Saturday, May 16, 2020

The CHEERS Zoom reading (a.k.a. Weekend Post)

Jason Benetti, the terrific TV voice of the Chicago White Sox and I put together a Zoom reading of a CHEERS script my partner, David Isaacs and I wrote called "The Big Kiss-Off."   We thought it would be fun to have sportscaster colleagues play the various roles.  With one exception:  George Wendt graciously agreed to play Norm.  So here it is. 

Plus, this is the full version of the script.  Some lines and bits had to be cut for time once the episode was filmed.  So you're hearing them for the first time.

This is the amazing cast:

Chip Caray of the Atlanta Braves plays Sam.
Alanna Rizzo of the Los Angeles Dodgers plays Rebecca
Suzyn Waldman of the New York Yankees plays Carla.
Jason Benetti of the Chicago White Sox & ESPN plays Frasier
Mark Grant of the San Diego Padres plays Woody
Dave Flemming of the San Francisco Giants & ESPN plays Cliff.
Beth Mowins of CBS & ESPN plays guest star Caroline
Dan Hoard of the Cincinnati Bengals plays guest star Larry
Steve Physioc of the Kansas City Royals reads the stage directions.
And I play "Man Who Said Sinatra."  *

* Hey, it's my script - I might as well give myself the starring role. 

My thanks to all these incredibly talented people.  Hope you have as much fun watching it as we had making it. 

Cheers and stay safe. 


  1. Troy McClure5/16/2020 6:45 AM

    That was wonderful!! Please do more with the same people! Do a Frasier episode too!!

    Fantastic to see George Wendt.

    Thank you to you and everyone who took part.

  2. Sad that it just continues to scroll & will not open.

  3. Good casting all the way around, really, especially Alanna Rizzo. A contest to kiss her? Did not have to suspend disbelief one iota, nope, not at all.

  4. Great concept (only negative is no one from the Red Sox is involved, since the show's set in Boston...)

  5. The only thing that could have made this better would have been having Chip's dad and graddad around to read.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I'm glad you had George Wendt reprise his role.

    As someone in WFAN's listening area, it was nice to see Suzyn Waldman represented.

    I never knew Jason Benetti was the TV voice of the White Sox. I only knew him from college football on ESPN. I didn't even know Dave Pasch was the Arizona Cardinals radio announcer until a few months ago.

  7. Enjoyed the whole thing, especially Suzyn Waldman. Easy to see she has an acting background. Thanks!

  8. Sinatra!

    "Hey why did you post that?"


  9. @kenlevine: To follow up my earlier FQ: Sitcoms can be both the bitter and the sweet let alone the funny. (The stripped-out song on the intro theme is Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation.’) And no laugh track.To me as a consumer and someone who grew up in the ‘’60s/70s, this show really hit home. So, was it a sitcom or a dramedy?

  10. I lasted four-and-a-half minutes. The format didn't work for me.

  11. Troy McClure5/16/2020 5:08 PM

    Very sad to hear that Fred Willard has passed away. Great comedy actor. RIP

  12. That was great, I listened to the entire show on the way home from work. Then I ran it a couple minutes in my house so I could get a feel of who the actors were. That's the first time I had seen Chip Carey since he was on the TV broadcast of Mariners decades ago.

  13. Batting a thousand! Kudos to the "Cheers" Players.

  14. @ Cap'n Bob- if you went elsewhere after four and half minutes then you missed the best parts. It took them about that long to find their groove and rhythm. Whether that was due to rehearsal time or editing only the principals know. In its entirety it was fun to watch.

  15. Hearing Gary sing the Cheers theme song brought back such memories. We were never really allowed to add new songs to important events in our sorority, but we did add the Cheers theme song. I remember standing in the courtyard singing with all my sisters. It was a big house, and it still was a place where you felt "everyone knows your name." Thanks for bringing back those memories. We still love that show and all the characters, their stories and the words they said. (I haven't seen the zoom episode yet. So looking forward to it!)

  16. I just loved this!! The players were great and the writing still stands! I laughed out loud many times. Thank you all! Please do this again!! :-)

  17. How awesome is this?

    By a strange coincidence, I watched a Columbo episode last night that I hadn't seen before. It was from the 90's, so not from the original series. George Wendt played the villain. Norm he was not. Wendt really is a terrific actor.

  18. Maybe I should try again and start at the 4:30 mark.

  19. Don K, I took your advice and watched the rest of it and you're right, it wasn't bad.

  20. @ Cap'n Bob- glad I could help. I also thought it started somewhat slow but figured (hoped) it would pick up and it did. Waldman was a great Carla once she had a few good lines and Wendt always is superb. Plus, as I alluded to earlier, I developed a crush on Alanna Rizzo. It helps me when I'm rooting for someone. She pulled that off.

  21. That was so much fun....

  22. Terrific reading, Ken. I hope you do that again. Great seeing George Wendt return as Norm and Suzyn Waldman makes a great Carla.

  23. This would have been great for your podcast.

  24. Great fun! And I thought everyone did a pretty good job. Especially that guy Wendt. He totally nailed Norm.

  25. Someone up above mentioned George Wendt's appearance on Columbo 2.0, which has triggered me into Show-Off Mode.

    This Columbo was titled "Strange Bedfellows" and was written by Peter Fischer, who'd been the showrunner for quite a while earlier on.
    According to his recent memoir, Fischer wrote the killer part for someone like James Spader or James Woods: in his words, " … a slim leading man, urbane, charming, but flawed and decidedly dangerous …".
    ABC, Columbo's carrier at the time, insisted on casting George Wendt in the role.
    This resulted in Fischer's script having to be rewritten rather heavily to conform to the casting.
    That resulted in Fischer's pulling his name from the finished show; he imposed his red-flag pseudonym, 'Lawrence Vail', to protect his royalties.
    The above is heavily abridged from Peter Fischer's memoir, Me And MURDER, SHE WROTE, which all of you should get and read.

    Like I said, just showin' off here, but I had to get it out …

  26. Kudos to you Ken, for putting this together. And kudos to the cast. This was a lot of fun to watch. Thanks!

  27. ScarletNumber5/22/2020 6:53 PM

    For those who don't realize, Suzyn Waldman has an extensive background in singing and Broadway. If you watch the documentary June 17, 1994 that is her singing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden for Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Knicks and Rockets.


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