Standup Road Stories & Lessons in Comedy Writing featuring Mark Schiff
Comedy Great Mark Schiff has headlined in all the major casinos and clubs across this great land and he’s appeared many times on The Tonight Show with Johnny and Jay and on Letterman. He’s had HBO and Showtime specials and has travelled the world opening for Jerry Seinfeld. We’ve got him situated in one spot long enough to spin some amazing comedy tales and road stories.
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Fritz Coleman (00:00:04):
Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman.
Louise Palanker (00:00:06):
And I am Louise Palanker.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:08):
You know, these days, every day, every week you are being hit with a fire hose of new entertainment possibilities. What do you choose? What do you watch? Well, that's our job. Think of us as the curators of your content. We'll give you suggestions on what to watch. And our great guests are a highlight too. Today we have a stellar standup who's headlined casinos and clubs all around the country for years. Spent many years opening for Jerry Seinfeld. He's written for sitcoms. He's co-written a couple of books. One's dropping soon. Mark Schiff is with us. He's been a friend of mine for years. Can't wait to talk to him and we'll talk to him in a minute. But we Is he first? What do you have?
Louise Palanker (00:00:46):
Oh, I'm going first. Okay. So, uh, my pick is called the Other two. It's recommended to, uh, to us by our dear friend Lisa Arch, and I am just loving it. Two older siblings who have not quite found their actor dancer, adulting footing, must now face a world in which their 13 year old brother is a teen idol. Little brothers TikTok went white hot and he is now being marketed as Chase Dreams. Yeah. Created by former Saturday Night Live head writer Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly. The big SBS are played by Helene York and Drew Tarver. Case Walker is Chase, and their mom is the Deliciously delightful. Molly Shannon. This show is here to fulfill all of your showbiz social media parody needs. It's a bit raunchy, but also sweet and terrifically smart and funny. And much like Shits Creek, big bro and sis learn through adversity and effort, who they are and where their true talents lie. You can find the other two seasons, one and two on H B O and season one is on Prime.
Fritz Coleman (00:01:47):
Molly Shannon's having a kick ass time, right? Because she's doing that show with that other Saturday person. I can't remember her name, who has cancer, but she sells 'em like a qvc. It's,
Louise Palanker (00:01:56):
It's a QPC kind of thing, it's called. I love that for you. Yeah. Or I love this for you. Something so good
Fritz Coleman (00:02:00):
For her, cuz she's
Louise Palanker (00:02:00):
So, yeah. She's so fun to watch.
Fritz Coleman (00:02:02):
All right. I'm gonna talk about Hollywood Masters right on Netflix. I, I, I love shows that get into the process of movie and television making, how directors and writers and actors do whatever it is they do. Interviews that make you understand the magic. Well, that's what Hollywood Masters does on Netflix. It's an interview show conducted by Stephen Galloway. Stephen is a host and a producer of Close Up with a Hollywood reporter, the Hollywood Reporter Round Tables, and this one Hollywood Masters. The show's done 32 episodes total since 2017. This season has a great cross-section of talent. He talks to Jake Gillen Hall about being from a film family. His father was a director, and his mama writer. His relationship with his talented sister, Maggie, to his being a philosophy major at Columbia, and how he navigates the quirks of directors with different styles. Jake's a thoughtful and introspective actor who isn't afraid to go deep in the interview.
I really loved him. Sean Penn's good too. He's very open in this conversation about frustration of being tabloid fodder for 30 years, about how he selects projects and his passion for his hugely successful nonprofit foundation that started with getting medicine for people in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. It's not preachy, not self-serving, he's just really eye-opening. He's fairly, I mean, surprisingly more honest than you would expect him to be. I won't talk about all the interviews, but I will do one more that's really interesting. Gina Davis, an amazingly charming woman, self-deprecating, honest, and she talks about an area of her life that not everybody knows about. Gina is a world class archer and actually made it to the Olympic trials. So if you're a film geek, this is gonna feed your neurosis. The Hollywood Masters were incidently having nothing to do with me liking. It is taped on the campus of Loyola Marymount University where my daughter happens to be a student. I didn't realize that till the end of the series. But
Louise Palanker (00:03:50):
You didn't know where your daughter went.
Fritz Coleman (00:03:51):
No, I knew where she went, but I didn't. I it, it's not a promotion for Loyola because, alright. Under our guests, th this man has been one of the most highly regarded standups in the country for years. He's also an actor. He was an Adam Sandler's funny people. He was a writer on Mad About You with Paul Riser. And on the Roseanne Show, he had an HBO and a Showtime special. Made many appearances on Jay Letter and David Letterman. He's written a book, co-written a book with Rich Scheider or another really funny guy. And he's got another one coming out called Why Not Lessons on Comedy. Curion Chutzpah. We're gonna talk about that in a minute. <laugh>. He co-hosts a podcast called, you Don't Know Schiff, Jerry Seinfeld said this. Mark Schiff is one of the funniest, the brightest, and the best stage comics I've ever seen. That's all you need right there.
Louise Palanker (00:04:42):
No, that's a pretty good endorsement. How
Fritz Coleman (00:04:45):
Are you, Mark Schiff. We're happy to have you, my friend.
Mark Schiff (00:04:47):
Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Thank you. Good to see you, Louise. And, uh, Fritz. Is it
Louise Palanker (00:04:52):
<laugh>? Hey, Ritz. Hey Mark. You have to explain, slap you senseless your Zoom background because, uh, room Raider would go crazy cuz you're using Cinder Block to hold up your fleet of albums. Please explain <laugh>.
Mark Schiff (00:05:03):
Well, you know, the albums are old and the Cinder Block look was, you know, from the sixties and seventies and stuff. <laugh>. Um, I was telling we earlier, there's uh, I have 600 comedy albums. It's a very rare collection. Oh my
Louise Palanker (00:05:16):
God. Yeah. Isn't that awesome?
Mark Schiff (00:05:17):
Uh, um, million people you've never heard of that
Fritz Coleman (00:05:19):
Qualifies as a museum, doesn't it?
Mark Schiff (00:05:21):
It really, it really does. And, uh, it's, it's a great collection. Most of it is terrible. <laugh>, you know, Mo most of the comedians that you've never heard of,
Fritz Coleman (00:05:29):
What's the worst one you have in that collection?
Mark Schiff (00:05:33):
Um, that, that there's some southern guys nobody's ever heard of. There's just, you know, you know, who's an awful one? Um, oh my God, why am I forgetting now? Because
Louise Palanker (00:05:43):
We're not very
Mark Schiff (00:05:44):
Good. Buddy Hackett did an album called The Chinese Waiter, and there are no laughs on it. It's just him in a, in a room recording routines and that's pretty awful. It's pretty, you
Louise Palanker (00:05:55):
Know what I, I'd love for you to do for us, mark. It's randomly like, you know, even close your eyes. Just pick one and then let's see, and then you can explain why you have it. Okay. Okay. He's picking, he's selecting. Here we go. Ooh, it's colorful.
Mark Schiff (00:06:09):
So here, here's an Allen Sherman, of course.
Louise Palanker (00:06:11):
Oh yes. Allen Sherman.
Fritz Coleman (00:06:12):
Louise Palanker (00:06:13):
My son. The celebrity I love. I love that one. Ooh, the car. That album cover is everything. Oh, Jose Jim. Jose Jimenez. See, that's when, see, there's so much you can't do anymore, right? That's
Mark Schiff (00:06:27):
Louise Palanker (00:06:28):
Jose Jimenez was a character of Bill Dana would now be inappropriate.
Mark Schiff (00:06:32):
The Bickersons, what is
Fritz Coleman (00:06:33):
Going Moon? Donna Michi and Francis Langer
Mark Schiff (00:06:37):
Lang. This is so funny. It's unbelievable. It's a husband and wife. A double album of them just arguing for two hours. Yeah.
Louise Palanker (00:06:45):
The Bickersons. My parents
Fritz Coleman (00:06:46):
Used to. That's funny. I never
Louise Palanker (00:06:47):
Heard of them. They used to tell me about the Bickersons. You ask.
Mark Schiff (00:06:50):
You were very funny. Of course. One more. Yeah. Hold
Fritz Coleman (00:06:52):
That up cuz our producer wants to take a picture. Well, phll Well, Phyllis Dier.
Louise Palanker (00:06:55):
Yeah. There we go. Phyll. It's
Fritz Coleman (00:06:56):
Very butch in that picture.
Mark Schiff (00:06:57):
Yeah, well, she, those are,
Louise Palanker (00:07:00):
You know, that's also not appropriate to say anymore.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:03):
No, no, no. I I just, I I was, I was really, it was a comment on my age and not her looks.
Louise Palanker (00:07:07):
No, I just really wanna get you in Twitter trouble.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:10):
I, I, you know, I did Evening at The Improv, which was the classic brick wall comedy show, and after I did an Evening of Amber, but she wrote me the nicest note and I just thought that was so cool. She didn't know me from Adam and just the, uh, she, she's very love, very supportive of young comics.
Mark Schiff (00:07:24):
Yeah. You know, sheep I got on her Christmas card list. Oh
Fritz Coleman (00:07:27):
Louise Palanker (00:07:27):
God. How cool.
Mark Schiff (00:07:29):
I, I did a, uh, I did a, um, a cartoon called Two Stupid Dogs with Brad Garrett <laugh>. Uh, he played Big Dog. I played Little Dog. And these actors would come in and Phyllis Stiller came in and Carol Channing came in. Wow. And it was such a pleasure working with these people.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:46):
Wow. That's So what's the best album you have back there? Let me guess. Uh, class Clown George Carlin or Lenny Bruce's, uh,
Mark Schiff (00:07:53):
All concert. Right. Chapel. What?
Louise Palanker (00:07:55):
That Bob Newhart.
Mark Schiff (00:07:56):
I, I, I got 'em all. They're all, they're all, a lot of those are just great. They're just fun to listen to. The Lenny Bruce, uh, triple Album Life from Carnegie Hall is mm-hmm. <affirmative> pretty amazing. Yeah. Um, Carlin, of course, the Cosby albums, you know. Yeah. You know, before he did what he, you know, did his albums are amazing. He wrote one, he autographed one to me that said, thanks for the great idea, mark. Wow. Now I don't wanna feel like I, you know, <laugh>, it was my idea that he went off the, uh, the rail there. But, uh,
Louise Palanker (00:08:26):
I hope that wasn't your idea.
