The other day I came across a wonderful radio interview from probably 15 years ago (maybe longer) that was with Joan Rivers and my friend Treva Silverman. (Also known to me and a few others as TLT -- The Lovely Treva.) The history between Treva and Joan goes back a long way -- not showbiz "a long way," but really long, like in this case, back to college. Treva today is a writer, and they worked together on-and-off over the years, but eventually Treva carved out her own very successful writing career. She most famously worked on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (winning to Emmy Awards for it), but also wrote for The Monkees, the wildly-admired (deservedly so) though unsuccessful He & She that starred Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, That Girl and many others series, and wrote several TV movies. And she plays a mean honky tonk piano. (Okay, it's not honky tonk, I just like saying that, since early in her career she did get work playing the piano, and it's how I choose to characterize it...)
What stands out in the interview is how clear it is that Treva and Joan do go back that far. And it shows here. You can hear Joan let Treva take over stories about their history together – and that Treva has no hesitancies in doing so. Which may not seem like much, but Treva is generally a very quiet, deeply polite person. Though to succeed in TV comedy, you need to have a tough side.
By the way, the stories they tell are a joy.
There's one thing in the interview that I really disagreed with, and that's when Joan Rivers talks about how there aren’t that many Jewish comics – and then, joyously, Treva actually contradicts her and politely, but pointedly explains why she's wrong...with a wonderful line.
And I have one quibble with the interview. Though only one. It's that in the introduction, the hosts don’t give Treva's credits and, most especially, don’t reference The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Not just to give Treva her due, but as hosts, knowing those credit would help inform the interview for the audience. They wouldn’t just think, “Oh, she’s a ‘successful comedy writer,’ nice.” But “Oh!!! She wrote for The Mary Tyler Moore Show! I looooved that. And The Monkees. Wow. And she won two Emmy Awards.” It’s weird that they didn't do that.
But still, it's a delightful, fun, funny, and insightful conversation.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor