Hal Spear, writer, comedian

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on March 12th, 2013

We’re seeing chatter on the social media that Hal Spear has passed away.

We’re all too certain that it’s true.

We’ve known Hal since forever.  The Male Half recalls a weekend in Atlantic City, when he was booked on a bill with Spear and John Ferentino.  “We were booked at the Comedy Stop and we had decent lodging at a hotel near the casino,” recalls TMHOTS.  “But Hal insisted on buying a hotel room down the street at one of the groovy, mid-century modern hotels on Atlantic Avenue so we could watch the most recent airing of Star Search, which Spear had recently taped.  The three of us partied in the hotel room and watched the set on television.  It was surreal.  I was only in the business for a couple of years, but Spear gave off the vibe like he’d been in it for the past quarter century.”

Spear (real name “Hal Saperstein”) hailed from Merrick, NY, a town on Long Island’s south shore.  He moved to Los Angeles during the early years of the comedy boom and occupied an apartment in Studio City with writing partners Lenny Travis and Dave Hawthorne.

“I visited their apartment on occasion,” recalls The Male Half.  “They always seemed to be having the best time.  They were up to their eyeballs in the Hollywood thing– writing scripts, bouncing ideas off each other, preparing to pitch projects.  I envied them and their modus operandi.”

We frequently quote Spear around SHECKYmagazine HQ.  We always impart one of Spear’s particularly interesting bits of advice to younger comics: “Always take the hotel room!”  The larger implication is that we comics should always accept any and all perks offered, as refusing to do so might result in said perks being withdrawn down the line.  It was sound advice then and sound advice now.

We hadn’t come across Spear in a long time.  We know that he lived in Vegas, we heard that he moved here only recently.  We made an attempt here and there to get together since our move, but it never happened.