In 2015, an "old-school" stand-up comedian is someone who was working comedy clubs during the boom years of the 1980s. But before that time, being a stand-up usually meant working nightclubs, opening for singers and hopefully stringing together a bunch of TV appearances.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Tom Dreesen was a perfect example of that comedic style. He began comedy as part of a comedy duo, performing with Tim Reid (WKRP) as Tim & Tom. They were the first biracial comedy duo and as you might expect in that time period, the fact that they were very funny wasn't enough to make them a success. They broke up in the mid-1970s and while Reid focused on acting, Dreesen honed his craft as a solo act. He made dozens of appearances on THE TONIGHT SHOW, toured as Frank Sinatra's opening act for 14 years and was a regular in Las Vegas. He was the one of the last comics standing in a part of the business that was already disappearing by the 1980s.
Dreesen continues to perform, most recently performing in a one-man show entitled “An Evening of Laughter & Stories of Sinatra." He's a comic who has endless stories to tell and apparently he's started putting them on video.
In the clip below, he discusses hecklers and remembers a couple of his more unusual encounters. It's a great conversation and if you're interested in stand-up comedy, Dreesen is an articulate and funny example of the best of that era. Hopefully, he'll do more of these videos.