Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Comedian Jack Rothman Retains MAYO Communications

Distinguished Retired UCLA Professor-Turned-
Comedian To Compete In 2007 Comedy Contests


Oldest-Up-And-Coming Comedian Jack Rothman Brings Comedy
to Grassroots Organizations-Civic and Service Groups

Los Angeles, CAMany people in their 80’s usually spend their birthday sitting down to a glass of hot milk. But if you’re Jack Rothman, you’ve just celebrated your 80th birthday on your feet, winning a stand-up comedy contest at the famous Ice House club in Pasadena. He took first place in the Uncle Clyde competition, downing nine other contenders, all of them young enough to be his grandchildren. This victory gains him a place in the year-end Grand Finals in November in Seattle.

Realizing that he is older than most comics, Rothman muses, "Somebody has to replace George Burns, who went on doing great stand-up until he was 100 years old. Me, I'm only 80, so I'm looking out at a long career." Rothman has hired MAYO Communications, an LA-based national publicity firm to get the word out that life begins at 80 and when you retire, anyone can help improve community life.

For Rothman, life has not been totally a laughing matter. He is a professor emeritus at UCLA, a researcher, and an author of 25 books. Rothman is the leading scholar, internationally, in his field of community change strategy. But for him, comedy has been a real change and it has been a gift. In fact, on his 75th birthday, he received a certificate for a comedy class from his children.

“I guess they figured if I’m going to be telling jokes, I might as well learn how to do it better,” he explained. Rothman has learned well, making appearances at the Hollywood Improv, the Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, Pasadena’s Ice House, and at pubs and coffee houses all over Southern California.

Rothman’s dramatic shift from an academic icon to a comedy star has raised eyebrows. He takes it philosophically. He says that both professors and comics have a lot in common. They are both standing up there in front facing a skeptical crowd. But there is also a difference. The comic worries that his crowd won’t start laughing. The professor worries that his crowd won’t stop laughing.

Recently profiled in Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine two years before that, Rothman wants to help volunteers across America rediscover the joy in their jobs and organizations. He believes laughter is the right medicine.

“I want to bring comedy to grassroots organizations--civic and service groups,” said Rothman. “My aim is to enliven their meetings and activities and to help them with their needs, like membership retention, adding spirit to board meeting, volunteer recognition nights, and the like.” He should know, because Rothman’s teaching and writing dealt with improving community life--community organizing.

But wait, there’s more. Jack Rothman just finished directing his first film—with ten other student directors--in a UCLA Extension course, the Craft of Directing. The film, “Leaning Curves,” is a 25-minute short portraying college life. Instructor Richard Friedman says that it is the best of the student films he supervised.

Rothman has signed up to join the crew of an upcoming feature Friedman is directing, with a shift of subject matter to the serial murder genre. Rothman is pondering over whether he will be able to write in some comedy dialogue. Since he retired as a UCLA Professor, Rothman has indulged his life-long interest in film, authoring a well-reviewed book, Hollywood in Wide Angle: How Directors View Filmmaking.

When casting calls, it is definitely not curtains, but lights, action and camera for Jack Rothman.

To keep up with Rothman’s activities, schedules and appearances visit MAYO Communications visit www.MayoCommunications.com or www.MayoPR.com.

Editors note: For a copy of the book, images and radio/TV media interviews please contact George McQuade or Aida Mayo at MAYO Communications, Los Angeles, 818-340-5300 or 818-618-9229.]

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