What’s it like to be the opening act for legendary comedy stars? Singer/songwriter/musician/comedian Dennis Blair talks about that and much more in a new autobiography Touring with Legends: A comic’s tale of opening for Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, George Carlin, Tom Jones and many more...
The title of this book perfectly describes its content. Blair has had a life-long career “mostly” as an opening act for other well-known comedians. He talks about his headliners, not so much as an amateur psychologist, but as a colleague and admirer. Blair has nice words to say about many folks in the entertainment world but is forthright about the times when he was gently told that his services were no longer needed.
Fortunately for Blair, as one partnership ended, another began, and Blair has been working almost non-stop since age 19. His niche as an impressionist who can make fun of current musical tastes and who can write clever musical parodies gave him a niche other comedians admired. He was able (most nights) to put audiences in a good mood, ready to hear the headliner. He also can put the words “screenwriter” and “solo performer” in his resume.
Does Blair dish the dirt in this book? Not really. He just chronicles his working life from its beginning as a teenage guitarist whose audience wasn’t listening in New York, to the death of Goerge Carlin with whom he worked for 18 years. Blair’s writing, naturally, includes humor, but his story is more the factual recounting of events in his career. The humor just makes the read more enjoyable.
Fortunately, Blair and hi wife, Peg (who is a constant presence in the book) are now living in Las Vegas where Blair continues to perform.
A talented singer and guitarist Blair can be seen (when available) playing with Kenny Davidsen, Kelly Clinton and others. In between, Blair appears at local (and some not-so-local) comedy venues. Blair’s career as a musician, serious songwriter and singer (he has his own CDs) will apparently be left for another book. For readers who may be unfamiliar with Blair’s work, this three-minute video will give you a taste.