The Committee: Watts Translator 1965

John and Mel

John Brent and Mel Stewart. Photo by Fred Ross.

A while ago Alan Myerson lent us some reel to reel tapes and audio cassettes for use in our documentary project. WIth the help of the Bay Area Video Coalition, we digitized a number of reel to reel recordings from 1965-1967. We’ve found many gems, including recordings of workshops with Del Close, live shows, live sets, and rehearsal recordings.

One piece of material was particularly relevant in a year that was marked by a summer of uprisings against systems of white supremacy. We’re proud to present you The Committee from December 1965, looking back on the Watts uprisings from the previous summer. With John Brent, Mel Stewart, Jessica Myerson, and Scott Beach – and music by Ellsworth Milburn and an introduction by Garry Goodrow – we give you: The Committee: Watts Translator 1965.

We hope this brings you a smile or two.

Have a safe and healthy holiday season.

Sam Shaw and Jamie Wright


Chris Pray.


Chris Pray died this week [obit.]. He started his improv career studying with The Committee and continued their legacy with groups like The Pitschel Players (pictured here, Chris is in the center) and The National Theatre of the Deranged. Like Garry Goodrow, Chris was a master of improvised poetry. Rest in peace, sir!

Picture of Chris and the Pitschel Players by Jerry Wainwright.

More on 836 Montgomery.


The Committee’s second theater at 836 Montgomery had its own parking lot. The theater had a modular design that was innovative at the time. Notable productions included Fool’s Play, MacBird!, America Hurrah! And Big Time Buck White. “The Orange Theater” began in 1967 as a second playground for The Committee’s restless actors. That idea lasted a year or so, then it devolved into a rental house and an albatross.

John Brent’s “Bibleland”

Before he joined The Committee, John Brent was poetry director at The Gaslight in Greenwich Village (alongside future Committee player Hugh Romney aka Wavy Gravy). Brent’s 1960 broadside “Bibleland”, which arrived at our doorstep this week, is exceptional piece of beat satire. And dig the packaging! And here’s the man himself reading the poem onstage at The Gaslight, from the 1961 film Greenwich Village Story. Portrait by Jerry Wainwright.

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Good times.


We had a great turnout at our show and tell on Friday. In addition to the Wainwright & Cooke photos on the wall, we graced the PianoFight wall with The Creditors, our current work sample, clips from A Session with The Committee and The Flip Wilson Show, Allaudin Mathieu home movie excerpts, and the super rare anti-smoking PSA Too Tough to Care! Thanks to Committee friends and family old & new for joining us! We look forward to more events in 2019.

Committee Doc Trunk Show in San Francisco, November 30th.

Committee Invite 2018 Nov 30 - FINAL2

On Friday November 30th, we’re presenting a show and tell of choice material from our project The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy in San Francisco. The Committee Doc Trunk Show will include a display of photos and poster art by Jerry Wainwright & Howard Hesseman and John Byrne Cooke and a slide show and silent film roll featuring favorite finds from our multi-year deep dive into The Committee, their comedy, and their influence.

This is a casual “happy hour”-style event for supporters of our doc and friends of The Committee, and if you are in the Bay Area, we hope you can come by. The event takes place in the bar at PianoFight, our favorite independent theater and bar megaplex. PianoFight has a full dinner menu and an evening of performances (we recommend Fuck Tinder if you want to make a night of it). Max Chanowitz, Jazz Banshee will be ticking the ivories all night long. See you there or see you soon!

Committee Doc Trunk Show
With Sam Shaw and Jamie Wright
Friday Nov 30th
PianoFight, 144 Taylor, San Francisco