Wednesday, March 20, 2019

EP115: Meet Dennis Palumbo, writer/therapist


Dennis Palumbo is a licensed therapist and also co-wrote the comedy classic, MY FAVORITE YEAR.  He talks about common problems writers face and offers invaluable advice.  Also he discusses his fascinating career.  From TV (WELCOME BACK KOTTER), to screenplays, to mystery novels – Dennis Palumbo has done it all.  And still has time to see patients.


Listen to the Hollywood & Levine podcast!

6 comments :

Max Clarke said...

Terrific interview, Ken.

One of my favorite movies, MY FAVORITE YEAR. Besides the great screenplay and the lead actors, it featured wonderful performances by Selma Diamond and Bill Macy and Lainie Kazan.

Also Anne De Salvo, who was the hooker in the movie, Arthur, and who also did a part in CHEERS as the other widow of Eddie LeBec. She has my favorite line in My Favorite Year, "No."

Peter O’Toole did a lot of his own stunts, such as that flip in the writers’ room onto the table, and thumping his head into the bathroom wall.

A shame you can’t buy the movie at iTunes in HD or 4D, only standard definition.

About Peter O’Toole’s bankability for “three months.” Maybe before “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Phil Rosenthal wrote a series pilot for Peter O’Toole, Peter loved it, everything looked green, but the head of NBC killed it because Peter O’Toole had an accent. Phil tells that story in his audiobook, You’re Lucky You’re Funny.

Thanks, Dennis.

Carol Winter said...

This is the only way that I could figure out how to leave a question for "Friday Questions". If it's the wrong way I apologize... ;-).

Hey Ken. I loved your work on M.A.S.H. and Cheers! You, and other writers on M.A.S.H., have frequently mentioned how you had a Doctor as a Technical Advisor on the show to make sure the actors were holding the scalpels correctly and the writers were accurate on the medical jargon. They were also a source for some story ideas from what I remember. My questions is did you have a Military Technical Advisor on staff that you could use as well? If so, do you recall any episodes or stories that they contributed to? How about a Technical Advisor for Cheers (bartending and baseball)?

On a side note, it's very stressful (to me at least) writing something to a professional writer! I feel like you're grading my question like my old High School English Teacher! You're not, are you?

Nathan said...

Writers make more money from packaged deals claims UTA.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/uta-reveals-tv-writer-pay-details-effort-counter-guild-claims-1195991

Looks like scums at THR are trying their best to please their masters by trying to portray that WGA is wrong. They took cheap shots at Simon too for his rant.

Ralph C. said...

Very good and fun interview. A++.

E. Yarber said...

I really enjoyed this conversation, if only for the encouraging example of creative reinvention.

When listening to Dennis describe the nature of therapy for writers, I couldn't help thinking back to times when I was overwhelmed by career setbacks and people would tell me in all kindness, "Why is this affecting you so much? I never spend as much time as you obsessing over MY job. Why don't you just apply for something at Baskin-Robbins?"

I could never get across to them that writing is not something you do just to get a paycheck. In fact, you'd be crazy to put yourself in such a stress-laden position unless you weren't totally committed to writing as a way of life, not just 40 hours you try to forget over the weekend. It takes more than a degree in psychology alone to understand how deep that thread runs in those who genuinely pursue such a discipline, and I'm glad to hear someone understand that.

Anyway, I learned years ago that Baskin-Robbins is not interested in hiring severe introverts who tell customers, "Let me just take this order home with me and I'll be back in a week with two scoops of Rocky Road."

Mike Barer said...

I loved this podcast, on the whole, it looks like the job of TV writer could be lockstep with therapist. They both involve human behavior.