Robert Schimmel was a well known and beloved stand-up comic whose roller-coaster life came to a abrupt end on September 3, 2010. Making people laugh is all he wanted to do. Proof: engraved on his headstone are the words "I'm A Comedian." He sure was.
This project will pay a very funny, but heartfelt, tribute to Robert, while allowing those who loved him to share their personal stories, and provide continuing support to his favorite charity. READ ON!
During his 32 year career in comedy, Robert entertained audiences from New York to Alaska, Hawaii to Canada, the Cayman Islands to Scotland, and almost everywhere in between. He appeared in clubs and theaters, performed on late night TV talk shows, was interviewed on radio shows, was featured in newspapers and magazines, and starred in his own TV pilot, recorded X-rated CD's and specials on HBO and Showtime, etc. Robert won the American Comedy Award for "Best Male Stand-Up" and is #76 on Comedy Central's list of the Top 100 Comedians of All Time.
But before Robert Schimmel ever took to the stage, he was just my big brother, Bobby. Since his death, I have felt a deep void in my life caused by his absence, and the guilt caused by my inability to create a fitting memorial or tribute to Bobby. I love him and miss him, and he is so deserving to be recognized for his talent, his commitment to his art, and his contributions to those he met and brought laughter to night after night, plus those unknown people who benefited from his support and were touched and encouraged by his struggles to overcome adversity.
That is the purpose of this project. Hence, the Kickstarter campaign. With your help, I will be creating an interactive eBook tribute to Robert Schimmel, one that will include all that technology makes possible. It will contain many of my own short stories, both wild and poignant, that will highlight the real Bobby Schimmel, the man his fans never had a chance to know. This interactive eBook will also feature embedded clips from private video and audio tapes that will introduce you to events in my brother's life that were the foundation for his career in comedy. Video and audio clips that few outside the family have ever seen - or could even imagine. The interactive eBook will also include photos from Robert's life, again unseen by most. There will even be a fun Robert Schimmel Trivia Game that even members of our family couldn't win!
The interactive eBook will be available as a download, plus there will be a limited edition hardcover version of the project, in addition to a permanent website that will serve as a public memorial to my brother.
A very exciting aspect of this interactive eBook is that Robert Schimmel's friends, fans, family, and fellow comics will be able to share their own stories about their relationships and/or encounters with Robert. For years, I have met people all over the country who have told me about their fun adventures and sincere, private talks with my brother. He made a difference in their lives, either through comedy or camaraderie, and now they have a rare opportunity to tell those stories to the world. Robert received countless emails from fans, and many times he shared them with me. My goal is to have as many friends, fans, and fellow comics submit stories and photographs for others to read and see. What better way to pay tribute to Robert than to share personal memories of the man we all adored, and what he meant to us. (Of course, stories will be subject to editing and final approval by the author, but in keeping with Robert's sensibilities, strict censorship standards for language will not necessarily be applied!) Sometimes, it's impossible to tell a Robert Schimmel story without telling it the way it was.
Not everyone can make it as a comedian. It takes a very special kind of person. You need natural talent, plus the commitment to put in the years of hard work, and the toughness to accept the non-stop rejection that comes with the territory. For this reason, I will be sharing hilarious stories from our childhood, of course including our sister Sandy, to give readers an idea of what it took to transform the mischievous Bobby into great comedian Robert Schimmel. You learn of his humble and very challenging beginnings, as the first child of two parents who survived the Holocaust, his misadventures as the quintessential class clown in school, his legendary stint in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, and his subsequent court-martial, his time spent as a hippie on a commune, followed by a volunteer mission on an Israeli kibbutz, his time spent as a musician and songwriter, his earliest attempts at stand-up, his major influences, his escape from a hospital during chemotherapy to appear in Las Vegas, along with Robert's big breaks and heartbreaks.
This interactive eBook, "Leave 'Em Laughing," promises not to pull any punches. My brother's life was anchored in the world of comedy, but it wasn't always funny. His battle with cancer, his needles and pins existence on a list of those awaiting a liver transplant, etc. This eBook will bring a smile to your face, but also tears to your eyes. No tribute to Robert Schimmel would be complete without both.
"Leave 'Em Laughing" is a story so worth telling, about a man who has earned this tribute. The only way I can be sure to bring it to you in the best, most satisfying, and most genuine way, is to raise the funds and produce it myself. No interference from outside parties insisting that certain content either be included or excluded. That's why I need your support - and I need it now! This Kickstarter campaign will last just 30 days, so there is no time to waste.
The purpose of this Kickstarter campaign is to simply raise the funds sufficient to: (1) create the actual eBook, including the hiring of an expert in that particular field, and who will assist in making sure that it is of the highest, state of the art quality, and contains all of the embedded material, (2) produce the original artwork required for the eBook, (3) set up the accounts and pay whatever fees are necessary for the eBook to be sold by internet vendors, (3) hire an accountant and an attorney to prepare adequate bookkeeping and handle all legal matters concerning clearances and other potential issues that may arise, (4) produce the merchandise that will be distributed to Contributors at all levels of participation, (5) cover the costs of publishing the limited edition hardcover version of the eBook, (6) purchase CDs/DVDs that will be sent to Contributors at specific levels, and to pay for necessary packaging and postage, (7) hire a publicist to make certain that Robert Schimmel's fan base is aware of the eBook and website, (8) hire an expert to create and maintain the internet website that will serve as a permanent home for the Robert Schimmel tribute, and (9) to cover miscellaneous expenses that are unforeseen at this time.
Please be sure to check out the fantastic rewards listed along with Contributor levels. I'm happy to make these items available to you as valued Contributors to our interactive eBook project.
As Bobby's little brother, I'm determined to finally make this happen. I implore you to PLEASE contribute what you can, and to take advantage of the opportunity to tell your own Robert Schimmel stories. Thank you!
NOTE: A PORTION OF ANY PROFITS GENERATED BY THE SALE OF THE "LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING" INTERACTIVE eBOOK WILL BE DONATED TO ROBERT SCHIMMEL'S FAVORITE CHARITY: THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY.
Risks and challenges
It's possible that any project, big or small, may encounter obstacles.
While we do not anticipate any major difficulties, there may be short delays regarding the submission of contributor content and/or with the printing of the t-shirts and/or hardcover books.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)