Arts & Entertainment

Local producer screens doc about the most unfamous-famous comedian of all time

PARK CITY, Utah — Conan O’Brien, David Letterman, Steve Martin—anyone remotely interested in comedy knows these names. But what about Gary Mule Deer? “Show Business Is My Life, But Can’t Prove It” is a film about Gary Mule Deer, known and loved by many household names but often unheard of by the greater public. Park City Film hosts film producer and Parkite Heather Wilk and director G.B. Shannon to present the documentary with a question and answer session on August 26 at 7 p.m. at Jim Santy Auditorium.

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“Have you ever heard of that comedian with crazy hair who always has a rubber chicken? Probably not, but his story is one you definitely want to hear.”

At 83 years old, he still performs over 100 shows a year.

Left to right: Gary Mule Deer, G.B. Shannon, and Heather Wilke at the premiere's red carpet.
Left to right: Gary Mule Deer, G.B. Shannon, and Heather Wilk at the premiere’s red carpet.

“He has quite a career,” Wilk said. “We framed [the film] as a guy doing what he loves for over 60 years and making a living. He’s one of the longest-running stand-up comics in the world, if not the longest.”

Shannon ran into Mule Deer at an event, and as a long-time fan, he had the idea to create the documentary.

“You’re my favorite comedian, I forgot all about you.”

Mule Deer was Steve Martin’s roommate for a while. In his book, “Born Standing Up,” he tells the story of how, in a writers-block pinch, he asked to use one of Mule Deer’s jokes. Mule Deer obliged and Martin kept his job.

Alice Cooper with Gary Mule Deer’s signature rubber chicken.

Amongst his comedy friends and admirers is a somewhat unlikely fan, musician Alice Cooper, who also appears in the film alongside Leno, O’Brien, Letterman, and others.

“Gary built a lot of great relationships,” she said. “When we made the calls [to stars], it was easy to get yeses. I think that makes the film more intriguing, especially if you haven’t heard of him.”

For documentary and comedy lovers that can’t make the Park City Film screening, “Show Business Is My Life” is available for rent and purchase wherever you get movies, Amazon, Comcast, Dish TV, and Apple TV.

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