The Hippo


May 28, 2020








David Liebe Hart. Courtesy photo.

David Liebe Hart 

When: Saturday, May 28, 8 p.m.
Where: Birdseye Lounge, 41 Vaughan Mall, Portsmouth
Tickets: $12 at
When: Sunday, May 29, 8 p.m.
Where: Fuzz Hut, 21 W. Auburn St., Manchester
Tickets: $10 at

One of a kind
Is David Liebe Hart for real?

By Michael Witthaus

 Much was discussed during a careening, shambolic half hour on the phone with experimental comic, actor and musician David Liebe Hart. Strangely enough, one of Hart’s favorite topics didn’t come up — the Korendians, the space aliens he claims abducted him as a child and writes about in songs like “La Rent Doesn’t Want Me To Look At Porn” and “Go Into The Light.” 

The territory that was covered in the interview seemed no less fantastical. The experiences Hart claims in his six decades on (and off) the planet include bit parts in sitcoms and friendships with many famous and influential people. Don’t bother checking IMDB or the archives of The Hollywood Reporter for any of it — just enjoy the ride.
Born in Chicago, Hart was raised a Christian Scientist; so, apparently, were many entertainers. Danny Thomas’s TV wife Marjorie Lord met Hart at his parents’ church and liked him enough to arrange a cold reading in L.A. for The Andy Griffith Show. 
“I was to be Opie’s best friend,” Hart said, “but my parents didn’t want me to break into show business at such a young age.”
More performers came into his life through his faith, including two famous puppeteers. 
“Burr Tillstrom was a Sunday school teacher at the Christian Science Church in downtown Chicago. … He taught me with Kukla, Fran & Ollie,” Hart said. “I had Jim Henson in Washington, D.C. and he used Kermit the Frog to teach Bible studies.” 
Despite his missed chance as a child actor, Hart didn’t stop thinking about Hollywood, eventually making it there in 1976. Through a cousin, he met a then unknown Robin Williams at a Christian Science church. The two became friends, taking odd jobs together. 
“We were doing gardening and yard work for some of the famous TV stars,” Hart said. “Vivian Vance and Doris Day said, ‘Why don’t you two team up and do comedy since you both want to break into acting?’”
They played clubs like the Improv, Icehouse, Laugh Factory and Comedy Store, Marshall said. 
“That’s where he got discovered,” Hart said. “One day, Garry Marshall came in there and said, ‘I want to have you do the Martian in your comedy skit,’ and bam — he had the character of Mork. But Marshall said he wanted him and not his African American friend for Happy Days.”
Hart then launched into a story about losing touch with Williams, then running into the late actor’s estranged mother in the mid 2000s and arranging a not-well-received reunion. 
“Robin called and said, ‘Why’d you give my information out?’ I said, ‘I thought it was perfectly cool — she wants to see her grandchildren.’ It was the first time I’d heard from him in 30 years,” Hart said. “He was kind of upset, but anyway, I reunited them.”
At certain points during the interview, a cloud seemed to pass over Hart; he’d begin to grouse about racism, industry thugs, job stealing foreigners, post-divorce depression that caused him to stop being a vegan, and other sad topics. Drifting into complaining about people who wronged him and his troubles in general was Hart’s “default mode,” his publicist had warned in advance. “It’s not very uplifting; feel free to interrupt his train of thought by asking him about certain topics,” was the advice. “Literally, cut him off. He won’t be offended; he will just keep talking forever if you let him.”
A quick compliment about his comedy did the trick. 
“Thank you,” Hart said earnestly. “Doris Day in person told me I was success in action — loved, cherished, respected and appreciated — and to value myself and to set goals for myself, that I’m a winner, not a loser. … Evil is neither a person, place nor thing, and I know that I will continue to meet people like you that know and love me and appreciate what I do.”
Hart’s act resembles what might have happened if Andy Kaufman’s black half brother joined Devo in its early years — with scary-looking puppets. He’s best known for appearances on Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule. His shows in Portsmouth and Manchester will include musical collaborator Jonah Mociun transforming fan favorites like “Salame” into electronic explorations, puppets, projected video and offbeat tales of his endearing, if implausible, life.
“I just have to go where I’m accepted,” Hart said. 

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