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Milton Berle

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In the thread "Gary in the 90s", I brought up Gary's performance in "Lenny".  It has been written that it was modeled after Berle.

It reminded me of the one time I saw Milton live.  It was 1983 and for some reason he was booked to entertain a function at a local (Portland Oregon) Catholic University.   It may have been a fund-raiser for a new theatrical venue for the college ("Yes, We Have No Auditorium"...) because it took place in a old gym with folding chairs and bleachers, and Milton mentioned the shoddiness several times, in sort of a good/bad natured Don Rickles way.    On the stage with him were seated many priests and nuns, but Berle did not vary his decidedly "blue" material, really inappropriate and quite disrespectful and not particularly funny.  One drawn-out story/joke had some guy talking about his "bird" which I could only assume was Catskill comic slang for erection.  Never heard it before or since.  The "joke" , such as it was, was that the guy was talking about an actual bird and the other person thought he was referring to his "member".  "I put my bird on my shoulder"  "You can put your "bird" on your shoulder???" --indicative of the low-grade humor level of his whole act.  Milton at 75 was still sharp but he obviously hadn't updated his stand-up act from his 40s nightclub days.  The response was polite but everyone looked a bit embarrassed and I'm sure whoever booked him was demoted to latrine duty! At the very least, Berle didn't make reference to the size of his own, which has made it into print way too many TMI-times. 

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