Woody Allen says he is considering a return to standup comedy, four decades after he gave up the nightclub circuit and launched a celebrated filmmaking career.
The idea came when he watched legendary comic Mort Sahl at New York’s famous Cafe Carlyle last month, he told trade journal Variety, in an interview to mark the release of his latest movie, “Blue Jasmine.”
“Mort Sahl is the guy who inspired me to go on stage for the first time in my life, and when I saw him the other night, I had that feeling again of, ‘I can do this’,” he said, adding that he looked up recordings of some of Sahl’s old routines.
“I thought, ‘Gee, it would be nice to get up there and do that again’,” added the 77-year-old — while stressing that live comedy is in some ways a lot tougher than the gentle humor of his movies.
Standup comedy is very different from the subtle humor of his movies.
“It’s a lot of work … You have to put together an hour of laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh. You can’t dawdle,” he said.
“In a film script, if there’s a laugh here and there, but people interacting in a meaningful way, it’s good. But on stage, you come out and you’ve got to get a laugh, and then another and another.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Allen started out selling one-liners at the age of 15 before going on the comedy circuit. He didn’t make his big-screen directing debut until his early 30s, with “What’s New, Tiger Lily?” in 1966.
Over the next two decades he made some of his most celebrated movies including “Annie Hall” in 1977, “Manhattan” in 1979 and “Hannah and her Sisters” in 1986.
He has a famously unrelenting schedule of making a movie a year, more or less.
After a prolonged period when critics said he had lost his touch, he returned to critical — and commercial — success in the last decade, with 2011’s “Midnight in Paris” turning out to be his biggest box office hit ever.
“Blue Jasmine,” starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin, is due for release in the United States on July 26.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]