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American Comedy in Black & White
by Betty Jo Tucker

Back in the tumultuous 1960s, actor Tim Reid and comedian Tom Dreesen began to use their talents as entertainers to help people deal with the serious problems of that chaotic time. Their new book, Tim & Tom:  An American Comedy in Black and White, chronicles their fascinating experiences -- both positive and negative -- while entertaining and educating audiences as America’s first interracial comedy team.

Written with the help of Ron Rapoport, An American Comedy pulls no punches. “Because things were so polarized, it effected what people thought about us as much as the jokes we were telling,” says Dreesen. What I realized was those who wanted us to succeed didn’t see color while those who didn’t want us to succeed saw nothing but color.”

“But even when the audiences showed they were willing to accept us, the industry wasn’t,” Reid recalls. “That was very hard to get used to.”  

Reid -- who now produces and directs projects for his own company -- has starred in many movies (including Trade, Dead Bang, On the One, and Say a Little Prayer) and television shows, but he’s perhaps known best for his role as the overnight disc jockey Venus Flytrap in WKRP in Cincinnati. Dreesen, a stand-up comic, has appeared on film in Man on the Moon and Spaceballs as well as on TV’s The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman.  For fourteen years, he served as Frank Sinatra’s opening act.

On Tuesday, October 21 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Reid and Dreesen will drop by BlogTalkRadio’s “Movie Addict Headquarters” to talk about their book with Betty Jo Tucker, James Colt Harrison and Nikki Starr.

During the live show, listeners are invited to call in and to participate in a chat. The call-in number is 646-478-5668. An archived segment will also be available.

Listen to Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen by clicking here  on or after October 21.

(Photo: Cover of Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White, published by The University of Chicago Press.)

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