Mark Schiff (00:08:28):
That wasn't my idea.
Louise Palanker (00:08:29):
Do you have any Smothers brothers?
Mark Schiff (00:08:31):
Yeah, of course I do. I don't know where they are here. Yeah. I'll show you something. I just came across to me. Just take a second. Don't go away. Don't. We'll
Louise Palanker (00:08:37):
Wait for you later. We're not going anywhere. So he's reaching for another album. My mother's,
Mark Schiff (00:08:42):
My mother's been gone for years and, but I remember I did the Carson Show Tonight Show at Carson, and I got him to send this to my mother. Aww. We did a beautiful shot of Johnny. It really
Fritz Coleman (00:08:52):
Mark Schiff (00:08:53):
Gorgeous. And that's
Fritz Coleman (00:08:53):
Before the airbrush technology. That's just for, oh, Johnny,
Mark Schiff (00:08:56):
I'm unbelievable. And he wrote two Gloria, all Good wishes. Johnny Carson. And, uh, I just came across that the other
Louise Palanker (00:09:03):
Day. Hold it up one more time. We're gonna take a picture of you with
Mark Schiff (00:09:06):
It. Beauty. It's really a beauty.
Fritz Coleman (00:09:08):
So, while we're talking about comedy history, did you see the George Carlin doc, the Judd Appel doc?
Mark Schiff (00:09:13):
I did see it.
Fritz Coleman (00:09:14):
Did you like it?
Mark Schiff (00:09:16):
I liked a lot of it. I, I, I talked to Wayne Federman about it. Who?
Fritz Coleman (00:09:19):
Yeah. Yep. He was a producer on it.
Mark Schiff (00:09:21):
I, I liked the, I liked a lot of it. I, um, I'm sorry. They went so deep into his troubled life. It, it was a little, um, there was other areas to explore about his comedy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I, I don't think they got there completely, but I did like it. I thought he was,
Fritz Coleman (00:09:40):
I liked it because, and, and you could tell that, uh, it was done by a comedian. He let the long bits play out, didn't edit the long bits up. And the revelation in that, to me, was that Sam, Ken's success was a pivotal moment in George's success. When he saw Sam just go for the back of the house with this material. George said, I can go a lot deeper than I've been going. And even told Sam that he called him and told him that. I just thought that was a revelation. I'd never heard that before.
Mark Schiff (00:10:09):
That's true. I wanted to step it up too, after hearing that, um, you know, the great guys can, uh, can, can make you do that. Whenever I would see some of these guys, I used to go see a lot of guys live, like the real classic guys. And every time I saw 'em, I came away thinking, you know, I can just do better. You know,
Fritz Coleman (00:10:25):
Just, I, I thought Judge's documentary about Gary Shandling, I, and I, I even emailed him. This was the best piece of work he ever did. I said, I knew you're in Mr. 40 year old version and Mr. Anchorman, but that is the most beautiful piece of work you've ever done. And it was really a product of Gary because, and I, and, and I told Judge, every beginning, comedian should be forced to watch that documentary because Gary treated it like an art form. It was called the Zen Diaries of Gary Chanley. It, it was, it was beautiful. It was beautifully organized. And even though it was four hours longer, I didn't feel like it was too long. I, I just loved it.
Mark Schiff (00:10:59):
And why I did too. I was at the memorial there that they shot a lot of it. Oh
Fritz Coleman (00:11:03):
Louise Palanker (00:11:03):
Oh, wow. So, and that Ian Jud depicts how Gary's haunted by the death of his brother. Do you feel like most comedians are haunted by something from their childhood?
Mark Schiff (00:11:15):
You know, it's funny. You know, Seinfeld says no about that in his own life. You know, his parents basically left them alone, didn't bother him, you know, didn't do much with him. And he was happy. You know, I mean, uh, I was certainly, I had a, uh, a tough childhood. But, you know, with, with comedy, you learned to turn your, uh, scars to stars.
Fritz Coleman (00:11:34):
He, what was tough about your childhood?
Mark Schiff (00:11:37):
Well, my mother would go off on and off the rails. You know, she had like a bipolar thing. Oh. One day everything was nice. And then the next day, ah, you know, so you never knew what you were walking into. That's, that's a little challenging when you're a kid.
Louise Palanker (00:11:49):
Um, oh yeah. Kids need consistency. So it's scary to not know what, what the moon in the house is gonna be like.
Mark Schiff (00:11:55):
You know what they say? Why Jewish husbands die before their wives? No. They want to
Louise Palanker (00:11:59):
Fritz Coleman (00:12:00):
<laugh>, okay, so what is it about the Bronx? You got Carl Reiner, you got Robert Klein, you got Mark Schiff. There're probably others. There's just something about that Petri dish that makes for funny people.
Mark Schiff (00:12:14):
The Bronx was a very powerful place to grow up. I, I know it was for me and those guys, you know, George Shapiro who just passed on. I
Fritz Coleman (00:12:21):
Know. I saw his documentary about the Bronx, which is I
Louise Palanker (00:12:23):
Love that when they come back,
Mark Schiff (00:12:24):
Bronx Boys, he would, that's such a good, go back every, uh, you know, every couple years and meet with the guys. And they, you know what he said, George? He said in a documentary, they would meet, the guys would meet and they would play basketball. And he never understood what the girls would do when they would meet. Cuz they never went to the park or the courts. And even at 90, he goes, I wonder what they did in the afternoons when they got the guy. He never figured that out. But yes, the Bronx was a very powerful place. You know, there was a great writer, uh, Isaac Cheva singer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> came from like Poland. And the Bronx was like our Poland. It was so powerful. I I, I can't really explain it, but it was another world. Nothing to do with Staten Island. Brooklyn was like that too. Brooklyn, if you came from Brooklyn, you know, you were different.
Fritz Coleman (00:13:13):
It was the street. And, and, uh, and, and, and your comedy was a defense mechanism against outside forces. You know, Robert Klein, one of a couple of his early HBO specials talked about how it was just his way to sort of dance around whatever trouble was in the street there. Was it the same for you?
Mark Schiff (00:13:30):
Oh, yeah. I mean, I spent, I had no park when I grew up. Everything was in, I can hit. We used to play stickball in the street. I can hit, you know how fungo is when you throw the ball up? I can hit a ball perfectly straight where it, it doesn't go left or right, because we had to play between two buildings. <laugh> like a window <laugh>. So yeah. How to learn, how to hit the ball perfectly straight. I, it's an incredible talent I have.
Louise Palanker (00:13:56):
Maybe you just, maybe it, it, it, uh, nurtures creativity because you, you don't have organized activities. The parents aren't taking you to little league. You don't have a park. You don't have a a a baseball field or so you invent games and you're creative.
Mark Schiff (00:14:12):
We played with checkers in the street. You know, I just wrote something about it recently about, um, when I was growing up, there were no safety mechanisms for kids, you know, medicine bottles. It was twist and gobble. We were just opening them, you know, <laugh> whatever we wanted no seat belts. Right. Growing up. Okay. In, in the car there was, uh, uh, my toy soldiers, you could break 'em off and just swallow little pieces of it. <laugh>. But what we had, we, we had something that kids don't have now. We had freedom.
Louise Palanker (00:14:38):
Mark Schiff (00:14:39):
I, I would say to my mother, I'm going out. She'd go, where you going? I go, I'm not sure, because I really wasn't sure. And she'd go, just be home around six mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it was cool. Now the kids, they got the, the iPhone and they're being tracked. Like they just broke off a chain gang. <laugh>. Except they take, people wanna know where they are and who they're talking to. It's crazy.
Louise Palanker (00:14:58):
Yeah. And play dates and, you know, and it's people. I think there's maybe too much news about what could go wrong. And so parents are overreacting to the dangers that are actually out there. Your kid could be on the couch in your home talking to a child molester on her phone. Like, she could be in more danger in your home than if you let her go out and play.
Mark Schiff (00:15:19):
Absolutely. Well, you know, the computer is, uh, is a weird, weird thing for him. But we had, uh, I did my bicycle when I got my bicycle. That was really, I felt like a free man. Oh yeah. And if you remember when you were a kid, you didn't get that bicycle man go up to any street you wanted and you
Louise Palanker (00:15:35):
Just felt like you were flying.
Mark Schiff (00:15:37):
Yeah. Yeah. It was.
Fritz Coleman (00:15:38):
Well, let's talk about you as a child. Let's talk about a s and this is really hard for me to get my head wrapped around. Let's talk about Mark Schiff as a six year old taking ballet lessons.
Mark Schiff (00:15:49):
I did, I took, um,
<laugh>, my, my, my mother would, uh, I got, they, I took singing and ballet. Oh, okay. And I, I actually liked it a lot. She took me to the Ed Sullivan building for singing lessons. Wow. Where Ed Sullivan was coming out of. They had an upstairs, like on the seventh, eighth floor. So really an office building part of it. And, uh, she took me for singing lessons and ballet. And then when I got older, um, I started doing standup when I was 18. And then I quit for five years. And I took jazz dancing, acting lessons, writing lessons, all during, I always loved taking dance class, but I never retained any of it.
Fritz Coleman (00:16:30):
<laugh>, it's like with Spanish three years and I can't communicate my house. I
Louise Palanker (00:16:34):
Think it's why you moved so beautifully through the world.
Mark Schiff (00:16:36):
I've taken ballroom dancing with, uh, me and my friend Bernie. We, we took the ballroom dancing cuz we figured it would help pick up chicks when we were, you know, nothing. Nothing. Well,
Fritz Coleman (00:16:45):
That's cuz you went together, they thought you were gay.
Mark Schiff (00:16:47):
Well, there you go. That's the,
Louise Palanker (00:16:49):
Well at least you know, you get to touch a girl in the activity mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right.
