Saturday, May 14, 2011

Uncovered after 20 years: the sitcom episode I acted in

Okay, here's a rarity -- an episode that I wrote and I also appear in.  It's from a 1990 series called THE MARSHALL CHRONICLES, created by Richard Rosenstock (who also created the brilliant FLYING BLIND).  My partner, David and I wrote this episode and in the big wedding scene I play Phil and he plays my lover Steve.  Yes, we're two gay guys at a Jewish wedding.  Every Jewish wedding has one.  At one point in the show, not only do I have to deliver a punch line but I have to do it while WALKING.  This, my friends, is ACTING. 

A few things worth noting:  Marshall is well played by Joshua Beckett and Leslie is played by the truly wonderful Meredith Scott Lynn.  Marshall's mother is Jennifer Salt, now a terrific writer (notably NIP/TUCK and the screenplay for EAT PRAY LOVE).  James Burrows directed.  He since has directed one or two other things. 

This series had a short run on ABC and deserved a better fate. It was very funny. 


Paul Duca said...

When did you decide to lose the beard, Ken...oh, and when did you shave the hair off your face?

God, I was thinking Philip Roth before you had Marshall say it. I read GOODBYE, COLUMBUS in freshman English and it became one of my favorites. Nice to see a full-color preview of Annie's wedding.

At least Marshall did get one small reward for his painful honesty....Mr. Ha-Ha did not reveal the final score of the basketball game.

jeff said...

What a great show that was, and what a major crime it was cancelled so fast. The writing was perfect, nice blend of humour and pathos. Great,authentic New York, East Coast feel to it. I just don't understand people, and why they didn't catch on to that show, I just don't get it. What was the problem with it? I can't see any, but what was the deal breaker? Was it the time slot it was on? What did it compete against on the other networks at the same time? I really loved that show. Who was the actor that played Marshall, I forgot over the years. Where is he now? Who was the girl? Marshall was kind of like a cool, hip Woody Allen-like character...very likeable, not as neurotic as Woody, just kind of wise for his old soul kid, very sensible and mature. I'll say it again...what a major crime it was to kill the show so early on. Damn the bastards in Hollywood - those guys haven't a clue what's quality...they only know crap. Too bad for all of us, too bad the show didn't find a bigger audience. It was the same with Buffalo Bill, only Dabney Coleman's character was a bit despicable...but that was the whole point. 'Nuff said. Thanks for showing the clips.

AlaskaRay said...

Thanks for the memories. I thought the orchastra leader was the best one.


jbryant said...

You delivered that punch line not only while walking, but also hunching over to speak it to much shorter actors. Amazing! Luckily, the conga line scene required no dialogue from you. :)

Larry said...

What a wonderful show. If only they'd picked it up, it'd be considered a classic today.

RCP said...

I'm surprised this had a short run. Loved the line about meeting the "other young people at my grandmother's condominium." You and David made quite a couple, though obviously you had issues.

Cap'n Bob said...

The beard and hair really put a time stamp on this. Very enjoyable stuff. Maybe too Jewish for the Midwest?

cshel said...

I adore the humor in it, but I could see where it might not entice a major enough audience.

The kid sounded like Woody Allen sometimes, that was cool. And I've always liked that girl, now woman, now writer.

It was priceless footage of you, Ken. You could have actually played the kid's father. : )

My code word is cracking me up: exocizi

Sebastian said...

I guess I'm not jewish enough to get most of the jokes but the parts I could connect with were funny :-)

crackblind said...

Very interesting. I don't remember this show but I loved Flying Blind. She actually played Leslie in an episode of Flying Blind.

By the way, the school used in the establishing shot is Washington Irving HS in NYC. Marshall wouldn't have lasted a day there. I don't think more than 2 Jewish kids have attended that school in over 30 years. Here's one of the things Irving is famous for:

Frank Abe said...

A couple of things:

1. You have great comic timing and that was a great performance.

2. Those last two scenes with the father and Leslie were very moving and hilarious at the same tmie. I teared up at the honesty.

3. Did you get a chance to talk with Alan Blumenfeld, the band leader? He and I were classmates in the summer conservatory at A.C.T. in San Francisco. He has the same all-out sense of humor that you and David do. Great guy, has had a great career.

selection7 said...

Funniest thing for me was when that doppleganger walks into the scene. I was laughing for the next 30 seconds about just that sight gag.

Ken, I get the impression you're funny even when you're not trying to be. Good performance.

That actress's performance was so over the top clingy and yet I liked her character by the end. I noticed she jumped the gun on a facial reaction when Marshall compliments Ken and David "So do you" though. Marshall hadn't even finished delivering the punchline.

John Jackson Miller said...

Very late to this to this topic -- but I was one of the biggest fans of this show, and I loved this episode.

I also really dug Rosenstock's later FLYING BLIND, which he crossed over with this series by bringing in the Meredith Scott Lynn MARSHALL CHRONICLES character in one episode as the lead actor's cousin.