Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A great writer you probably don't know

There are some TV comedy writers who are very well known. You’ve seen their names so many times on the screen that they begin to make an impression. Or they’ve been interviewed, have a big Twitter following, or worse -- shamelessly write a blog.

But then there are others, who have also had long illustrious careers, yet remain essentially anonymous.

Like this guy.


As an uncredited punch-up guy, he has contributed great jokes to many pilots (including ours). And for good measure, he created and ran two series, both of which received great reviews and cult followings.

How could you miss him, right?

Meet Richard Rosenstock. I bet starting today you’ll see his name every time you turn on the TV.

His two series are two of my all-time favorites. THE MARSHALL CHRONICLES for ABC (David Isaacs and I wrote an episode and even acted in it), and FLYING BLIND for Fox (the series that discovered Tea Leoni). Both shows were funny, smart, and decidedly Jewish (Excuse me – they had that “New York attitude”).

The public may not know him but fellow writers do. He’s Richie to all of us.

But he prefers to fly under the radar. He has no Facebook or Twitter page. There’s not a single Google image of him. Hopefully he won’t be kill me for this post, but there are some fantastic writers out there you should know and one of them is Richie Rosenstock.

Sitcom staff writing is a very collaborative effort. Often the name you see on the screen as the “writer” is not necessarily representative of who really wrote the script. Lots of other writers have their thumbprints on it. Folks like Richie are invaluable. It’s like a baseball team having a great closer.

So thanks for the laughs. And story fixes. Having Richie in the room for a rewrite means you go home at 11:00 instead of 2:00. For that alone he deserves the WGA Laurel Award.


Jason said...

Well, if he's reading this post..

Richie, I really loved Flying Blind.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

I Loved Flying Blind...but the Network tinkered with it.
I see he wrote one of the great Happy Days... Fronzie's Blindness. One of their best episodes.

One problem with your analogy...EVERYONE knows who the closer is on a MLB team.
Your analogy needs a secret MVP.

Like the person who watches Video all day and finds the other team's players' flaws.

Or the Executive Assistant who makes sure the CEO has everything they need for their big speech or trip.

Or the person that designs the look and feel of a website, perhaps created a logo.

Or best yet....The Spouses that makes sure everything is taken care of at home, so the other spouse can do what they need to do.

Corey said...

Is there a WGA Hardy Award....

Anonymous said...

Flying Blind was one of my favorite shows when it aired, and I was sure Tea Leoni was bound for stardom. I wish that they would release the series SOMEWHERE to be seen again. I've found one or two episodes on YouTube. If anyone knows where it can be seen, shout it out! Thanks!

littlejohn said...


If you can find it online, last week-end's Wall Street Journal (Jan 16-17) had an article by Lee Siegel, entitled "How Groucho Marx Invented Modern Comedy".

I thought of you when I read it and thought you might enjoy it.


VincentS said...

Thanks, Ken. I pride myself on knowing writers - I appreciate, for example, your periodically re-posting your Steve Gordon post - but I haven't heard of him.

DrBOP said...

Friday question : Have you ever been tempted to call, or have you called any basketball games? Do you have any favorite basketball announcers ; and/or any Vin Scully level b-ball broadcasters?

Although not quite on that level, I've always been entertained by Bill Walton. Here he is the other night expanding on the "volcanic" performance of a player :


LOVE his partner's nonchalant "Getting back to the game....".

Chris said...

Friday question: are you going to the Jimmy Burrows reunion on February 21? I understand there's a Cheers reunion.

Brian Phillips said...

My wife andI are big fans of Richard Rosenstock. When Flying Blind was cancelled, we were happy to see his name show up on "Friends". I didn't know the breadth of his work, so, thanks!

Johnny Walker said...

Makes me think of John Swartzwelder. Another talented recluse with an admittedly smaller resume, he was once called during a Simpsons commentary recording... and once he heard he was on a commentary, denied it was him and hung up.

John Jackson Miller said...

If you're reading this, Richard, MARSHALL remains one of my all-time favorite comedies and I've kept an eye out for your shows ever since.

Pamela said...

I never missed "Flying Blind." I can still hear Corey Parker saying from that scene played in the promo, "I'm sorry; I'm gonna have to ask you to put down that eggroll."