The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.
September 9th, 2014
Episode 2 of 179 episodes
Most comedians have just a few memorable bits; Howard Kremer has just one. Good thing he managed to build a comedy empire on it. A few years ago, Kremer had an epiphany while on the beach in Los Angeles: there was nothing more important in life than making the most of the summer -- which Kremer calls “summah” in honor of his native New Jersey. “There it is! That’s the crux of the debate!” he said. If you have to choose between work and adult responsibilities and enjoying a summer day, “I’m going to choose summah, and I’m going to tell people about it!” But how does a joke turn into a brand? Kremer spun his revelation into a few funny minutes of comedy (being bitten by a shark in the ocean is better than not having been to the ocean, he thinks). That turned into merchandise, summer songs (three albums worth), and Summahfest, a party in Los Angeles with water slides, food trucks, and live music. "You always want to do something that catches the public’s imagination. It’s hard with stand-up to convey raw emotion and still be funny, but with ‘Have a Summah’ it’s a meaningful thing.” If the mileage Kremer has taken out of the bit doesn’t make it clear, he’s serious about summer. “It goes so fast, and people don’t start it on time,” he laments. “The government has moved in and chopped it up — school starts now on August 15th. You have to remind yourself” to enjoy life while you have it. Actually, Kremer’s taken it upon himself to remind you. He was recently at the beach with a friend who had forgotten the pleasures of summer. “This is great,” the friend reflected, “I should have been doing this all summer.” Incredulous, Kremer responded, “If only there was a guy that reminded everybody to have a summah!”