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Interview:
Paul Reiser in Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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If you'd like some good, and long, reading, check out Paul Reiser’s resume.

The actor, comedian, producer, author and musician may be best known for his sitcom starring roles in "My Two Dads" and "Mad About You," but there's much more -- from films such as "Diner" and "Alien" to several books and a live act that placed him on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. And while there are plenty of past glories, Reiser has hardly slowed down; After a run on Amazon's "Red Oaks" he's now part of the "Stranger Things" cast as Dr. Sam Owen, and you can also see him in the film comedy "The Spy Who Dumped Me," which opens this weekend. He also has two TV shows in the works as well as a film, "The Problem With People," that's currently being cast...

* Reiser, 62, says the nature of doing stand-up comedy has not changed a great deal for him. "Usually it comes organically, never a lot of forethought or deliberate 'Lemme try and do this material' or that material. For me it's always the same sort of focus; It's really an outlet for me to be talking about stuff, whether its kids or marriage or getting older, just the world changing around you, whatever it is I'm feeling. George Carlin used to call it 'ooh, yeah' comedy; You say something and people go 'ooh, yeah' and laugh because it's something they've felt or experienced, too. I'm looking for that overlap, those universal things that connect people."

* Don't expect Reiser to do much in the way of explicitly political or topical humor, however. "I never do political stuff or really current eventsy stuff -- but I do notice a palpable sense of relief when (audiences) find out they're not going to be having any of that. More than ever people are happy to have a respite of, just, the tension of picking up the paper every day or watching the news. It really feels more and more to me and to the audience that it's a nice getaway, a nice hour and a half to spend with nice people and have some laughs and go home."

* Reiser gives credit where it's due for the source of his comedy. "I had an interesting argument with my wife the other day. I said, 'Listen, we're in this 30 years. We could walk away proud.' and she said, 'You would have no act whatsoever without me.' It took me a day to realize, 'Wait a second, I've got 11 minutes of phone material that doesn't even mention you...' (laughs) But I've always been honest about that; Without the friction and the support, in mutual, equal amount, I'd have nothing. There's a lot of relationship stuff in there, and relationships change in 25, 30 years, which keeps the material fresh. I look at what I was doing in the early 90s, which was heavy on, 'You move in with a woman...,' and 30 years on it seems so quaint I was that young once."

* Reiser says that being part of the wildly popular, youth-focuses "Stranger Things" has changed his audience -- a bit. "There's certainly a younger crowd than there would have been a year ago. The majority of people still know me from the books or 'Mad About You,' but certainly 'Stranger Things' has opened it up.' I have this little part in 'The Spy Who Dumped Me' as Kate McKinnon's dad, and that might expand the audience a bit, too."

* The "Stranger Thing" role also came as something of a surprise for Reiser. "I literally got a call the week Season 1 had premiered. I was aware of it because my youngest son had told me about it; He had already seen the entire first season or something. The Duffer brothers had written this role for me. That doesn't happen too often that somebody had you in mind in general, but for such a guaranteed hit? At that point I didn't knwo if it was going to be a hit. I didn'teven now it fit was gonna be good. But we found out pretty quickly and I had the luxury to jump onto this very fast-moving train. That's a rarity. It's not something to be taken for granted."



Paul Reiser performs Friday, Aug. 3, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50-$49.50. Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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