Mark Schiff (00:16:52):
So the, but that's how they, they suck in for the lessons. Yeah. Like they, this beautiful woman comes out and she's teaching you lessons and she goes, she tells you what a great dancer you will be one day. And she holds you tight and you go sign me up for a thousand lessons. <laugh>
Fritz Coleman (00:17:06):
<laugh>. So you started standing up at 18 and a pivotal year time in your life was when you saw Rodney Dangerfield for the first time.
Mark Schiff (00:17:14):
I was 12 years old. Wow. My parents took me to a nightclub. I'm an only child, so my parents took me everywhere. And on Queens Boulevard in Rigo Park, my parents took me to see a singer one night a nightclub. Al Martino. Oh, I
Louise Palanker (00:17:28):
Love Al Martino.
Mark Schiff (00:17:30):
Yeah. He made a, he had a, a hit called Red Roses for Blue Blue Lady. I watch em Red
Fritz Coleman (00:17:35):
Roses for a Blue Lady
Louise Palanker (00:17:39):
That was a Wayne Newton hit first. And it's probably covered by absolutely all
Fritz Coleman (00:17:43):
Of the, I sound like I'm 114 years old already. Don't.
Louise Palanker (00:17:46):
Oh, you can just play an instrument with your mouth. That's a talent.
Mark Schiff (00:17:49):
So opening the show was a comedian. I'd never seen a comedian before. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rodney Daer. And he came out and he nailed it. He just killed the audience. And I watched my parents laugh, like I'd never seen him laugh before. Wow. And people around me were just spitting water out. It was <laugh>. I said, that's it. I had an epiphany. That's it. I know what I wanna do. I wanna be a comedian. And I never looked back.
Louise Palanker (00:18:14):
Did you say that out loud to
Mark Schiff (00:18:16):
People? I told my parents I wanted to be a comedian. They, and they, you know, they kind of laugh it off because when you're 12 you wanna be a fireman, a doctor, a lawyer. Yeah. You know, comedian and, uh, yeah. Started listening to records. Go down to Lincoln Center in New York, uh, and listen to comedy albums. They used to have record players and I listened to them there. And then that's
Fritz Coleman (00:18:37):
What happened. Me with George Carlin. Somebody bought me ti I'd never seen stand. I mean, I mean I'd seen it on the Ed Sullivan show, the Tonight Show. But somebody bought me tickets to see George Carlin and he was performing at the Valley Forge Music Fair. Sure. And I didn't understand the nuts and bolts of standup where it's a slow process. You build 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes and eventually you have an hour and 90 minutes and, and you know, you don't work off notes or any of that cuz you haven't memorized. And I saw this guy on stage, convulsing 3000 people. And I thought it was the greatest amount of power that another human being could have to make people laugh and feel good with no notes. And it seemed, hi, his, his word smith abilities and his ability to just make it look like was off the top of his head. Honest to God, he was like a shaman. And it changed my life. I didn't wanna be a comic. I never thought I could be, but I, I told Weezy that was like my St. Paul in the road to Damascus story. I, it was such a change for me in my life having seen that.
Mark Schiff (00:19:29):
Sure, sure. He was the king of words. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, nobody could twisted him around. And, but
Fritz Coleman (00:19:36):
You said you quit stand up for over a period of time. I didn't know that. What was that?
Mark Schiff (00:19:38):
So I suffered with stage fright. Oh. So I would get up on, when I got up on 18, I bombed so badly. It was just horrific. It was normal. But that's the way it was. So, you know what, um, I didn't get up again for five years. I didn't have to, I lost all courage to do that. So I started taking other theatrical things and then I came back at 23 and I never looked back. So, um,
Louise Palanker (00:20:03):
Mark Schiff (00:20:03):
You know, you, you know how it is. Then you work for free for five years or something like that until you start getting some gigs.
Louise Palanker (00:20:09):
Right. So would you hit the open mics around New York going to Manhattan? Oh, we
Mark Schiff (00:20:13):
Hit 4, 5, 6 a night. Yeah. Me, Jim Brogan, uh, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, George Wallace, Paul Reiser, Gilbert Godfrey. What
Fritz Coleman (00:20:21):
A class. That's, that's the class right there.
Louise Palanker (00:20:24):
When you rattle off all these guys, you're rattling off the guys who made it mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Were there a bunch of people that you can't remember their name because they just, they couldn't quite make, make that that heavy lift with, with you, you pros.
Mark Schiff (00:20:37):
Yeah. They, well, they just, a lot of people didn't, just didn't, didn't put the work in. And if you don't put the work in, you say, I wa I'm not a natural performer. I wasn't born, like, I was talking to George Wallace about it on my podcast. And, uh, I said, George, I remember when you, when we first started, you were good right away. And he goes, yes, I was. I just came out and I w I, you know, he was great. Some of us were not.
Fritz Coleman (00:21:00):
He, he was the Reverend George Wallace. And, and his whole timing and pattern on stage was very much like an evangelical minister, which, which stayed with him after he blew that off and just became a comedian. And that's what made him really funny. He knew exactly how to perform.
Louise Palanker (00:21:14):
But I think, I think most people are not good right away, because this is my analogies. It's like, it is like playing a musical instrument, but rather than being able to practice it in your, in your living room and getting pretty good before you go up in front of people, you have to hit, you have to blow your first notes in front of an audience to see whether or not mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, you can tell whether or not your musical instrument is in tune, but in order to know whether or not you're funny, you have to go from zero to to a hundred in front of people. And that's just a debilitating process that not everyone is built for.
Mark Schiff (00:21:49):
And you had to perfect many different things like Yeah. Writing, performing, you had to direct yourself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you had to learn the
Fritz Coleman (00:21:58):
Physicality as well as the writing part of it. Yep. That's
Mark Schiff (00:22:00):
Right. Each one is a talent in itself. You know, there's a couple, like Norm McDonald, God bless them. And, uh, he never moved around. He just stood in front of the microphone. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he never perfected that part of it. I mean, as, as a, as a funny guy, very few people would ever be as funny as he was. But, so you gotta learn all these different things, uh, which a lot of people, uh, you know, it takes a long time to do that. And I was not a natural.
Louise Palanker (00:22:26):
Right. But you're, but sometimes the people that aren't natural performers are, are the best writers. And if you can write kind of, that's everything because you're gonna learn how to perform. But it's, you've gotta have great material. Right.
Mark Schiff (00:22:38):
Well, writing is, uh, taken me a long way. You know, people, you know, I, you don't realize I, I've made a living as a writer for 40 years because I've written my act. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> people don't see that as a form of writing. But, you know, it is. And it's a very succinct type of writing. Every word, every nuance, you know, for it counts every and if, or, but your,
Fritz Coleman (00:23:01):
But your, your Mr Your, your friend Mr. Seinfeld said that writing standup comedy is shaving syllables, which is the best description of it I've ever heard. And your other friend, Larry Miller, said, writing standup comedy is like operating a, still like a moonshine still. He said, you put all this energy and all these ingredients into the funnel, and if you're lucky in a couple of hours, a couple of drops comes out the bottom <laugh> and you're lucky. It it. And those, those two perfectly describe what it's like. It's a hard, precise, uh, very surgical procedure to write standup.
Mark Schiff (00:23:36):
It's like, uh, you know, when you're trying to get somebody pregnant, you know, you get a billion of those little sperm cells going. If one makes a three, you're lucky. <laugh>,
Louise Palanker (00:23:44):
You made a a person.
Fritz Coleman (00:23:46):
But, but, but the opposite of that. So you wrote on Matt about you and your wrote on Roseanne. The writing standup is a very solitary endeavor, and I'm a very solitary person, so it fits my personality perfectly. But the opposite of that is writing in a room part of a staff, and you have to collaborate. Um, talk about that, you know, going from stand up to writing on a show.
Mark Schiff (00:24:07):
So I, I wrote our Roseanne's talk show and she, she was very nice, you know, crazy but nice. She could not have been nicer. She put me in sketches. Um, there, I had my own office and I would write by myself, which I loved. Mad about You. We sat around 17 writers. Um, there's things I liked about it, but there's things I didn't like about it. I, I, I didn't like. Um, and this has nothing to do with the writing. I didn't like the, all the, like knocking people's stuff that goes on in the writer's room. Like, you know, all the bad relationship stuff and all the stuff that people would carry in with them that, that bothered me. I'd rather just sit by myself and just think mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know what I mean? And yeah. That, that's
Fritz Coleman (00:24:49):
Louise Palanker (00:24:49):
Like to do. And get beat up. Yeah.
Mark Schiff (00:24:51):
Like I have a new book coming out. You know, I didn't sit in the room with a lot of people. I mean, I really enjoy sitting by myself. I'm amazed still after writing for all these years that I've come up with something new.
Louise Palanker (00:25:02):
Wow. Why, uh, how is that when you know, you've been creating your whole life and then your natural form is a creator. So why would it surprise you when you create?
Mark Schiff (00:25:12):
Because it, it just does, you know, I don't know. A a writer that isn't surprised that they just came out with, it's
Fritz Coleman (00:25:17):
Skeptical. When you come up with something, people a I don't know, my spleen, I have no idea.
Louise Palanker (00:25:22):
But it's gratifying too. Yeah.
Mark Schiff (00:25:23):
Yeah. And, and
Fritz Coleman (00:25:25):
I, and I often wondered, you, you wrote on two shows where the, the, the, the preliminary person was funny. So you had Paul Riser who was a hysterical standup and you had Roseanne who was funny. Is that make it more filled with pressure that I I is the bar higher because you have higher standards from a guy who really knows funny instead of trying to create funny lines for a sitcom actor who doesn't know funny from his shoe?
Mark Schiff (00:25:49):
No. The, the, the great thing about having those two, or anybody of that talent, that type of talent is, you know, that they can deliver. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, one of the greatest moments in my life was when, uh, Mel Brooks was on the, uh, on met about you mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if you've ever been on the floor of, uh, a sitcom on, uh, whatever night they're shooting at, sometimes the joke falls flat and they'll yell the executive producer, anybody got anything here? We need a joke. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I came up with something immediately for Mel Brooks and the punchline, I can't give you the whole setup cuz I don't remember, but the punchline was, nobody's ever seen a live Whitefish <laugh> that was
Louise Palanker (00:26:27):
Mark Schiff (00:26:28):
That was unbelievable. And he delivered it so well, and people looked at me like I was some freaking genius out of, uh,
Fritz Coleman (00:26:35):
But how cool is that though? It, it showed his talent and your talent in the spur of the moment,
Mark Schiff (00:26:40):
All within about 10 seconds. You I got it. I got a joke for him. And there he goes and he spits it out perfectly. And that's, that's working with a pro.
