Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kirk Douglas's Son

Rich Shydner & Mark Schiff, eds., I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics (NY: Crown Publishers, 2006), p. 158.


Steven Alan Green

The late Eric Douglas -- Kirk's son -- is onstage at Jongleurs, London's biggest comedy club, a place where office parties and hen nights go.

Eric's telling jokes, but not getting laughs. He's pacing and starting to sweat. Finally, some bloke in the crowd yells out, "Come on, mate, tell us a joke!" Douglas fires back with some aggressive put-down. Others join in, chanting, "Tell us a joke!" Forced back on his hind legs, Douglas gets very aggressive. "Do you know who I am?! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!"

"No, who are you?" shouts a heckler, in an uninterested tone.

Douglas snaps back, "I'm Kirk Douglas's son! I'm Kirk Douglas's son! THAT'S who I am!"

Suddenly a lone bloke in the back row stands up and says very solemnly, "I'm Kirk Douglas's son."

Then another audience member stands up, puts his hand over his heart, and says, "I'm Kirk Douglas's son!"

Soon, hundreds of audience members all stand up, hands on hearts, solemnly repeating, "I'm Kirk Douglas's son!"

The Times [London, UK]
23 January 2010

[Book review]

On the Spartacus Road: A Spectacular Journey through Ancient Italy by Peter Stothard

An unthinkable rebellion — how the slaves rose up

Natalie Haynes

Spartacus is a figure so embedded into our culture that, even now, he can command a group of disparate people to rise up in rebellion. Kirk Douglas had a son, the little-remembered Eric Douglas, who was an actor and stand-up comedian. He once came over to the UK to do some gigs and inadvertently created one of British comedy’s finest legends. Eric wasn’t having a great gig at a London club; he was going down the pan. His opening line, I seem to remember, focused on the fact that he lacked the cleft in his chin possessed by both his father and brother. The audience was not in the least interested. Their indifference eventually overwhelmed him and he finally shouted: “Do you know who I am? I’m Kirk Douglas’s son!” The room looked on in silence, then someone in the audience stood up and said: “No, I’m Kirk Douglas’s son.” He was swiftly followed by several more. Within seconds, the entire audience was on their feet, all claiming to be Kirk Douglas’s son, in a pitch-perfect parody of the scene in Spartacus. That, by anyone’s standards, is a tough gig. [...]