cover image Still Laughing: A Life in Comedy

Still Laughing: A Life in Comedy

George Schlatter. Unnamed, $28 (250p) ISBN 978-1-951213-79-4

Television producer Schlatter recounts his Hollywood career in this spellbinding memoir. Schlatter got his start managing nightclubs and casinos in Las Vegas throughout the 1950s, and while working with superstars including Frank Sinatra and Mae West made for lively workweeks, being employed by mobsters was not great for his personal safety (“As you have figured, I did not end up in Lake Mead,” he jokes). Leveraging his Vegas connections, Schlatter landed more above-the-board work in television, and here recounts endless hours dealing with fragile celebrity egos, clashing with “uninformed, inexperienced, insecure” studio executives, and—most notably—becoming the executive producer of the hit NBC sketch comedy show Laugh-In. Whether he’s getting body-painted nipples past NBC censors, watching Lily Tomlin rise to superstardom, or improvising a song to help book Sonny and Cher, Schlatter’s anecdotes from his time at Laugh-In are a treasure trove of unfiltered gossip. There are more poignant reminiscences, too, many of them reserved for Schlatter’s good friend Sinatra—he describes delivering the singer’s eulogy as “the most difficult moment of my life.” Boosted by its garrulous tone, this glitzy account of a bygone Hollywood era is a must for pop culture enthusiasts. (July)