Fritz Coleman (00:26:48):
Gordon Hunt was a friend of mine, God rest is Soul, who directed many episodes of Matt about you. And he was, he was a master at recognizing funny and timing and all those things.
Mark Schiff (00:26:58):
Paul rises of the greatest TV talents. I mean, he's working more than ever now, still in, uh,
Fritz Coleman (00:27:03):
He's back on the road as a comic. Right. He's doing shows
Mark Schiff (00:27:05):
Back on the road as a comic. And right now he's in Ireland filming a movie I believe that he wrote. And maybe even in starring in, he's in Ireland doing that. His
Fritz Coleman (00:27:15):
Character on the Comiskey method kills me. It's so funny because he took over for Adam Arkin or Al uh, uh, it's Alan or Adam who's the dad. Allen. Allen, yeah. And he retired cuz of Covid and his age. And so they, they created this new character for Paul. That's hysterical. And he's so funny. He's a great actor and he makes that character so funny.
Mark Schiff (00:27:35):
They put him in a fat suit too. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:27:36):
I know. He looks huge at that.
Mark Schiff (00:27:38):
Terrible. But the little ponytail, I think it said he took him two hours every day to just dress him up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the thing down. He was hysterical on the absolutely hysterical. It was a good show. Michael Douglas. I
Fritz Coleman (00:27:48):
Love that show.
Mark Schiff (00:27:49):
So funny. I
Fritz Coleman (00:27:50):
Had, I I don't wanna get too medical about this, Louisiana, I don't mean to interrupt you, but since we're on the topic of being old in medical procedures, I was having a medical procedure that was, uh, located in the lower third of my body. And about two days before I went in for the procedure, I was watching the Comiskey method and they did a whole episode about this procedure. And Danny DeVito was the urologist.
Louise Palanker (00:28:11):
He's playing Tetris. That's
Fritz Coleman (00:28:13):
Great. <laugh>. It was hysterical. And it took all the tension out of my surgical
Louise Palanker (00:28:18):
Procedure. Oh my God. That's brilliant.
Fritz Coleman (00:28:19):
Mark Schiff (00:28:20):
Show. I remember Michael Douglas in one of the early episodes, he goes to the bathroom, he wakes up at night to go pee and you just hear like,
Louise Palanker (00:28:26):
Fritz Coleman (00:28:28):
That, that was probably the same episode. Yep.
Mark Schiff (00:28:30):
Yeah. Little drops coming out one at a time there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I wanted, you know, I I wanted to get a jacket down on the back. It says, uh, um, I have a swollen prostate. And when I'm standing at a urinal in a men's room, nobody will stand behind me. <laugh>, I can say, now I'm gonna be the person
Fritz Coleman (00:28:46):
Writing a check in a grocery store. I, I, I gotcha. That
Louise Palanker (00:28:49):
Makes sense. Now you wrote a book, uh, with Rich Scheider called I Killed. Oh, I loved it. And, uh, it's, it's great anecdotes, but I don't Have you read the Amazon reviews Mark?
Mark Schiff (00:29:00):
Yeah. Pretty good, right?
Louise Palanker (00:29:01):
Yeah. But I have one that I'd like to share. I don't know if you've read this one. It's entitled Solid Entertainment Question Mark. And this is the review. This is the perfect book to taint in your reading collection. If ever there were a book you'd like to taint this one is it, read it While Taking Care of Personal Business Sitting Down. Number two, at home you will learn something personal about the comedians. Each story from the road lasts just about as long as the average sitting down personal time anyway. This would also be the perfect book to read while deploying to the Middle East. There is a lot of downtime while waiting on flights or waiting on the next movement anywhere. I strongly recommend somebody in military unit purchase this book, read about comedy behind the lines, read comedian war stories, tuck this book somewhere in your rucksack or between your legs. Pull it out for your next portable toilet absentee ballot voting experience in a far away combat zone. You'll wish your business was as solid as this book. It is solid reading while you dream of a solid stool in a foreign land <laugh> perfect bathroom or combat zone reading material. If it came with a sealed plastic bag, I'd recommend reading this book while taking a long hot bath too.
Fritz Coleman (00:30:14):
Mark Schiff (00:30:16):
Absolutely true. This is, this book is the perfect bathroom book <laugh>. This
Fritz Coleman (00:30:19):
Is, but for those of us in the business, it, it's, it's like you have ptsd Remembering Bad Road Times. I hated the Road when I was as little as I did. It certainly didn't do it as much as you did. But it's so interesting. And you know, some comics are great writers. Barry Martyr, who writes for Jerry Seinfeld, I think wrote the funniest one in the book. I laughed out loud for 10 minutes reading that piece. It was hysterical.
Mark Schiff (00:30:43):
He's incredible. He's writing on Jerry's new movie now. Yeah, I heard
Fritz Coleman (00:30:46):
About that. So
Louise Palanker (00:30:46):
Did you ask people to submit or how does it work?
Mark Schiff (00:30:50):
So the book took three. The book took three years to, to, to finish. Okay. Took a long time. We would call up comedians. We knew practically everybody, and we would call people and say, listen, we're doing this book and do you ever wrote story? And they generally would say yes. And they would, we would either tape them over the phone and then we would edit it and fix it up. Or they would, very rarely would they write it themselves. Yeah. It was mostly through tape and stuff like that. And, and the, the more famous the person, um, the harder was to get a story because we had to go through agents and managers. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, Chris Rock gave us a wonderful story and he was, he was, he was beautiful with the whole thing. But I had to talk to his lawyer. His lawyer doesn't let him do anything. It must have cost Rock $20,000 to
Fritz Coleman (00:31:37):
<laugh>. Yeah. Because he takes a shot at a couple of people in there. He was probably protecting his client. Right?
Mark Schiff (00:31:42):
Yes. Yeah. It's, it was a great story. It was a story that, uh, helped sell the book in many ways. But, um, it's a young comedians read this book and they, this is like a bible to them about Yeah. About the road.
Louise Palanker (00:31:53):
Do you feel like comedians, maybe like soldiers are, have closer bonds with their buddies because they've all been through this combat and they've beared their souls on alone on a stage and then they travel together and it's easier to talk about stuff that matters. Cuz most guys that just play basketball together, they're kind of broy, but I think comedians just get emotionally tighter. Do you find that to be the case? Yes.
Mark Schiff (00:32:21):
I, I do. I, you know, when I, I came outta New York and we had a very friendly environment in New York. Yeah. We worked a lot of people helping each other with material jokes, giving each other ideas, going in, watching the other guy perform and supporting them. When I came out to California and I started doing a comedy stores, it, it was less supportive. Um, there was more drugs and more alcohol. We didn't have a lot of that in New York. So, um, the answer is yes. We got very close in New York and, um, we still remained close today. A lot of us were
Fritz Coleman (00:32:58):
A great class. Plus New York was a, uh, was a comedy furnace. What I mean is, New York audiences can be very tough, particularly late at night. You had to have it together, you know, I, I mean, right. You had to learn how to box in New York and edit and be fast and think quickly and handle hecklers. And I, I always, I, I remember, uh, uh, oh, his name will come to me in a second, but he, he was at mc at the Comedy Store. He was so good and so fast. And somebody said, that's his New York talking there, because he was so good at dealing with, you know, Aaron audience members and, uh, Richard Belzer, you know,
Mark Schiff (00:33:42):
Belzer Belzer was the catcher Rising Star. Yeah. He
Fritz Coleman (00:33:44):
Was the host of Catcher Rising Star, and did slap people to wine three, two or three times a night.
Mark Schiff (00:33:50):
<laugh>. So Bob Costa used to have an interview show, wasn't a sports show. He had an interview show, um, on N b nbc mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And one night I had Richard Belzer on, and he's talking to Belzer and he says to Belzer, so, um, who are some of the worst comedians you've ever you ever saw in your life? <laugh>. And Belzer goes, well, you know, I don't wanna start naming names. It's not right. And stance goes, uh, give us somebody. So Belzer goes, mark Schiff and Steve Middleman were the two worst comedians ever saw in my life when they first started. These guys were so awful. But over the years, they just got better and better. And they're such funny guys now. Yeah. He, he was right. We, it, the, the amount of courage it took for me to keep going up with what I had in the beginning, it was monumental.
Fritz Coleman (00:34:42):
That's why part of the title of your new book is Chutzpah.
Mark Schiff (00:34:45):
Chutzpah, by the way. Thank you very much for saying that correctly. Yeah,
Louise Palanker (00:34:48):
He did. He sped all over the microphone.
Fritz Coleman (00:34:50):
That was an exaggerated Presbyterian pronunciation of chutzpah.
Mark Schiff (00:34:53):
I spoke to a non G the other day. He said, uh, CHUs
Louise Palanker (00:34:57):
Mark Schiff (00:34:59):
He had no concept of how, and I said, no, you gotta pull a phlegm from your toes. <laugh> Hanukah cook. I am.
Louise Palanker (00:35:08):
Try to fill a DNA n a tube.
Fritz Coleman (00:35:10):
All right. So you did. I killed. Now let's talk about road stories that you have with a twist opening for Mr. Seinfeld.
Mark Schiff (00:35:20):
So probably my favorite one is, um, you know, Jerry likes cars, loves cars,
Louise Palanker (00:35:27):
Mark Schiff (00:35:28):
<laugh>, collection of Porsches, Mercedes, all the, so I'm in, I'm in the, uh, in, in Indianapolis with Jerry. And we always go for a walk in the afternoon and we, we see a sign that says, uh, muscle cars, like just out in the street. And Jerry goes, let's take a look. We go in there and this guy has the greatest collection of muscle cars on display. You've ever seen
Fritz Coleman (00:35:50):
GTOs GTOs and Chevy Chaves and all that
Mark Schiff (00:35:53):
Stuff? Yeah. And must and, and, and they look like they just came off the, uh, the conveyor, you know. So Jerry's talking to the owner and I'm walking around looking, and Jerry comes over to me and goes, uh, anyone you want, go ahead, pick one. Stop.
