Sunday, September 28, 2003

I started work today, Sunday, on the new ABC sitcom “Married To The Kellys”. We came in a day early because one of the lead actors, Breckin Meyer, has to fly to New York to be on “Good Morning America” on Friday morning – to promote that night’s series debut.

In this episode entitled The New Car, I play “Rodney the Car Salesman”. Tom Hertz created the show and based it on what his life might be like had he and his wife Susan moved to Kansas City.

I have known Tom for years. In the “Chip’s Clips” section, then under “Chip’s Columns”, you can read a column (“Breadbasket #4 – Free Videos In Paradise”) I wrote in which I mention going to Tom & Susan Kelly’s wedding.

I have a new definition for awkward, it is auditioning for a part on a TV show in front of just a casting director and your friend of 15 years. I did not mind going through the proper channels to get the job. But usually there will be a few more people in the room. i.e. the director, the episode’s writer, as well as the showrunner/creator and the casting director. But this was just weird.

Because I did not want anyone wondering why I was hired, I made sure that I was extra prepared. We rehearsed Sunday. They rewrote almost all of my scene and gave me a few laugh lines. The jokes often go to the series regulars, not so much the guest stars. So that was great! We rehearsed the rewritten scene on Monday. They also told me that they’d be preshooting a few scenes (including mine) on Tuesday so that Kiele Sanchez could catch a flight out after Wednesday night’s taping. On Tuesday, I woke up and looked at the script that had been delivered overnight. I discoved that they had added an another scene for me! It was the final scene or “tag” of the show. Pretty cool. Because we preshot my scenes on Tuesday, I was able to watch my scenes on Wednesday night at the taping when they rolled them in for the studio audience to see. I was glad to see and hear their positive response!

In case you care, here is how Tom and I met: In 1988, I was doing stand-up on amateur nights in Cincinnati. I was offered a job in Connecticut as the Director of Communications for a bank. I wanted to pursue a career in stand-up but felt I needed about another year of open mic nights before I could leave the 9-5 world behind.

This bank job was in my college roommate Steve’s hometown. Steve knew about my stand-up desires. He told me that a friend of his with whom he attended high school was doing stand-up in that area. That person was Tom Hertz. Steve gave Tom my number. He called me up and offered to introduce me at the area comedy clubs when I got there.

I took the job in Connecticut and did open mics at The Treehouse in Westport every week for eight months. Then I hit the road in September as a full-time stand-up comic.

Tom and I kept in touch. He and his wife let me sleep on their couch whenever I came to New York. I was able to return the favor in the mid-90s when Tom came to LA to write for Dennis Miller Live.

So this guy who slept on my futon for a few months has now created a funny TV show – and I’m on it. Pretty cool.

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