Paul Reiser doing special stand-up show
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8
Zanies Comedy Night Club, 5437 Park Place in the MB Financial Park in Rosemont
(847) 813-0484; www.zanies.com.
Updated: September 5, 2012 2:20PM
Paul Reiser, the co-creator and star of “Mad About You,” returns Saturday night to his roots in stand-up comedy with a special appearance at Zanies in Rosemont.
“I haven’t been on the road in probably 20 years,” said Reiser, a New York native who now lives in Southern California. “I’ve just been going into the local clubs recently in Los Angeles, once or twice a week, doing a couple of minutes.”
Prodded by Jay Leno, Reiser returned to the stand-up stage only last year.
“I think, more than anything, I did this to get Leno off my back,” Reiser said, laughing.
Reiser made his first appearance on the Tonight Show in 1982 and he doesn’t think he will be doing any of the same material.
“My one condition to myself was that I started this fresh, because I have changed and life has changed. There are some themes that reoccur but it is very different thing to do stand-up now in your mid-50s, as opposed to your 30s.”
Reiser first performed stand-up as an 18 year old college freshman. He describes his approach to this art form as “cautious.”
“I approach it cautiously because you can get hurt,” he said. “For me, I find that honesty is the best way to go. Most of my material is autobiographical with slight comic exaggerations. When you talk about something that is real and true to you it will invariably be true and ring a bell for someone else.”
The bestselling author of Couplehood, Babyhood and most recently, Familyhood, Reiser also has appeared in such films as “Diner,” “Aliens,” “Beverly Hills Cop”and “The Thing About My Folks,” which he wrote for Peter Falk.
Reiser also has the distinction of having the theme song he co-wrote for “Mad About You” being played on another planet in 1996.
“That was nice short list to be on. People who have had their music played on Mars.”
When Reiser heard they were playing the theme song as a wake-up call for the Sojourner Rover, he first thought they might be having marital problems on the Red Planet.
“Why would they pick that? Idiot, because the song is called ‘The Final Frontier’.”
A former music major in college, Reiser decided he wanted to do something more with his original music so last year he released “Unusual Suspects,” in collaboration with British singer/songwriter Julia Fordham.
“It was a thrill. To me, it was a Julia Fordham album.”
Reiser said he was prompted to write his third book while working on scripts for “The Paul Reiser Show,” an ill-fated 2011 sitcom which only ran for two episodes.
“Right up until the guillotine, I loved the whole experience,” said Reiser. “There was a lot of what I really wanted to talk about (in the seven episodes filmed) that just didn’t fit. “Familyhood” was a bit different from the first two books because I was digging a little deeper.
“Talking about mortality, about what having kids does to your brain and your body and your soul when you create entire critters from scratch.”
Reiser said that recent writing process also gave rise to doing stand-up again.
“I am really enjoying this process of sharing and talking to people again.”
Reiser said there is no chance of a reunion show for “Mad About You.”
“We went out of our way in that final show to make it impossible. We showed you what was going to happen (to all the characters until the year 2021 and beyond) and there should be no questions unanswered.”
Confident but fair, Reiser said he delivers an evening of comedy that comes with an actual guarantee.
“I tell people if they come to the show and they are not entirely satisfied I will come back in a few weeks and take them to see a funnier comic. A lot of guys don’t do that.”