So I said, really? He goes, yeah, anyone you want. And then he leaves and goes back and talks to the guy. And I'm looking around and I landed on this, uh, I think it was like a 64 something g t o with four on the floor. And God, I, it was wrapped around me, like, like, like a, a silk coat. And I got out and I looked at it and I stepped back and I, that's the car. So I go over the jerry, he goes, where'd you decide? And I said, uh, I wanna thank you, but I can't take it. And he said, okay, let's go get, let's go to lunch. He didn't even ask me
Fritz Coleman (00:36:38):
One <laugh>, would he have bought the car or was he just
Mark Schiff (00:36:43):
Absolutely, no, he would've been a second. And we got outside and I'm thinking, it's too late for me to tell him. I changed my mind. I can't do it.
Fritz Coleman (00:36:49):
Mark Schiff (00:36:50):
So I get back to my hotel room and I call, uh, a friend of mine who's kind of a mentor. And I, I told him what happened. He says, are you outta your mind when somebody offers you a gift, you take it because it makes them happy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that give it to you, you're bringing them happiness. It's not just for you, it's for them too. So he goes, next time Jerry offers you a car, take it
Fritz Coleman (00:37:10):
<laugh>. Take the car and get 'em a brownie.
Mark Schiff (00:37:13):
So I said to, what are you crazy? Who offers a car twice? Once it's like, hit the lottery, but twice. This is insane. Jerry picks me up, we're going to a gig. He picks me up in this beautiful 19 82, 300 D Mercedes diesel, beautiful showroom condition. We're driving to, uh, the plane. And he says, you know, I'm thinking of selling it. You wanna buy it? So I said, no, I, I can't afford this. I, I don't have the extra money goes, eh, I'll tell you what, I'll give it to you. You want it? So I, I, now I hear my friend's voice, take the car, <laugh>. So I said, yeah, I'll take it. And he goes, good. And he goes, uh, one problem. The radio isn't working. Well, do you want me to fix it and give it to you? You wanna take it like this? So I said, fix the radio
Fritz Coleman (00:38:00):
Mark Schiff (00:38:01):
And two weeks later I got this car. And just, and that was about eight years ago. And about three weeks ago, Jerry was in town. I drove the car and went to pick him up and we went to dinner. And he was so happy to see that I was still enjoying the car.
Fritz Coleman (00:38:15):
What a cool thing. See, you made him happy. So you were open for him off and on for like 20 years.
Mark Schiff (00:38:19):
I'm still opening for him. We go back out in September.
Fritz Coleman (00:38:21):
What I, what I always respected about Seinfeld was that he wasn't afraid to use a really skillful comic in front of him. Somebody that could bring it almost as much as he could. Not all comics will do that. They want somebody, he's a lower mid-level, but, but he wants, somebody else wants to look over. He was always, you know, Tom Papa, you guys who have opened for him that were, you know, headliners on their own. I always thought that was cool
Louise Palanker (00:38:43):
Because he wants to hang out with someone he respects. No, that's, that becomes your road buddy.
Fritz Coleman (00:38:47):
It's about the hang. Yeah.
Mark Schiff (00:38:49):
He wants me to make the show great. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he doesn't, uh, want me to just piddle around out there.
Fritz Coleman (00:38:54):
How much time do you do in front of him?
Mark Schiff (00:38:57):
15, 20? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I'll tell you one other quick story with him. You got a minute? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you
Fritz Coleman (00:39:01):
No time left. I'm
Louise Palanker (00:39:02):
Sorry. Yeah. I'm sorry. I gotta interrupt you. So
Mark Schiff (00:39:04):
One night, uh, one afternoon I go out to lunch with Jerry. We're in, we're Toledo, so I can't remember exactly who we are. And, uh, we pass this little deli and he looks in the, the case there. And he goes to a guy, I have a tuna sandwich. I said, Jerry, that tuna doesn't look good. He goes, nah, I don't have it. And he eats it. So we always go to his room, me and the producer of the show, we go and meet him at his room. And there we go to the show. We get to his room, he's sitting at the little table like sweating, like, uh, go Jerry. Okay. He goes, uh, I was so sick. Uh, so sick. So the guy says, you want to cancel the show? He goes, do the show. So he's soaking wet, sweating. We help him up, change his shirt, and we're like walking him to the elevator. He's almost collapsing. Oh God. And we go, you wanna go to the hospital? No, I gotta do the show. Wow. So this is one of the most frightening things they say to me, alright Mark, this is what he want. It is 3000 people. They go, you go out there and just stay out there until Jerry's ready.
Fritz Coleman (00:40:07):
<laugh>, oh god.
Mark Schiff (00:40:08):
Fritz Coleman (00:40:10):
That open-ended thing's always dangerous. Wow.
Mark Schiff (00:40:12):
The 3000 people, we're not talking about 65 people in a club go out there and, you know, he goes, just stay out there. We'll, so I say, what do you mean? It could be he go, I don't know, it might be 20 minutes, it might be 40, might be an hour. Just, just go out there. <laugh>,
Louise Palanker (00:40:24):
<laugh> bring a book.
Mark Schiff (00:40:25):
Yeah. So I, I saw, I walk out there and, and I, I, I was out there 40 minutes and it was a great show cuz I got the stuff, but it was so frightening. Not knowing maybe I'll be outta here an hour and 10. So you gotta on the spot. He's trying to figure out what am I gonna do? I guess I got another 17 minutes left.
Fritz Coleman (00:40:43):
Louise Palanker (00:40:44):
Yeah. That was, so what happened? Did he, did he throw up or he
Mark Schiff (00:40:46):
Came out? Great question. He came out and he did one of the best shows I've ever seen him do. Awesome. He got his act together, got got feeling good and went out there and just gave it everything. And he was tremendous that night. Three
Louise Palanker (00:40:59):
New bad tuna jokes.
Mark Schiff (00:41:01):
Fritz Coleman (00:41:01):
Really? A disciplined performer and a disciplined writer. Right. He, I mean, he, he's like a, he, he, he, he's even said this, he treats it like he's a businessman. He sits down at a precise mo. He has a bowl of cereal for breakfast. That's it. And then he sits down and he writes for a, a block of time every single day. Road or otherwise, right?
Mark Schiff (00:41:21):
Yeah. And he writes on a yellow legal pad. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Did you, did you, I don't know if you saw a special Oh yeah,
Fritz Coleman (00:41:26):
Mark Schiff (00:41:27):
He puts out this whole block. They took off and he lays down on the street, the yellow pages. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> <affirmative>. So he's still, we're backstage. Every uh, every time we're backstage, he has a yellow pad out and he's going over his notes or making new notes or asking what is you think of this? Or, and then afterwards we go over some new routines and, uh, I try to give him stuff. And, uh, every once in a while gets in there. He is. Got a good one. You know,
Louise Palanker (00:41:49):
What's his style with folks who approach him in public
Mark Schiff (00:41:54):
If they're nice, he doesn't like when they, and who does when they, you know, walk over and just start touching him? Yeah. You know, nobody likes that. No. Um, he's always great to kids. And, um, if they're willing to wait, he won't give pictures, really. But if he's willing to wait, uh, he'll sign autographs. Like if we were having dinner or something like that, he'll go, just gimme a couple of minutes. And he's always incredibly nice to people.
Fritz Coleman (00:42:18):
So talk about the typical gig. He flies a private plane. So, okay, we're going to Toledo to the, uh, Elks Club. Yeah. Meet me at the Van Nuys airport. It's you and Jerry and an attractive stewards in a pile. A pilot. That's it. Right?
Mark Schiff (00:42:34):
No steward. There's no, no. Uh, we, they stock the plane, the plane with food.
Fritz Coleman (00:42:39):
Does he own a plane or does he lease
Mark Schiff (00:42:41):
A plane? Oh, he rents from, uh, uh, Netex, I believe. Okay. So I'll tell you a great story about that. We get on the plane and, um, he always, his, his, uh, assistant knows what he wants stored on the plane, what kind of food. So we get on the plane and we're about to take off, and he's looking for his thing to eat and it's not there. So he calls his assistant and says, listen, I, I, I, you know, I ordered this thing, it's not here. And, uh, I don't know what happened. She goes, oh boy, I ordered it. I don't know what happened. We, two hours later, we land somewhere and when we land, get off the plane, there's somebody waiting with what he ordered originally. Wow. And go, here, here's your lock and bagels. Yeah. Wow. That is a moment. That's a great moment
Fritz Coleman (00:43:25):
Really? Is that we, you, you know, you've made it at that
Mark Schiff (00:43:27):
Point. Yeah. That, I'll tell you a funny story. One night we, uh, were in Minneapolis, it's midnight. I'm there with him, Kevin Doctorman and the runway, it's midnight, it's freezing Minneapolis winter, it's snowing. The runway is filled with snow and we're about ready to take off and the pilot starts taking off. And then right before we take off, he aborts the fry. Oh. And we're skidding all over the runway and spinning around. And we're sitting there. And it was, it was a moment. And the pilot comes back and this is what he says. He goes, sorry about what happened. The dashboard lit up red. And it said, I had engine problems. He goes, but I don't think they're really engine problems. Oh my God. I think that the light was a mis uh, you know, fire. And I think we're probably okay, but I'm gonna leave it to you guys if you want to go <laugh>.
