If you ask Paul Reiser, he’ll be the first to tell you that he started out and continues to first and foremost, be a stand-up comedian and not an actor who used to be a comic. Since returning to the club stage roughly three years ago, Reiser has continued to go out, get his timing back and flex “that muscle,” that part of his psyche where his bits line up and strike that sweet spot of commonality with his audiences. Having come up at the same time as a number of other famous peers including Jerry Seinfeld, Elayne Boosler, Larry Miller and Carol Leifer, Reiser started out during a golden age of stand-up comedy, when entertainers like Freddie Prinze and Gabe Kaplan were in the clubs one week and on television the next. Influences for the Manhattan native include Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s 2,000 Year Old Man album. But it’s the following stand-up legends who really resonated for the man who’d eventually become known to the world as fictional husband/father Paul Buchman.
Paul Reiser will be appearing on Feb. 6 at the Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook University, 100 Nichols Rd. in Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-632-2787 or visit www.staller.sunysb.edu.
“Robert Klein, a lot of comics will tell you, was the most accessible comedian. You’re not going to be Mel Brooks. You’re not going to be Woody Allen. But Robert Klein sounds like your older, smarter cousin who went to college and if you started talking, you could probably be like him. He was very influential.”
“He was seemingly fearless and he prided himself on being the class clown and it felt like that. There was something very rock & roll about him. He was throwing rocks at the establishment. The other thing in looking back is as intellectual, anti-establishment and thought-provoking as he was, there was a good measure of dopey clownishness where he’d contort his face. He was really rubbery and just funny.”
“I remember being impressed with David Brenner’s prolific writing. A couple of times in my beginning, he would come and drop by the clubs and work out stuff, so I got to watch him do it. I remember sitting with my notebook, go to school and watch him. Two minutes in, I’m laughing and not even remembering how he got from here to there. I thought that was part of his magic. That’s how professionals do it. He’d be like, ‘Oh one more thing…’ and meanwhile, it’d be like 12 more things and you just went with him.”