Serious Comedy Talk

Jeff Altman on Behind the Bits!

Altman began his career in 1974 at the Comedy Store.

In 1976, came his first appearance on television, on Cos, a Bill Cosby children's variety show . A year later he joined Starland Vocal Band Show, where he was alongside celebrities such as David Letterman and Mark Russell.[4] In 1978 he appeared as sleazy record promoter Lennie Richfield in the movie American Hot Wax. Altman also had a starring role as the host of the short-lived NBC variety show Pink Lady and Jeff in 1980, which TV Guide has ranked No. 35 on its "50 Worst TV Shows of All Time" list.[5] Altman appeared on the first episode of An Evening at the Improv.

Later in the decade, he became the in-house comedian on Solid Gold,[4] where his characters included Al Punker, fast-talking proprietor of "Al Punker's Music Barn," the "music vampire Count Downula," and the ex-boxer Leonard Moon, the last of whom would state "I don't have the brains of a ice cube" and claim, "I am the Solid Gold music critic. Tonight, my subject is music."

Altman has directed many sitcoms. In the mid-1980s, he was the spokesman for Arby's restaurants, Tostitos corn chips, and Valvoline motor oil,[6] and by 1990 he was a Budweiser spokesman.[7]

In 1982, he appeared in a movie, Send in the Clowns.[8]

In 1989, Altman released his one and only comedy record album, titled "I'll Flip You Like A Cheese Omelette" (Mercury 842 070-1) and the same year had appeared in three Hollywood clubs: the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Store and the Irvine Improvisation.[9] He also has been the (uncredited) host of the defensive driving course available through Blockbuster Video.

In the 1990s, Altman was on the NBC series Nurses during its first season (1991–1992).[10] He was written out as the show was re-worked for its second season.

A regular feature of his stand-up act has typically included a comical impression of his father, and Altman continued to find his Nixon impression humorous well into the 1980s. In 1991 he was a host of The Sunday Comics, but later was replaced by Lenny Clarke.[11] On February 22, 1991, Altman had created his own show called Jeff Altman's Scrap Book, where he continued to parody his "Dad" as Uncle Carl which he started back in early 1980s.[12]

In 2017, Jeff Altman played a fundraiser, at the Chicago branch of the Laugh Factory, for McCormac College of Lake View, Chicago.[13]