Speaker 4 (00:44:20):
Fritz Coleman (00:44:21):
This is like a buddy Holly, uh,
Mark Schiff (00:44:24):
Unbelievable sweat is pouring off of me with this question,
Speaker 4 (00:44:29):
Mark Schiff (00:44:30):
And so Jerry goes, uh, yeah, let's go
Speaker 5 (00:44:34):
Mark Schiff (00:44:34):
And then Kevin goes, puts the thumb up. He goes, go for it. Then they look at me and I go, yeah, I don't know. You know,
Speaker 5 (00:44:43):
Mark Schiff (00:44:44):
I don't know, you know, if I were so Jerry very nicely. He goes, listen, this is the deal. If you wanna get off, you can get off. And then in the morning, just take a commercial flight and just meet me. No problem. You will pay for everything if you, if you're worried about it. So I said, uh, all right, I'll go now. I'm really nervous, I'm sweating. And you know, when you're nervous to start talking a little mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I say to Jerry, um, how long is this fight? He goes, no more than two minutes. Which made me laugh, my head off because what he said is, we're going down immediately, so don't
Talk about Go ahead. It was a little rough when we took off. Uh, the, the thing was bouncing. I go, oh God. Anyway, we were fine. Of course. And uh, but that was a moment, wasn't it? You?
Fritz Coleman (00:45:37):
So let's talk about nervous moments in airplanes and everything. You performed. You, you were in Alaska doing a gig on nine 11.
Mark Schiff (00:45:44):
I was, I was doing a ship, a uh, cruise ship. I was with my friend Dave Marel, and I'm asleep on nine 11 and the phone in my little cabin rings and Dave says, you've been watching tv. I said, no, I've been asleep. He goes, turn it on. And I see that the, uh, world Trade Centers were taken down and I, I, I don't know what I'm watching really. You know, cuz we don't know what's, what's going on. I have no idea. So anyway, um, everything unfolds. We're finding out a little bit what's going on, but I'm in Alaska. My family's in California. I actually got through to my wife on the phone and she says she's okay and you don't know if it's gonna happen there, whatever. So the cruise director, I'm supposed to perform the next day, nine 12. And by the way, the captain, you ever been on one of these ships? They, they're, they're, they're, they have this Norwegian, German little accent. Oh yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:46:35):
Arkansas back to the late thirties. It's
Mark Schiff (00:46:36):
A completely, and I don't do accents, but he goes, uh, Davis and gentlemen, <laugh>, I have some very bad news. America is at va. Oh my. That's what he says. He announces to 1700 people. America's at war. Oh my God. And we're in Alaska. And you know, meanwhile, it's beautiful there. It's the most peaceful place you can ever imagine. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I go to the cruise director, I said, you know, goes the next day I saw him cause he was very busy on nine 11. Next day I see him and I go, uh, we got a show tonight. Uh, what do you wanna do? He goes, well, we'll do it. Really? I mean, it's, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>. He goes, no, no. We'll we'll we'll do it. People, uh, yeah, they're here. And I did the show. Let me tell you something. They were pretty good. Um,
Fritz Coleman (00:47:23):
Did you address it in the show? I,
Mark Schiff (00:47:24):
I addressed it at the end of the show and I said, uh, we all know what happened. And it's good to laugh, but we gotta keep in mind cause we don't know what's going on there. And, uh, you know, let's pray for the guys and, and for the, the, the country. And, uh, everybody did. We took a moment there, but it was at the end of the act, they did it. And they were, they were much better than they thought they would be considering what was going on.
Fritz Coleman (00:47:45):
It was a release in a diversion.
Mark Schiff (00:47:47):
Yeah. Wow. So that was, um, but we've all had things happen. I, I dunno if you ever had, I had a guy, uh, dropped dead at my show. Oh no. Yeah, he just fell off a chair and, uh, and, and then it took 40 minutes to take him out. And then we just continued on with the show. I mean, I've had people, uh, you know, pass out and fall over
Fritz Coleman (00:48:12):
At these prices.
Mark Schiff (00:48:12):
It's the type of comedy I do. Once they hear me, they just drop dead.
Fritz Coleman (00:48:15):
Well, well, what's your writing process like? We talked about Seinfeld. Are you a disciplined writer? Do you write every day?
Mark Schiff (00:48:20):
I am now. Yeah. Um, it took me years. Wh when I first start, I was very disciplined. Every night I would get home from the club and I, I had a tape recorder look cassette deck, and I'd listened to it and, and rewrite the bit night after night after night after night. And the tape recorder is your greatest friend as a standup comedian. Course. It's the only thing that doesn't lie to you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> friends. Lie your family, uh, you friends. That's a great fear. So fun. Now listen to the tape recorder. How funny you're
Fritz Coleman (00:48:50):
Yeah. Yeah. You're,
Mark Schiff (00:48:52):
You know, the audience in the tape recorder. Those are the two things. Um, but I started writing some years back, I started writing plays and my standup and I became pretty disciplined. I, I just love sitting in a room by myself doing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now I write practically every day. Wow. I, that's how I wrote my, my new book. And, uh, I
Fritz Coleman (00:49:14):
Just, what, what, what? And, and not, we're gonna talk about your book and I, uh, and I wanna talk about your podcast too, but what, what in your standup attracts you? What, what, what is a subject matter, which is great for the mark shift, take for a standup act? You don't, you're not, you don't do politics generally, and a lot of current events material, but what attracts you
Mark Schiff (00:49:34):
And I I we're clean. I don't curse. No, I know. So we're clean and I, I, I, I do no politics. Um, I love talking about family, wife, kids. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> parents, relationships. I just, I love it because I'm always trying to figure out what's going on, you know, with, with the wife and the thing. And, uh, you know, the other, you know, the way to keep a marriage going, by the way, is, uh, restraint the pen and tongue. Don't ever write anything nasty and give it to them and don't say what you're thinking. Like the other day I was looking at my wife, I thinking, I gotta throw out the window. I just, I just got to, I gotta toss so you know what to do. I keep the window closed, <laugh>, so I don't, yeah. Yeah. But it's all about that stuff. And then, uh, you know, we come up with our observations of, uh, of, I was thinking the other day, I thought of one yesterday, say, you know, people with China, you know, these people aren't gonna change. They haven't even tried to use a fork in 2000 years, <laugh>. So when you're trying to make these people change, forget about it.
Louise Palanker (00:50:41):
<laugh>. Yeah. They're pretty set in their ways. What sad with, so Mark, uh, do comedians make good parents?
Mark Schiff (00:50:49):
I think it's, it's an individual thing, you know. Um, yeah. It's, uh, I, I worked on that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I really, I, I actually read books and took classes and studied that stuff. I made a decision early on, you know, my wife used to breastfeed and, uh, at night I would get up and have to go and get the baby and hand it to her. And rather than complain that I was being woken up in the middle of the night, I thought, this is a little private moment I'll have with the kid. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'll never get back again. So I, I, I, I kept that type of thinking. And
Louise Palanker (00:51:23):
You ca and you write about that in your blog, on your website. You write about, you know, if someone asks you to do, go do something. Even if you don't talk, go. Cuz it just enjoy being with the people you love.
Mark Schiff (00:51:35):
Yeah. That's, that's, that's a big thing cuz we're not here forever. And, uh, yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:51:40):
You have three sons. You've been married. I three
Mark Schiff (00:51:42):
And I asked them a question, by the way, more than twice. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> probably three times in their lives. When they got older, I said, listen, laid on me. How was your childhood?
Louise Palanker (00:51:52):
Mark Schiff (00:51:53):
Let me have it right now. Where did I go wrong? Where did I go? Oh wow. What do you want? That's brave. You know?
Fritz Coleman (00:51:58):
Well, you gave him a gift to allow themselves, to be honest with you.
Mark Schiff (00:52:01):
Yeah. And for the most part, I came across pretty good. You know, really good. Had one son that complained about me forcing him to go to a school he didn't want to go to. Uh uh. But, uh, other than that, uh, they didn't have many, uh, many complaints, which is a, a nice thing. Are
Fritz Coleman (00:52:17):
You funny to them?
Louise Palanker (00:52:19):
Yeah. Or do they think you're funny?
Mark Schiff (00:52:21):
I have one son that they always complain. My, my other two of my sons complain that I, I favor the third, this other one because you know why he laughs at everything. I say, we
Fritz Coleman (00:52:34):
Love this son.
Louise Palanker (00:52:35):
Yeah. He's my favorite too.
Fritz Coleman (00:52:37):
Mark Schiff (00:52:37):
Will, sorry guys. Yeah. So the other ones go, they'll look at him and go, what are you laughing so much? Like an idiot and everything. He says, you know, it's a great, so I went to a shrink once and uh, I said, you know, the whole family thinks I favor this one guy. He goes, if they all think so, then you probably do <laugh>.
Louise Palanker (00:52:56):
Wow. It's like, it's like teacher's pet.
Mark Schiff (00:53:00):
Yeah. Or something. And by the way, I don't love one more than the other, but sometimes everyone has a different quality that you, uh, are kind of p chip.
Louise Palanker (00:53:09):
They also have different ways of reacting to their dad being funny because this one kid had laughs. He's got nothing at stake. He can just laugh because that's his personality. The other ones might be thinking, am I ever gonna be this funny? How do I measure up to this guy? Like, you know, everyone has stuff going on and it informs whether or not they laugh out loud. They know It's funny. We
Mark Schiff (00:53:31):
Just had a water fight, uh, two days ago. And what's today, Tuesday, Sunday. They brought the little one over the, uh, two year-old grandchild. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and me and my oldest son were squirting a hose at each other, getting each other's soak and weather. It was, it was fantastic.
Fritz Coleman (00:53:43):
Oh my God. The cloud probably went bananas.
Mark Schiff (00:53:45):
Let me tell you what they did to me. Oh, the kid went berserk, uh, maybe about 10 years ago. Uh, it's my birthday, you know, the whole, all the kids come over and my wife is there and they give me a little present and then they give me an envelope. And then there's three lottery tickets. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, scratch offs. They go here, good luck. And I scratch off one, two and everything. And then I scratch off the third one and you gotta match three.
Fritz Coleman (00:54:09):
Mark Schiff (00:54:10):
<affirmative>. I got 10,000. 10,000. I need one more. I still got four openings. Last one. 10,000. I three, 10,000. Whoa.
Louise Palanker (00:54:19):
Mark Schiff (00:54:20):
I look, I go, this is unbelievable. And my wife and I were thinking about buying a car that weekend. I go, honey, we what? $10,000? That's unbelievable. And I'm outta my mind <laugh>, all of a sudden the kids start laughing. I go, what's so funny? They gave me a phony lottery ticket. Oh my God.
