I have been a fan of all three of the gentlemen still standing since I first came to San Francisco a long, long time ago. And so it was no surprise to me that my interview with them on September 28, 2015 for the doc in which they star, 3 STILL STANDING, would be smart and that I would laugh. A lot. The smartest thing that I could do was to give the mic over to them and let them riff about life as a stand-up then and now, as well as classic material, and, of course, the plethora of phobias that is Larry “Bubbles” Brown. I was also not surprised that Will Durst knew that the photo on my business card is that of Theda Bara. On the other hand, I should not have been surprised that he knew that name was an anagram of Arab Death.
I was, as you can imagine, afire with merriment about that.
From why they prefer living in San Francisco over Los Angeles, to what it’s like to have strangers want to make a movie about them, we covered a LOT of territory, including Johnny Steele’s object lesson in the stress of living in La La Land, what Bubbles may or may not have on his IPod, and whether or not the fault lines of the Bay Area affect the audience for stand-up.
3 STILL STANDING is their documentary that dares to ask, and answer, the question, what gets more laughs, Scooby Doo or Sartre. These three have been an integral part of the Bay Area comedy scene since the stand-up boom of the 1980s, and refused to knuckle under the comedy recession that hit courtesy of cable television and, putatively, the shortening of the attention span of the club-going public. From the beginnings making family members shoot milk out their noses at Thanksgiving dinner, to re-thinking their approach to the business with pop-up venues, we learn the histories of these three, how they got started in the business, their heyday in The City, and what it is about doing comedy that won’t let them quit. The film was directed by Robert Campos and Donna LoCicero. Brown speaks first, then Steele, and then Durst.