ost people recognize Paul Reiser from the ‘90s sitcom hit Mad About You
(which, according to Reiser, may yet get the green light for a new reboot), in which he starred with Helen Hunt for seven successful seasons, but he’s been plenty busy since then.
Within the last couple years, Reiser made an appearance in the new Kate McKinnon/Mila Kunis film The Spy Who Dumped Me
, took a custom-made role on Stranger Things
’ second season, enjoyed a steady role on Amazon series Red Oaks
; and co-created There’s... Johnny!
on Hulu. After all this, though, he says it’s nice to return to his first love: stand-up comedy.
“People don’t believe me when I tell them that this is the only thing that’s actually fun,” Reiser says. “The stand-up is the only fun part. The other things are great. ... [But] it’s not a full-time job, and it’s also very time-intensive. You shoot it in March and it’s not out until November, so by the time it comes out you don’t remember what you did. And stand-up is so immediate.”
He calls comedy a “security blanket” after all the complicated work that goes into acting, writing and producing for TV and movies. When it comes down to it, he’s a comic, and always has been. “No matter what happens with all the other things ... it’s so nice to go [do] this. I know how to do this! Fly into Denver, and tell you jokes. Got it.”
Reiser’s particular brand of comedy, which he’ll be bringing to the Fine Arts Center
this weekend, exploits the funniest aspects of what we all have in common, from family drama to love and aging. It’s “comfort food,” he says, adding that there’s a need right now for people to find a bit of a connection through comedy.
“[The audience is] laughing ‘cause they’re thinking ‘thank god, it’s not just me,’” Reiser says of some of his more “insane” stories. “But what they don’t’ know is I’m onstage going ‘oh, thank god you’re laughing, because I thought it was just me.’ We kind of get to commiserate together.”
Anyone who has ever felt their family must be the strangest, or their experiences must be uniquely ridiculous, will get a healthy dose of hilarity and relief out of Reiser’s comfort food comedy, and “if you leave feeling a little warmer, and connected, and having some good laughs, then that’s a positive thing,” he says.