Fritz Coleman (00:54:38):
That's wrong. That's just
Mark Schiff (00:54:39):
Wrong. From, from eBay. You can buy these tickets that are duplicates of the exact lottery tickets that is scratch off. That is jacked.
Louise Palanker (00:54:45):
Mark Schiff (00:54:46):
Wrong. Ah, freaking kids. I took 'em right out of the will the next day,
Fritz Coleman (00:54:51):
<laugh>. Wow. What, what do you, you know, we're in a really volatile time, a toxic time. Even Jerry said on a talk show that we're so politically corrected, we're so steeped in this cancel culture. He doesn't even like to do college campuses anymore cuz everybody's oversensitive. Where do you feel we are, where do you feel the role of a comic is right now? There are two sides. You can be the guy that speaks truth to power. You gotta be Dave Chappelle or you can be a guy. And I find I, I find myself more in this category who just wants to take people out of their heads for an hour, make them feel good and, you know, deflect their attention from the carers of their lives.
Mark Schiff (00:55:32):
Right. I I I'm more in your court. And I think, uh, so it's Jerry and, uh, you know, Chappelle is, is an, is an oddity in that sense. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like Marlin and those guys, they're, they're willing to, uh, go deep into the, uh, the, uh, the waters. It's never been my thing. My thing has been an entertainer, but I, but I don't like what's going on. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that said, I don't like people telling me what I can and can't say. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like it when I was, uh, five years old and I don't like it, uh, now and they have no right to say it. The, if they don't like it, leave, ask for your money back channel. But leave me alone.
Louise Palanker (00:56:09):
Yeah. Do you guys, uh, guys in your, in your, uh, class of comedians, do you guys discuss how you're gonna present yourselves on social media? Because that was, is that, that's not native to you guys. And so that was something that came along that you had to kind of figure out. Is that something you'd discuss?
Mark Schiff (00:56:24):
No. No. We, we all have our own thing and, uh, you know, we're all aware of what's going on. So we know if we're gonna go into a, you know, I mean, I remember Jerry posted one thing once or put up a picture and people didn't like it and they were all over 'em. So there's always people have nothing to do. Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but spend time trying to ruin other people's lives. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> people exist. They, they're just mean. They go, I'll get this guy. You know, they even know who they are. So, uh, you know, let them be, listen, I do a lot of wife stuff. I can be called a, uh, what's the word? Misogynist. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, because I, uh, I talk about my wife and, uh, you know, certain way that is a bit old fashioned. So far it hasn't happened. But, uh, it might
Louise Palanker (00:57:11):
Do you run it by her before you do the joke ever?
Mark Schiff (00:57:14):
No, my wife's, uh, very nice Jewish wife. She only cares that I make money. And, uh, her alone, Don Rick Rickles used to say, they go, how's your wife? I dunno if she drowned. She put all our jewelry on, drowned in the pool, <laugh>, you know, so, uh, <laugh>, she's lying at the bottom of the pool at all our jewelry on. So, um, my wife's the greatest. No, she doesn't care. People come over there after the show and they'll say, does it bother you? Talks like that about you. I don't say anything nasty about her, but, uh, you know, I'm, I'm a beleaguered husband,
Louise Palanker (00:57:45):
But I think people, you know, you must hear from people who can relate. Men relate to men and women
Mark Schiff (00:57:49):
In a second. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, every guy that sees it goes, how do you know my wife, ah,
Louise Palanker (00:57:54):
Mark Schiff (00:57:55):
You know, you remember who, um, um, Sam Kenon used to date that, uh, woman from China. Uh, you remember her,
Fritz Coleman (00:58:03):
He always stated women's in duplicates where they would be twins, they would be pole dancing, twins, <laugh>, they would be escort twins. He always had two women that looked almost identical. I remember
Mark Schiff (00:58:12):
That. There was one, they
Fritz Coleman (00:58:13):
Mark Schiff (00:58:14):
But there was one lady from China and she hardly spoke English. And one night at the Comedy store, she comes up now she had just moved to America from China. Her parents owned and worked in a rice field. They'd never been outta there. That's what they did. She came over to me and she said, after watching my act, she goes, how do you know my mother?
Louise Palanker (00:58:35):
Wow. Wow, wow. So universal.
Mark Schiff (00:58:38):
Universal. Yeah. Her mother in the rice field did say my little Jewish mother in the Bronx.
Fritz Coleman (00:58:43):
But I'm just curious about how she hooked up with Sam Kenon. That seems like a cultural divide that wouldn't be crossed. Sam.
Mark Schiff (00:58:49):
Last time I saw Sam, uh, it was at the, uh, the comedy store in in in at the Dunes. You remember they had,
Fritz Coleman (00:58:56):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course.
Mark Schiff (00:58:58):
So I went backstage to see Dan Sam and say hello. And he was already out of his mind. And by the way, when I first started, he was the nicest guy to me. Oh yeah. So sweet. He
Fritz Coleman (00:59:07):
Was actually a very sweet man. And he's another guy. And I want you to finish his story, who learned, because he was an evangelical preacher and he learned all of his stagecraft by learning how to whip an audience into a frenzy. And that was 50% of his act.
Mark Schiff (00:59:22):
Yeah. He went into it being a great performer. Yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. He had been doing that for years. So I'm backstage. And Sam had already lost his mind with the drugs and the drinking and, and we had tried to help him get sober, but, uh, it took for a little while, but it didn't really last. Uh, although he was sober when he was killed, you know, he was killed by a drunk driver. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is strange. Um, so he is backstage and you remember Angel Salazar?
Fritz Coleman (00:59:46):
Mark Schiff (00:59:48):
So Sam pulls out a gun and says, I'm gonna kill Angel tonight.
Fritz Coleman (00:59:51):
Mark Schiff (00:59:52):
Yeah. And he's got this gun backstage and, you know, he was upset at Angel because Angel had gone out with some woman that sandwich, and that was the type of insanity that was mm-hmm. <affirmative> circling around his head at that point. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's what the, you know, drugs and alcohol and paranoia will do to you. Absolutely.
Fritz Coleman (01:00:09):
You have no, he was a very sweet man. I used to do a TV show called It's Fritz. Uh, you might have been on that show. Sure.
Mark Schiff (01:00:14):
Fritz Coleman (01:00:15):
So you were, it was on after Saturday Night Live, and he was a guest on there, and it was a big deal to get Sam and he showed up again with the, uh, the pole twins. And, uh, and he, he hadn't been to sleep or to bed in like four days, and he always wore that tweed overcoat and he smelled awful. Yeah. And it just made me so sad. And his face was drawn. I said, how can his heart stand this? But he was just a lovely guy. He, I, I think he, he, he had a great soul that became clouded, as you say, by all of his abuse. I'm still in touch with his brother, bill, who managed him and, uh, and Bill's wife. They used to own a theater in Upland, which was a great place to perform. But Bill moved back to Texas. He lives
Mark Schiff (01:01:02):
A book about Sam. Yeah,
Fritz Coleman (01:01:03):
Yeah. He's a great guy.
Mark Schiff (01:01:05):
How Sam got booze in the middle of the night, you know, and everything was closed at like 2:00 AM in la uh, if he wanted more booze, he would rent a limousine and it would come stocked.
Louise Palanker (01:01:14):
Mark Schiff (01:01:15):
Fritz Coleman (01:01:15):
That's so funny. That's really interesting. He
Louise Palanker (01:01:17):
Is always thinking.
Fritz Coleman (01:01:19):
Yeah. And you know, before he became famous, he was the manager of the Westwood Comedy Store. I, and nobody got Sam, you know, this is before they said, oh, this is a, this is an act. He just scared the crap outta people. And so at the end of the night when it was time to close up, it was last call, Sam would go up and do his act and clear the place out like 10 minutes. Yeah. They'd be out on the street.
Louise Palanker (01:01:39):
There are acts like that where no one gets them. They clear a room and then all of a sudden, boom. And usually they're comedians comedian, because comedians have seen 'em enough to get it. Yeah. And the comedians are standing in the back and it's like this kind of donut situation where the comedian's hilarious to the comedians. And then the crowd is annoyed that the comedians are laughing and they, they walk out. But like, once the crowd catches on to what, you know, what it is, it, it can be the biggest thing ever because it's so innovative. Yeah. And that's what was clearing the room in the first place.
Fritz Coleman (01:02:09):
Course, Sammy, go ahead. Pardon?
Mark Schiff (01:02:11):
You know, at the Comedy store, when I first, uh, got out there in 84, Sam was going on at, uh, you know, one o'clock in the morning to 12 people mm-hmm. <affirmative> every night, you know. Um, and then one day he just clicked. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (01:02:23):
I'm fascinated not only by your class of comics, which are the pristine class, they're like the
Mark Schiff (01:02:30):
Fritz Coleman (01:02:30):
Comics, the student council of comics. Yeah. <laugh>, but also the, the, the comedy environment back there you had Catch, you had Carolines, you had, what else was there? Where, where were improv? The improv? Yeah.
Mark Schiff (01:02:43):
Co, uh, comic strip. Mm-hmm.
<affirmative> Co. Carolines came a little later on mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, but we had the, the, the Improv Catcher, rising Star and the comic Strip. And then we had, uh, clubs downtown. We had a place called the Triple In one night. I was brand new. I, I'd been doing it about two years. I'll tell you two quickies. I get off stage. Kenny, this guy Kenny, owned this place called the Triple In on 54th Street right across, literally right across the street from Studio 54. Wow. And, um, I get off stage and I'm kind of new and I didn't do very well. And the guy says, uh, the owner goes, Hey Mark, let me just say something. Y you material is shit, and you have no personality <laugh>
Fritz Coleman (01:03:22):
Other than that,
Mark Schiff (01:03:24):
I'll see you tomorrow. So <laugh> one night, Gilbert, God bless him, he's rest in peace. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Gilbert used to do this routine about people that died in his arms. He would go, you know, I was there with Kennedy and I remember holding him and the thing, <laugh>, he would do this whole thing that he was, you know, like a, uh, you know, there. So one night we're at the Triple In and Gilbert's on stage, and he talks about, there's an actor named Sal Mink. You remember Sal? Oh
Fritz Coleman (01:03:53):
Mark Schiff (01:03:53):
Course. Oh yeah. Sal was murdered. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and Gilbert goes into Revel
Fritz Coleman (01:03:57):
Without a cause he was a very talented actor.
