and doesn’t need anymore and leaves the table. What does Phil do? Do those? Yeah, you got that? Often we make a big deal about it on the radio show. And then we had it in get encased in a large Lucite block. We went on a tour, we went on a tour of local malls where people would come and see the vice presidential chose Oh, and we did Arden Fair and Sunrise. And you know, they had a little velvet rope setup and a guard and we would show up wearing white gloves carrying the thing and put it on the pedestal and anyone who can let the crowd loved it. Anyone who came to see it got a little card that said I saw the toast with a picture of it. That is in my office. He just got he just got it back last year. What do you think about that story? What was it? We’re sitting in the hotel that morning? Yeah, me and the camera crew and the producer. You haven’t breakfast? And our camera operator Deidre, I can’t think of her last name. She looked at me, because Wow, that guy sitting over there really looks a lot like Dan Quayle looked at for my breakfast I went, That’s because that’s Dan Quayle. No, it isn’t. I said. Yeah, it is. I said, I’m sure he’s here golfing with the rest of these guys.

Scott Edwards: 

And she was going to argue with you. Yeah, yeah. No,

Paul Robins: 

couldn’t be Phil knows the vice president when he sees one.

Scott Edwards: 

Exactly. Right. Well, we’ve covered a lot of different bases. Let’s bring it all back home. I’m going to end the podcast with some music by the way, Paul, you’re featured the song the runs. Oh, you’re not you’re not gonna play that. No, no, I’m not playing it on this one. Thank it’s already out there. It’s called stand up comedy, The musical

Phil Cowen: 

don’t listen, nobody needs to go listen to that.

Scott Edwards: 

You’re sharing space with Sagat singing and Danny Johnston and Yakov Smirnoff. Man Did you know a lot of people don’t know these people did music and so I put all the people that don’t normally do music together. Justin was quite towel. Yeah, he was the Blackbird song. Oh, Jimmy Stewart. The best. Yeah, that’s the best. So that’s what that was the colonel that led to the whole episode. But anyway, I wanted to share that. But this particular episode, you’re probably most famous in Northern California for singing a tribute to Sacramento to the theme of New York, New York. So we’re gonna end the show with that that’s a mistake. But before we do, let’s bring it all back full circle. You guys. Got to start because you were an open mic. Er, that led to the two of you doing comedy, which ended up leading to radio, where in this cosmos of your very successful careers, would you feel laughs unlimited in your experiences? LED you, you know, helped you get to all the success you’ve had?

Paul Robins: 

He’s really pitching for us to suck up to him at this. No,

Scott Edwards: 

not me. No, sorry. No, no, not that. I don’t mean, I’m so sorry. Everybody listening, this is not about me. What I’m trying to do is bring it back to comedy and how I think, professionally done stand up comedy clean. In your guys’s case, it was always claimed entertainment is a true entertainment value and has a purpose. There’s a lot of people, especially in today’s I’m not, I can’t say I’m very proud of the comedy I’ve heard in the last decade or more, I think that it’s not quite. And that’s why you don’t see it as much on TV. And you don’t see as many sitcoms from standard comics, because I think that the field has changed. And I think the 80s and the 90s. And I hate to use the term because it sounds old school, but it was kind of the golden age of stand up. And you guys, at least for laughs unlimited were a huge part of that. So thank you. And I wasn’t trying to ask for a compliment. But I wanted to see if there was a because you’re both very smart guys, if there’s something that you could say that comedy, maybe it goes back to your speeches, speech competitions, how that brought you to where you are today.

Paul Robins: 

I will say, you know, if it had it not been for doing stand up at Laughs Unlimited, I wouldn’t have gotten that first radio job. Which would lead to the next thing which led to the next thing. I mean, I that I have led a charmed life. And had it not been for doing comedy laughs I have no idea what the path would have been. We even

Scott Edwards: 

aside from Laughs but the writing that you guys did in those early days and then continue to do into radio has its basis in comedy.

