Iconic Comic, Boy Meets Walt & More Showbiz Magic: An Interview w/ Wendy Liebman and Jeffrey Sherman
On Media Path, we interview some of the most accomplished and knowledgeable people in their field. These conversations help us understand fascinating ideas and major historical events and place them in a context that helps us see the world more clearly. Our focus is to pave a way for listeners to become as well-acquainted as they like to be on a subject and to facilitate eye-opening discussions. But our hosts, Louise and Fritz, beyond being voracious readers and possessing what seems like a limitless thirst for knowledge, are also very, very funny people. It was such a pleasure, then, that we were able to welcome husband and wife entertainment industry greats Wendy Liebman and Jeffrey Sherman to the show, to help us tap into our hosts comedy roots and bring to you an hour of pure joy and laughter that will resonate with anyone who has a special place in their heart for stand-up comedy and showbiz magic.
“Perform for the people in the studio audience,” Wendy says, relaying a piece of advice she received from Steven Wright when she was shooting her cable comedy specials in the ‘90s, “Don’t think about the millions of people watching on TV.” On the video clip we played during the show, you can see she has taken those words to heart, her unique comedy style is characterized by wordplay and well-placed pauses, but there’s more, a rapport she instantly establishes, a familiar and comfortable space she creates and invites you into, where you surrender all of your attention while also feeling fully acknowledged.
Wendy shares her quarantine activities with us and how making video updates which she posts on social media helps keep her grounded. Just like on stage, online she has drawn fans in and created a community, one where she helps to uplift its members, and they in turn give her a sense of being needed, something she is thoroughly grateful for in these uncertain times. Wendy has a deep appreciation of interpersonal connections, which she describes as an integral part of her recovery from a devastating car accident. Despite the horrific ordeal she went through, she looks back on it with her signature humor. Describing how she woke up in the hospital she says, “I knew I wasn’t at home because I heard a vacuum.”
Wendy has been married to Jeffrey Sherman for 17 years. Their appearance on our show together was like hanging out with your coolest, funnest, most down-to-earth friends, who just
happen to have amazing entertainment industry careers and who are clearly perfect complements to each other on every level. Jeffrey is a writer, producer and director. He shares with us what is was like to work on a TV show that holds a very special place for a certain co-hort of older Millennials, Boy Meets World.
“When the cast came out on stage,” he says, “the audience reacted like it was the Beatles.” In the early ‘90s, there wasn’t a lot of media representation of kids in their early teens or tweens, dealing with coming of age and the issues that arise within that awkward and bewildering time. Over the course of seven seasons those kids grew up and audiences watched along and related to their struggles and successes. Jeffrey tells us that exploring serious issues was very important to him as a writer on the show, episodes that revolved around subjects like vandalism and child abuse were his ideas.
We were also fortunate enough to hear the backstory of how Topanga got her name!
Jeffrey also talked to us about growing up with a famous family and he still seems awestruck and humble when looking back at his childhood, formative years and early on in his career. “I learned at the feet of giants,” he says, they just happened to be my dad and uncle.” Jeffrey directed the documentary ‘The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story” about his father and uncle, linked below. His stories range from inspiring to mind-boggling, like when he talks about being on the studio lot as a child and meeting Walt Disney. Jeffrey was able to offer his critique of the “rooftops of London” set to Walt himself, telling him that no one would believe it because it was all on the ground. “I was most excited about the tuna sandwich in the commissary,” he says, laughing.
You can find more info on Wendy and Jeffrey as well as their work here:
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story
The Boys trailer:
Wendy Liebman: Taller on TV
Wendy on Twitter and Instagram
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You can listen to this episode here on the Media Path website or watch video on YouTube, it’s
also available everywhere you listen to podcasts.