Mark Schiff (01:03:59):
Yeah. Very talented with James Dean and all those guys. He was just great. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So Gilbert goes in the host thing about Sao dying in his arms and Sal's last words and what they were. And all of a sudden this woman is sitting in, starts screaming and yelling, and it's Sal Romeo's sister. Oh
Fritz Coleman (01:04:16):
My God. Wow. Oh my God.
Mark Schiff (01:04:18):
And Sally had just been murdered like three weeks earlier. And this was like a first night out ever. And they had to restrain this woman, like, get Gilbert outta there so fast. They would say it was horrific. And she just kept screaming, this is my brothers murdered <laugh>. I'm not, I don't mean to laugh over. No, I
Fritz Coleman (01:04:35):
Get it. He was a brave soul man. He was a brave soul. I remember him after nine 11 doing the roast on Comedy Central. And he and he, he did the joke about a nine 11 joke, and it bombed horribly. So he went right into the Arista cats into the
Mark Schiff (01:04:48):
Right. I'll tell you an interesting thing with him. Uh, Gilbert and I, when we first started, we cannot get on stage, but you show up at the club anyway, to pay your allegiance, put your time in mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we would go to the improv on 44th Street and ninth Avenue in Manhattan, 10 30. We know, we, we haven't gotten on yet. We know we're not getting on that night. Larry, David just walks in and this guy walks in and Bobby Kelton walks in and boom, all these guys that are way ahead of us. So we walk, we do this like five nights a week. We'd walk from 44th and ninth to 77th and first mm-hmm. <affirmative> to catch arising stars about three miles. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, think about an hour to walk up there. We wouldn't get on there either, but we would show our allegiance one night. We're about one o'clock in the morning, central Park, C East, fifth Avenue, we see coming towards just two guys. And I look and I go, Hey Gilbert, there's Woody Allen. It's one o'clock in the morning. Woody is walking in the street with another guy. It turned out to be Marshall Brickman.
Fritz Coleman (01:05:47):
Oh yeah. His co-writer.
Mark Schiff (01:05:48):
Yeah. We get real close to them. I go, Hey, Woody, and it's one o'clock in the morning, central Park. We could be too frigging muggers and Woody's nerves. He, you know, and he starts backing up and I, I just said this. I said, Woody, we're comedians. We just left the improv. We're on our way to catch arising star. And that calmed Woody down
Fritz Coleman (01:06:10):
Mark Schiff (01:06:10):
We were legitimate. So I said to him and Gilbert's there, I said, listen, we'd love to talk to you sometime. Can you make a little time, spend a little time talking about comedy? And he goes, come to Michael's pub next Monday. That's where he played clarinet every Right, right, right. Years. Come to Michael's pub, I'll spend, I'll, I'll talk with you. We go there that next Monday we go over to him. He goes, listen, I'm a little busy. Please come back in two weeks. I'm sorry. We come back in two weeks, we get a table. He sits down with us.
Fritz Coleman (01:06:38):
Oh my God.
Mark Schiff (01:06:39):
And he goes, this is how he opens. He goes, if you want to tell me how good I am, how funny I am, how much you like me, let's stop the conversation right now. If you want to talk comedy, let's do it. And we have a 40 minute conversation on, on the artist standup comedy. Oh, wow. And Jack Rollins was his manager. Rollins
Fritz Coleman (01:06:57):
Joffey. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Mark Schiff (01:06:59):
Yep. I, when I told Jack who I knew that Woody talked to us in the street and then met with us, he couldn't believe it. He said, Woody never did that for anybody. Some reason he liked you guys or you, he
Fritz Coleman (01:07:13):
Was thankful you didn't beat him up going up to 75th Street or
Mark Schiff (01:07:16):
Whatever. And we just had a great time. And, and that's great. Talking back to your story about writing, that's one of the things he talked about the importance of writing mm-hmm. Writing every day. Um,
Fritz Coleman (01:07:27):
Being, he writes on a legal pad too. Lying on his bed, which kills
Mark Schiff (01:07:30):
Me. Right. He doesn't, or a regular typewriter. He doesn't use a computer. No. But he writes by hand and he talked about being prepared to go on the talk shows like Johnny Carson. He said, I knew every second of everything I was gonna do. I was completely prepared. The questions were there. And he goes, when you go out there, you really better know what you, you you're gonna do.
Louise Palanker (01:07:51):
It's all really good
Mark Schiff (01:07:51):
Fritz Coleman (01:07:52):
And he ended up just really being allergic to standing up. He didn't like it later. Right. And I don't know if it was a stage fright thing or he just didn't like the, the art of it after he started making movies and stuff.
Mark Schiff (01:08:03):
Yeah. He, it, it just didn't, uh, traveling and the this and Vegas and because he was, he was hit or miss. His albums are hysterical. He was hysterical. But you know, there were nights he would go out in Vegas and they just went by the little Nehi Jewish guy, which he never was. That was a character that he created. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Bob Hope. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (01:08:22):
<affirmative>. He credits Bob Hope he, he credits Bob Hope with having supplied him the character. He just updated the jokes and made it the fish outta water. Kind of a, a, a genre.
Mark Schiff (01:08:33):
He, he did a short little, they honored Bob Hope at Lincoln Center one night I was there and Woody made about a 10 or 15 minute film comparing Bob Hope's movies to his movies and showed the similarities. Wow. Wow. Interesting. Between his character and Bob Hope's characters quite a little. A nice little night when they honored Bob Hope there.
Louise Palanker (01:08:53):
Hey Mark, did you realize that you are on our 100th show?
Mark Schiff (01:09:00):
Louise Palanker (01:09:00):
Not. It's a little celebratory today in here we have some pastries, Doina, where did you, where what are we gonna be enjoying? And Mark, if you were here
Fritz Coleman (01:09:08):
While she goes to get the baked goods from Porto's in Los Los Angeles, that means that she spent $940 on donuts. I
Louise Palanker (01:09:14):
Don't have a car for you, mark, but I do have a pastry
Mark Schiff (01:09:18):
If you come over. Listen, that's, that's,
Louise Palanker (01:09:20):
So the legendary Portos. Okay. Um, the one I go to is in, um, in Burbank. There's a few locations now, I think the original in
Fritz Coleman (01:09:29):
The way Magnolia Boulevard. Mm-hmm.
<affirmative>. Yeah. Is that yours, Fred?
Louise Palanker (01:09:33):
What is on our platter?
So, um, we have an Almond Crossant. Wow. Uh, pineapple empanada. Uh, what's that one over Mark? The famous guava and cheese strudel. I had that, uh, fruit Tart Mango Mose. And I believe that's like a French opera cake. They call it
Louise Palanker (01:09:53):
Fritz Coleman (01:09:54):
It's a little too highfalutin for me. If you Hey, while we're waiting for the baked goods, tell us about your podcast. You don't know Schiff
Mark Schiff (01:10:00):
By the way. Let me just tell you about bakeries very quickly. There's one called Magnolia. Have you ever heard of it? No. Yeah. Okay. Famous New York. Sure. Magnolia's on, I think third Street, like off of Laga. Something. You've never seen anything like this. This is unbelievable. This place.
Fritz Coleman (01:10:17):
Well, we were surprised, uh, Dina could get into Porto's, cuz I've never been there when there wasn't a line around the block to get in
Louise Palanker (01:10:23):
There. Do they have a mobile app?
Uh, I think they use Chow now.
Louise Palanker (01:10:27):
Okay. Chow Now tell
Fritz Coleman (01:10:28):
Us about your podcast, my friend.
Mark Schiff (01:10:31):
You don't know Schiff, right? And we worked for a month and a half coming up with that title. It's the easiest title in the world, but that, that's what ha We came up with thousands of titles and finally hit on You Don't Know Schiff. And I do it with Little Benjamin, my, uh, co-host. There you go. There is Little Benjamin. And you've
Fritz Coleman (01:10:47):
Had great guests on there.
Mark Schiff (01:10:48):
Yeah. Ane and Riser. Suzy Yaman. Robert Wall. Seinfeld's gonna do it. We just dropped George, uh, George Wallace this week. We have a two evenings. Bobby Slayton. You're right, sir. We have, uh, yeah. Um, Maurice Lamar, who does 500 Voices. I know
Fritz Coleman (01:11:05):
It. Yeah. Canadian guy. He used to open for Howie Mandela in Concert Village.
Mark Schiff (01:11:08):
That's right. That's right. And this guy named Joey Feldman, who's an artist, and he, he's on there. Um, Joey's an interesting story because he was homeless living in a TV crate. And, uh, he's one of the most successful artists now around
Fritz Coleman (01:11:22):
What, do you do this from your home? Or do you go to a podcast?
Mark Schiff (01:11:24):
I do it from right where I am now. My office. I'm in this little, uh, my little office here. This is, uh,
Fritz Coleman (01:11:30):
This my little, yeah, look at that.
Louise Palanker (01:11:31):
Oh, thank you for the tour. That's lovely. You've just been a delight. Mark. We would love to
Fritz Coleman (01:11:35):
Have you always love working with you, my friend. You're one of the nicest guys, and you have great, very entertaining stories. And I love your standup because you, you do, you have, I don't wanna say a hang dog expression, but a dead pan expression that delivers your snappers, like, boom.
Louise Palanker (01:11:51):
All right. Here come your closing credits. Thank you so much for joining us. We would love to continue this conversation with you on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where our show page is, media Path Podcast. And our Facebook group is Media Path with Fritz and Weezy podcast community. You could find full video podcast episodes loaded with bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. You can write to us at Media Path email@example.com. If you enjoy the show, please give us a nice rating in Apple Podcasts and talk about us on social media. You can sign up for our fun and dishy firstname.lastname@example.org. And we wanna thank our wonderful guest, mark Schiff. Our team includes Dean of Friedman, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman and Mark Schiff. And we'll see you along the media path.