Tim Reid is an actor, producer, and director who has
created and starred in many movies and television shows, including
WKRP in Cincinnati, in which he played the overnight disc
jockey Venus Flytrap, and Frank's Place.
Dreesenis a stand-up comedian who
has appeared scores of times on The Tonight Show, Late
Show with David Letterman, and other television programs. He
served for fourteen years as Frank Sinatra's opening act.
Rapoporthas been a sports columnist
for the Chicago Sun-Times and a sports commentator for
National Public Radio's Weekend Edition. His books include
Betty Garrett and Other Songs: A Life on Stage and Screen and
The Immortal Bobby: Bobby Jones and the Golden Age of
The Amazing True Story of
the First Black and White Comedy Team in the History of Show Business.
And the Last.
As the heady promise of the 1960s sagged under the weight of
widespread violence, rioting, and racial unrest, two young men--one
black and one white--took to stages across the nation to help
Americans confront their racial divide: by laughing at it.
Tim and Tom tells the story of that pioneering duo,
Part showbiz survival 101, part civil rights testimony, the story of
Tim and Tom is a moving chronicle of the courage, conviction and
commitment it took to wade through floods of bigotry and bias with
see Smiley appearance)
the first interracial comedy team in the history of show business--and
the last. Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen polished their act in the
nightclubs of Chicago, then took it on the road, not only in the
North, but in the still-simmering South as well, developing routines
that even today remain surprisingly frank--and remarkably funny--about
race. Most nights, the shock of seeing an integrated comedy team
quickly dissipated in uproarious laughter, but on some occasions the
audience's confusion and discomfort led to racist
heckling, threats, and even violence.
A beautiful and beautifully told story of two men of character in a
tough and unforgiving business who broke barriers with laughter.
Though Tim and Tom perpetually seemed on the verge
of making it big throughout their five years together, they grudgingly
came to realize that they were ahead of their time: America was not
yet ready to laugh at its own failed promise.
Eventually, the grind of the road took its toll, as bitter arguments
led to an acrimonious breakup. But the underlying bond of friendship
Reid and Dreesen had forged with each groundbreaking joke has endured
for decades, while their solo careers delivered the success that had
eluded them as a team. By turns revealing, shocking, and riotously
funny, Tim and Tom unearths a largely forgotten chapter in the history