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Kliph Nesteroff is a best-selling author regarded for his vast knowledge of show business. Vice Magazine has called Nesteroff "The Human Encyclopedia of Comedy,"[1] and Los Angeles Magazine profiled him as "The King of Comedy Lore."[2] The New York Times has deemed some of his theories "provocative"[3] while Vanity Fair calls his work "essential."[4] He is the consulting producer of the CNN series The History of Comedy,[5] which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.[6] He is the host of the Viceland television series Funny How from executive producer Spike Jonze.[7] He was named by LA Weekly on their Best of LA list in 2016.[8]

Kliph Nesteroff
Kliph Nesteroff onstage with Mel Brooks in Los Angeles.png
Kliph Nesteroff with Mel Brooks, April 2014

After eight years as a stand-up comedian,[2] Nesteroff became a frequent contributor to WFMU[9] and a national, on-air contributor for CBC Radio One.[10][circular reference] For several years he moderated Classic Television Showbiz,[11] a website devoted to classic show business and comedians.[12][13] The A.V. Club referred to Nesteroff as their "favorite pop culture historian."[14] He is a regular on NPR affiliates in Dallas,[15] Las Vegas,[16] New York,[17] Milwaukee,[18] and Los Angeles.[19] NPR San Francisco did a mini-documentary on Nesteroff featuring the praise of comedians Dana Gould, Marc Maron, and film critic Leonard Maltin.[20]' He has appeared on WTF with Marc Maron three times. Maron is the executive producer of Nesteroff's podcast Classic Showbiz.[21]


The ComediansEdit

Grove Press released Nesteroff's first book The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy (ISBN 0802190863) on November 3, 2015 to uniformly positive reviews. It was selected as a book of the year by several papers including LA Weekly,[22] The Los Angeles Times and the National Post.[23] Merrill Markoe wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "I thought I knew a lot about the history of American comedy. But this book located gaps in my knowledge I never knew were there and filled them with jaw-dropping anecdotes that made my eyes spin in different directions. For comedy completists and comedians alike, this book is a real treat."[24] The Washington Post said of Nesteroff, "He writes with insider perception but never seems to be either whitewashing or trashing any of this outrageous cast. Like a biblical epic, The Comedians seems to have a cast of thousands. One act barely somersaults offstage before Nesteroff leads on the next. The anecdotes are memorable and often hilarious ... With his encyclopedic knowledge, talent for vivid anecdotes and tireless gusto, he drives this busload of rowdy clowns into the 21st century."[25] The Onion's AV Club stated, "Nesteroff is intent on giving the beautiful losers of comedy their due. The Comedians [is] an astonishingly assured and compulsively readable exploration of an impossibly vast topic."[26] The New York Times book review said, "The way he traces ... the evolution of comedy is fascinating ... Through his elegiac attention, these forgotten comedians become almost romantic figures, the stars of a secret history of laughter."[27]

Live Shows and PodcastsEdit

Jeff Goldblum, Kliph Nesteroff, and Illeana Douglas attend a book event in Hollywood.

Nesteroff has appeared at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal,[28][29] the New York Comedy Festival,[30] the Los Angeles Cinefamily,[31] Chautauqua Institution,[32] SF Sketchfest,[33] Caroline's on Broadway,[34] Drawn and Quarterly,[35] Mark Twain House,[36] the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival,[37] Upright Citizens Brigade Theater,[38][39][40] and Harvard.[41] He has hosted live shows in which he has interviewed Mel Brooks,[42] Peter Farrelly,[43] Joel Grey, Lewis Black,[44] Robert Klein, Larry Wilmore,[44]Buck Henry,[45] Robert Morse,[46] George Schlatter,[47] Anthony Atamanuik,[48] Judah Friedlander,[48] Rip Taylor,[49]Baratunde Thurston,[48] Lizz Winstead,[50] Fred Willard,[51] Alan Zweibel,[52] and Robert Smigel with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.[53] Nesteroff addressed the Mensa International Annual General Meeting in July 2016.[54] The Hollywood Reporter announced in May 2016 that Nesteroff was curating George Carlin's personal archive.[55] He became a semi-regular on the CNN Newsroom in Spring 2017.[56][57]

Nesteroff occasionally tours with a one-man show about the history of comedy.[58] One critic described his Toronto engagement as "heroin for comedy nerds ... Nesteroff shared dozens of unforgettable stand-up-related tales from the early 19th century to now. The depth of his knowledge about the history of American comedy combined with his off-the-cuff and funny yet eloquent stage presence made this entire show utterly engrossing."[59]

Nesteroff has appeared on a number of podcasts including WTF with Marc Maron three times,[60][61][62] and three appearances on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast.[63][64][65] He is a frequent presence on the CBC Radio programs Day 6,[66][67] Q,[68][69][70] and The Current,[71] and NPR programs Air Talk with Larry Mantle,[72] The Leonard Lopate Show,[73] Press Play,[74] and Morning Edition.[75][76] Additionally he has appeared on the programs of Adam Carolla,[77] Illeana Douglas,[78] Dana Gould,[79][80] Greg Fitzsimmons,[81] Moshe Kasher,[82],[83] Longform,[84] Tom Scharpling,[85][86] and Doug Stanhope.[87]


  1. ^ "Modern Comedians Complaining About the 'PC Police' Are Cry-Babies - VICE - United States". 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Kliph Nesteroff Is the King of Comedy Lore - Los Angeles Magazine". 4 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Lenny Bruce Shattered Taboos, but Was He Funny?". The New York Times. 10 August 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Time Magazine Top Blogs of 2011". 2011-06-06.
  10. ^ Go (radio)
  11. ^ Nesteroff, Kliph (22 August 2016). "The Frances Langford Special with guests Don Ameche, Johnny Mathis and the Three Stooges (1960)".
  12. ^ "Hee Haw vs. Soul Train". The A.V. Club.
  13. ^ "They Might Be Guest Editors". Magnet.
  14. ^ "Craziness, friendliness or insight: What do we want from a celebrity interview?". The A.V. Club.
  15. ^ "Laughs, American Style - KERA".
  16. ^ "Remembering Pioneering Comedian Jack Carter".
  17. ^ "The Comedic Mark of the Last Century".
  18. ^ "Kliph Nesteroff".
  19. ^ Radio, Southern California Public (5 November 2015). "New book on comedy zooms in on the funny people behind the jokes".
  20. ^ "New Book Covers History of American Comedy, Including Its Darker Side - KQED".
  21. ^
  22. ^ Weekly, LA (8 December 2015). "The Best Books of 2015 by L.A. Authors".
  23. ^ "The NP99: The best books of the year, vol. 2 (74-50)".
  24. ^ Markoe, Merrill (20 November 2015). "A Man's Man's Man's Man's World" – via Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ Sims, Michael (30 November 2015). "'The Comedians': An antic history of the people who make us laugh" – via
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Acts to catch at this year's NY Comedy Festival".
  32. ^
  33. ^ "SF Sketchfest 2016: Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher:".
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^,%20Thieves,%20Scoundrels,%20and%20the%20History%20of%20American%20Comedy_%20with%20author%20Kliph%20Nesteroff.pdf
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Hound Tall with Moshe Kasher".
  39. ^ Kliph Nesteroff [@ClassicShowbiz] (3 June 2016). "I'm the guest this Sunday for Asssscat at UCB on Sunset. 7pm. Come on down" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Kliph Nesteroff's Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery, Kliph Nesteroff and Mel Brooks  Cinefamily /..."
  43. ^ "Trevor Noah, Lewis Black, and Brian Regan Headline 2016 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown, NY - National Comedy Center".
  44. ^ a b "Kliph Nesteroff's Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery, a few more images from the show I hosted the other..."
  45. ^ "Kliph Nesteroff's Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery, Some people share pictures of their children. I..."
  46. ^ Bret. "Classic Showbiz presents Robert Morse in "That's Life!" — featuring Goldie Hawn, Liza Minnelli, Rodney Dangerfield and More".
  47. ^ "TV TUESDAYS: An Evening With George Schlatter (trailer)".
  48. ^ a b c
  49. ^
  50. ^ "National Comedy Center Acquires the Archives of Comedian George Carlin - National Comedy Center".
  51. ^ Comedy, Katla McGlynn Senior; Editor, Viral; Post, The Huffington (20 January 2015). "Oops: Fred Willard Turned Down The Leading Role In 'Airplane!'".
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ "Mensa Annual Gathering 2017".
  55. ^ "Comedians' Holograms to Headline National Museum of Comedy".
  56. ^
  57. ^ CNN Newsroom [@CNNnewsroom] (1 March 2017). ".@ClassicShowbiz: "Hopefully comedy can just balance us and make us happy and distract us" #HistoryofComedy" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  58. ^
  59. ^ "Kliph Nesteroff Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, November 14".
  60. ^ ClassicShowbiz (3 January 2013). "Kliph Nesteroff - WTF with Marc Maron" – via YouTube.
  61. ^ "Episode 490 - Alan Bursky".
  62. ^ "Episode 659 - Gloria Steinem / Kliph Nesteroff".
  63. ^ "Kliph Nesteroff".
  64. ^ "Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast".
  65. ^
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  78. ^
  79. ^ "It's here! The Dana Gould Hour podcast holiday… - Dana Gould".
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^
  83. ^ Pesca, Mike (10 December 2015). "How Stand-Up Got Its Name" – via Slate.
  84. ^ "Longform Podcast #172: Kliph Nesteroff · Longform".
  85. ^
  86. ^ "The Best Show with Tom Scharpling : NO DUDEVEMBER! MARY HOULIHAN! KLIPH NESTEROFF! @BESTSHOW!".
  87. ^

External linksEdit