Comedians: Chopped Liver

The former Irwin Kniberg proudly took his mother for a ride in his new Rolls-Royce, and waited for her first impression. "Irwin, don't be insulted," she said finally. "But it's a real old-fashioned car."

Irwin was not insulted; he was delighted to put up with the putdown. Unimpressible Jewish mothers—and surly children, complaining wives, urban sprawl and the 20th century—have been his bread and butter ever since he changed his name to Alan King and became, successively, a big-time comic, author, actor, producer and all-round impresario.

Today Ed Sullivan pays King more than $10,000—or...

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