When you did impressions on 'MADtv,' the producers gave you a Walkman that played huge sections of whatever movie was being parodied, with your character's catchphrases recorded on a loop. You'd wear this thing around during rehearsals and for a week listen to the voice you had to impersonate over and over again. It drove all of us crazy.
When I encountered rich people for the first time, I discovered that not only do they holiday in places that are hard to find on a map, but that they also use the names of seasons as verbs. When they asked me, 'Where did you summer and winter growing up?' I would usually say, 'As a child? The same place I springed and autumned.'
Woody Allen stayed so good because he never left New York. Howard Stern stayed so good because he never left New York - Mel Brooks when he just got out of New York was doing 'Blazing Saddles;' when he left New York he started doing stuff like 'Robin Hood Men In Tights' - he was in L.A. too long. He lost the edge.
Richard Lewis has this incredible ability to look like he's just... you know it's an act that's been honed. What you have to do in standup is create spontaneity, somehow; even though you've done this act a million times, you gotta look like you're almost just thinking of it now, to make it entertainer.