In 1966, Bob Denver gave advice on how to be funny
Bob Denver is known for being funny. It's just who he is. And if you need proof, watch him in the role of Gilligan on Gilligan's Island.
In a 1966 interview with Richmond Times-Dispatch, Denver said Gilligan's Island was a great place to put his comedic talent on display. He was often seen as the oddball, but comedy is subjective. What you may find funny, others may not. And Denver was ok with that reality.
However, Denver wasn't always that funny and he certainly never predicted becoming one of America's favorite funny men.
"I had to develop one (sense of humor) because I was a shy one in my teens. I went through miseries. To cover up I became a smart-aleck, a practical jokester, until I found these antics only embarrassed people. I had to learn that a good sense of humor grows when you learn not to laugh at the expense of other people, unless they want you to."
Denver had a lot of experience with people laughing at him with his roles that included: Gilligan's Island, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Good Guys and more.
For most comedians just starting, getting up on stage and sharing pieces of themselves with an audience can be the most daunting part. For Denver, he kept himself laughing, even through the uncomfortable moments.
"All you can do is laugh back," he said. "If you can, even though angry, it will make them stop laughing. But if you react with anger, you have no place to go, no way to turn off the laughs."
Denver was always on, it seemed. Whether in his personal life, on the stage or on TV. He always seemed to know what to say next and how to make someone laugh.
"There'll be times when you just can't see the fun when others do," he said. "Then you'd better go to a quiet place and rest up a bit. You may be tired and preoccupied. It's no fun for others if your grim face haunts them. And you'll build an icy wall against fun-making with yourself. One touch of humor can thaw it down."
Denver had met many aspiring comedians throughout his career and said his fans stuck with him through The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Gilligan's Island.
"They've stuck with me, and I've picked up some new fans along the way," he said. "The kids dig Maynard and Gilligan."