“Someone asked me if doing stand-up now, after having not performed for so many years, feels different. And what's funny to me is
that it actually feels exactly the same. The world has changed, but doing stand-up is still exactly as challenging, and as rewarding as its always been.
But I'll tell you what's better; now, if people come to see me perform, they already know me. So it feels like picking up a conversation with an old friend. It can be a long gap between visits, but when you get together, you can pick up exactly where you left off last time.”
A New York native, Paul Reiser worked his way up the stand-up ranks from gig to gig in Manhattan before landing on the national stage. Receiving the call to do The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson meant for certain that he'd arrived.
“When you started out as a comedian, doing The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was the Holy Grail — the farthest down the road we could imagine seeing. So when it finally happened, it was very surreal. knowing that "here it is." That place, that moment you thought about, is happening now.”
Once in Los Angeles, it wasn't long before Hollywood called Reiser. He was one of the breakout stars in the 1982 film Diner (alongside the likes of Kevin Bacon, Steve Guttenberg and Mickey Rourke) before becoming a fixture of Beverly Hills Cop and its eventual sequel. In Aliens, Reiser got to shift gears and play the unscrupulous Carter Burke, who conspired to bring the Alien Xenomorphs back to Earth as a Biological weapon. When reminded of this Paul shares how he still gets a kick out of it today:
“I heard recently that there are people who use the word "Burke" as a verb - and not a nice one. As in, "Man, that guy really "burked" you on that deal." That made me laugh.”
Following a string of comedies, Paul Reiser found a new home, on NBC Television. After two seasons on the oft-forgotten sitcom My Two Dads, it was Reiser's Mad About You, co-starring Helen Hunt, that really set the comedian into the heart of the American consciousness. The beloved show ran for seven seasons and racked up a number of high profile awards nominations and subsequent wins. What was it like to be not only a star, but a creator of a hit sitcom?
“When Mad About You had just began, I met a veteran TV producer who told me, "Episodes of your show become like your children, and you have to accept that not all your children will be beautiful." And its true. Some episodes don’t turn out exactly like you planned, but I'm awfully proud of our batting average.”
Comedy Central named Paul Reiser number 77 on their list of 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, and he'll headline The Club at Treasure Island on Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. What the future holds for him beyond that, he's uncertain, but confidant:
“My plan for the first 76 [comedians on the list] to die, ideally in sequence, and then drive past the homes of the last 23 and mock them.
I've never really had a plan for any of this. Some of the best things have come from totally unexpected places. So ... who knows. But I'm pretty sure that when the next great surprise DOES happen, I'll tell you I planned it the whole time.”
Comedian, actor and bestselling author Paul Reiser will headline The Club at Treasure Island on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. A limited number of nonmember tickets are available to the public for $40, via 888-695-0888 or www.theclubti.com. A portion of proceeds will benefit All Children’s Hospital, The Club’s official community partner.