Billy Crystal, Up Since 1948



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Comedian Billy Crystal has long suffered from insomnia. He tells NPR's Scott Simon his mind is constantly racing, and jokes that he sleeps like a baby — he's up every two hours.


THE CHORDETTES: (Singing) Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. Bum...


We're talking this morning about sleep - why we do it, why we can't seem to get more of it.

Yesterday, WEEKEND EDITION's Scott Simon chatted with a comedian who has his own sleep troubles. Billy Crystal writes about them in his new book, "Still Fooling Them."


Has insomnia been an important part of your life?

BILLY CRYSTAL: I've been up since 1948.


CRYSTAL: And I'll tell you why. My first seven days on the Earth, I must have broken sleep records. I'd 20 hours. I'd go 15, 16. But then...

SIMON: Yeah.

CRYSTAL: On the eighth day, somebody with bad breath and a beard grabbed my penis and cut the tip off. I've been up ever since.


SIMON: I hope that was a mohel.

CRYSTAL: I think somewhere in the back of my mind that I think someone's coming in to do that again.



CHORDETTES: (Singing) Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream...

CRYSTAL: So, I'm always up and aware that there may be an intruder who's got a box cutter. I mean...


CRYSTAL: Yeah, so sleep has always been a strange thing for me. Dating all the way back, I've always, you know, I joke. I sleep like a baby. I'm up every two hours. But it's true, I'm a restless sleeper. My mind is always going. I'm always thinking what I need to do, what I haven't done, what I did do, what I didn't do as well as I could - I'm relentless that way with myself.


CHORDETTES: (Singing) Mr. Sandman, bring us our dreams. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum.

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