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Five Minutes, Mr. Byner!
n March 1964, John Byner was performing at the Village Vanguard nightclub in Greenwich Village. He was just starting a career as an impressionist-comedian, and he was happy to be performing on the famous Vanguard stage. One night a man named Jack Babb came into the club, caught John’s act, and spoke to him after his set. He said he worked for Ed Sullivan, the king of television entertainment, and offered John the opportunity to perform his act for “the old man” in a few days during the dress rehearsal for Sunday night’s live show. If Sullivan liked him, Babb said, they would book him for the show sometime in the future. Naturally, John jumped at the chance. The addition went well. Babb showed up in John’s dressing room a few minutes after the rehearsal with a smile on his face. “The old man likes you,” he said. “You go on tonight.” Surprise!
John’s successful Ed Sullivan Show appearance was instrumental in launching a long career in nightclubs, television, movies and Broadway. His unique ability to mimic and create voices opened up a world of possibilities to impersonate dozens of famous performers, and to work consistently creating cartoon voices, such as the popular “The Ant and the Aardvark” series.
In this new book, John details his childhood on Long Island, service in the United States Navy, and journey from performing in small nightclubs to having his own television variety show, guest starring on sitcoms, and performing in numerous feature films.
This is the story of the fun parts of John’s life, and the fun parts only. Written just for laughs.
Written with John Byner.
Forward by Nathan Lane.