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Deconstructing Woody Allen

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Woody Allen is talking about his unique blend of anxiety and humour in this 1967 CBC Television interview. In a museum, in his apartment, in a comedy club and walking the streets of his beloved New York City, cameras follow the up-and-coming comedian. Allen discusses how he got his start in the industry, the process he goes through in writing a comic monologue, and how he calms his angst before his shows.
• Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in the Bronx, N.Y.
• At the age of 16, Konigsberg began using the name Woody Allen when he started selling jokes to newspaper gossip columnists. Reportedly, the first joke he ever sold was, "I am at two with nature."
• Allen called himself Woody after his favourite clarinetist Woody Herman.

• Allen dropped out of New York University and forged a steady career as a stand-up comedian and as a writer for shows including The Sid Caesar Show and Candid Camera.
• In 1965, the film What's New Pussycat, for which Allen wrote the screenplay debuted. Prior to this interview, he directed What's Up Tiger Lily? in which he took a Japanese action film and inserted often nonsensical English dubbing, and he appeared in Casino Royale, a James Bond farce.

• In the 1970s and 1980s, Allen enjoyed critical and popular successes with his films Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters.
Annie Hall won Oscars in the Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director categories. Hannah and Her Sisters also won for Best Actor in a supporting role, Best Actress in a supporting role, with Best Screenplay.

• Throughout the 1990s, Allen's films were critically attacked and were not box office financial successes. In 2005, however, he wrote and directed the well-received Match Point for which he received an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay.

• Allen's love life has made continued to make headlines throughout his career. In 1956, Allen married his longtime girlfriend Harlene Rosen. The couple later divorced in 1961 and in 1966 he married actress Louise Lasser. Lasser was featured in several of Allen's films before their 1969 divorce.

• Allen was later in a relationship with actress Mia Farrow during the 1980's. The couple adopted two children, Dylan and Moses, and also had one biological son Satchel. In 1992, Allen and Farrow had an bitter split when it was revealed that he had an affair with Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. Allen and Previn married in 1997 and later adopted two children.

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band play every Monday night at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Allen plays clarinet.
Medium: Television
Program: The Way It Is
Broadcast Date: Nov. 19, 1967
Guest(s): Woody Allen
Host: Warren Davis
Interviewer: John Saywell
Duration: 11:27

Last updated: June 20, 2014

Page consulted on June 20, 2014

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