Something to Say

Looking for Tom Lehrer


It’s worth reading every single word of this piece on the incomparable Tom Lehrer. The glimpse we see into his life is fleeting, sweet, wondrous, and a little sad. He is a comic genius whose work has touched millions, including myself. Here’s a taste.

Ben Smith writes:

“Is this Tom Lehrer?” Morris asked over the phone, working to hide his nervousness.

“Yes,” replied a voice some 1,000 miles away.

“The Tom Lehrer who teaches math?”


“The Tom Lehrer that did some records in the ’50s and ’60s?”


Morris apologetically explained his school assignment, worried that Lehrer wouldn’t want to speak to him and self-conscious for having interrupted his day. The retired performer listened patiently to his request.

“Rather than talk to me for very long, just make up anything you want and I won’t deny it.”