Paul Robins: 

Oh, yeah. Man, and especially early on in our radio career. I mean, we were scripting bits. Oh, yeah. Yeah, the cable days did a lot less of that as we got older, but, and talking about the value of clean comedy, and I’m seldom serious about the poll and Phil Show, there was, you know, we were together for almost 18 years doing the Paul and Phil show on wine 92. And for 18 years in this station, one of the make money, we’re our target audience was 25 to 54 year old females. Here’s two guys that are kind of likable, and they’re married and they got kids and they talk about um, let’s hire them for 18 years in Sacramento, there were two guys who it was very evident if you listen to very long love their wives and loved their kids. And, and, and, and it was a funny show, but almost never at someone else’s expense. And you know what? That was a good thing. That was a good thing and a community. Well had I mean, uh, yeah, I’m sure there are people who will go, oh, no, I remember somebody who was expensive with that. May have been in people’s expense. But from time to time, one of the things I was proud of is I don’t I’m trying to recall the time we ever did anything on the air that I thought some mom in the car is going to go. Oh, geez. I wish the kids hadn’t heard that. Yeah, yeah. And we didn’t want to do a show that our wives would have to go up. Turn that down. I got the kids in the car. There are kids.

Scott Edwards: 

Right, right. And you’re taking pride in the quality of the the effort you put out in your writing. It all comes from that talent that you each had to bring ideas together in a humorous way and share them without offending. Yeah, which very few people can do. And when we mentioned a couple of mill tables, Steve Bruner, but there’s not too many. Bob Marley, there’s there. I don’t know there’s not a whole lot that you can get across the lane. I know he’s not on the list, but you can relate to your audience. And I think that your core experience starting from speeches to those early days at the clubs lead you to a lot of the successes and who you guys are. And that’s what I was trying to get. I think that the core of your success is writers in as performers goes back to your standards that were set up in those early days. And that’s all I was trying to do. I want an I was trying to put a big bow on the episode I think you did. Because it is such a pleasure to have you guys on the show. We have such a long history and to be able to share with our listeners important aspects of that history and the connection with you guys comedically. But even as a successful entrepreneur, from a marketing and promotion standpoint, a lot of my success through the club was through relationships like with you guys, and thank you. No, I mean,

Phil Cowen: 

it was we had a lot of fun, mutually beneficial. Yeah, we had a lot of fun and not only with people that you would bring in, that’d be on the show or anytime we were down at the club, or you know, when we work together on the event stuff we did. Yeah, we’ll be sales hit me in the face with good memories of last Olympics. My 38 year old daughter was down there at you know, one year old. Yeah. How old your daughter 38?

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, well, my 36 year old son used to ride his tricycle out on the stage. People like Jay Leno and Dana Carvey, were out there. So anyway, so we’re going to take this serious, multi shared appreciation moment and totally crash it with some humor by Paul Robbins mistake. We’re going into a song that you perform. I have at least five versions dated comedy, laughs in the park live on stage for the album, all these different versions of the song

Phil Cowen: 

you were allowed to do this five times. I’m telling you, this is a mistake.

Scott Edwards: 

Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you to Paul and Phil. Thanks, guys. Keep listening to the podcast. Sit back and enjoy a little musical history. A song, a special tribute to our hometown of Sacramento. Thanks for listening. Bye.

Paul Robins: 

I don’t blame you for groaning there. I don’t I don’t mean to give Sacramento a hard time is a great town. This is a it’s a great place to live great place to be a comedian. Sacramento, I’m a novelty, right? There aren’t very many of us and I need to go to a big town like New York or LA or even San Francisco. Everybody’s a comedian. And people have said Paul, you know, enjoy your show. But if you really want to compete with the big guys from the big cities, you need to close your show with a big musical finale. And think about it. It’s true Steve Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Goldsboro. But if you if you think about it, they’ve all got songs they can sing about their town. And what really powerful and moving and glamorous song has been written about Sacramento. This is the State Capitol, right? Hey, we got the majestic Capitol dome downtown the powerful American in Sacramento rivers is the river city right? Hey, we got Cal Expo historic old tech trucks with dodge and you know anywhere you go in this town I don’t care where you go you go to downtown you look around on any street corner and you find yourself gazing into the happy smiling faces I’m sleeping ya know start smelling the booze I am near rainbow why no is downtown are part of it. SACTO SACTO start watching the new KCRA, i gonna meet Stan and Sacto Sacto I wake up down on K Street with all the drugs and find I’m part of a gang. One of the punks get ready to screw. I am on fourth and T I just might catch some strange disease in Old Sacto till I can make it there I’ll never change my underwear to you. Sacto Sacto. Oh, we’re not talking about Chico here. No Sac to. I want to wake up in a city and watch TV see Betty, Creighton and Stan Schuthers with semi trucks believe it our furniture and these boring town blues if I can make it there Oh can make it anywhere, Sacto Sacto?

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