Check out Drew Friedman's fantastic portrait of Brother Theodore. It's available in a limited edition of 15 signed and numbered prints.
Born in Germany and a survivor of the Nazi death camp Dachau, Theodore Isidore Gottlieb (1906–2001) emigrated to the U.S. and attracted a following in the bohemian haunts of Greenwich Village during the 1950s, presenting what he called "stand-up tragedy." He referred to himself as a "controversial figure," in that "People either hate me or they despise me."
Theodore's humor was rarely gentle. "What this country needs is a dictator," he asserted. "I feel the time is right, and the place congenial, and I am ready. I will be strict, but just. Heads will roll, and corpses will swing from every lamppost."
By turns philosophical, absurd, misanthropic, and bizarre, he became a frequent TV visitor, racking up countless appearances as a guest of Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Throughout his long, eventful life, he acted (including a bit part in an Orson Welles film), made records, had a long-running cabaret show, did radio voiceovers, and was the subject of a documentary, To My Great Chagrin: The Unbelievable Story of Brother Theodore. The biopic, which debuted at the Museum of Modern Art, included tributes from such Theodore fans as Cavett, Eric Bogosian, Tom Schiller, Harlan Ellison, Joe Dante, and Woody Allen/
The video is a must-watch:
One evening in 1966, when a spectacularly rancorous little weirdo named BROTHER THEODORE confronted Jerry Lewis on the Merv Griffin show, Jerry wasn't having it. He went full Buddy Love, sneering and flicking ashes in Theodore's hair, to the roaring approval of Merv's audience. The host noted that, had Theodore only tried to win them over, they might appreciate him just as they did Jerry — to which a wild-eyed Theodore shouted in his thick German accent: "I don't want their LOVE! I only want their LAUGHS!" That was certainly one difference between the two.