5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
At 78 years old, master mimic Rich Little, who has been dubbed the man of 1,000 voices, is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down. The comedian and now author still performs 5 nights a week at the Tropicana in Vegas. (Not only did I get to speak with him, but a few other celebrities I could only dream of interviewing.)
SD: What made now the right time to put out your memoir?
RL: Well, at my age, I don’t know how much time I am going to be around, so I thought I better do it soon.
SD: So many fascinating celebrity stories, in your book. Did you keep a diary over the years to recall them?
RL: I kept a dairy, although not a very detailed one. I’ve had it for years. I didn’t want to write a biography because they are boring. I wanted my book to be humorous. Over the years, some of my encounters with celebrities have been very funny and I thought it would make for a funny read.
SD: Your life is a collection of many people, what was it like reliving it while writing your book?
RL: The process was fun, but you can only write down what you remember. I was able to reach out to a few people still around to help, but it’s like looking at an accident, everyone remembers something different. I would say about 80% of the book is true. Since most of the people I wrote about are deceased, it’s my word against theirs.
SD: Do you have a most requested impression?
RL: I still get a lot of requests for Johnny Carson, Nixon, and Jimmy Stewart. Unfortunately, the younger generations don’t know who any of the people are that I’m impersonating. The other night at my show, I met a young guy who asked me why I kept changing my voice.
SD: What was it like for you to share the stage with so many of your idols when you were performing for the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts?
RL: That was always tough to do because I was standing in front of some of the biggest stars of all time: Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Lucille Ball and Jack Benny. It could really throw you if you let it. I had to really concentrate on my act and not let them intimidate me. They were always great fun and some of my fondest memories.