When Marc Price requests a very early interview time - 8 a.m. in Los Angeles - Art Attack can't help but wonder if it would be the comic's first call of a new day - or the last one after a very long night.
"Now that's a misconception, that we're all crazy, liberal, L.A. people who go out and party all night. I mean, last call around here is 1 a.m. and the bars shut down at 2," the 43-year-old Price says, laughing. "I don't do the 4 a.m. drinking. I'm too old for that!"
To those of Generation X who grew up in the '80s, Price is most familiar as the nerdy, bespectacled "Skippy," the next-door-neighbor to the Keatons on Family Ties who crushed on mall-loving teen queen Mallory. And indeed, it's naturally the PR hook he uses, calling his current tour "Skippy with Nuts."
Price's standup act touches on being a child star, the '80s, and his stint on the show. But in an ironic twist, he says that constitutes much less of his material these days, as he finds fewer audience members are actually familiar with the series. "I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't talk about that somewhat, but now I have people coming up to me after who have never seen [an episode]," Price says. "Younger girls don't know!"
Interestingly, another co-star of Michael J. Fox, Thomas Wilson (who played "Biff" in the Back to the Future movies) is also currently a standup performer. So we have to ask, what is it about working with Michael J. Fox that turns his co-stars into comics?
"I don't know, that's a good point!" Price says. "But Tom was doing standup before the movies, and he's amazing."
You could say that Price was born into standup, as his father was a comic who appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" seven times. Perhaps as an extension, the son grew to admire more old school comics like Fred Allen and Don Rickles than more modern comedy renegades - though he holds Sam Kinison above all others.
"My father said one of the first rules of comedy is that you don't scream at your audience. And of course, Sam broke that rule - and a whole lot of others," he notes. "And Sam did a lot in Texas. Texas has a lot of happening stuff when it comes to comedy."
Price is also active as a producer of several cable series, manages the website www.ijoke.com, and is the creator of the Showtime's Green Collar Comedy, which strives to show that laughs can be mined from the often-serious folks involved with environmentalism. "There was no such thing as eco-comedy before that. We explore green issues in a funny way. Comedy is really a good way to get across a message."
So Art Attack is left to ask - if Family Ties were on the air today, what would a fortysomething Skippy be doing?
"He would probably be a standup comic. That sounds about right," Price offers. And maybe Mallory would be in the audience, nursing her two-drink minimum and discovering what became of the boy next door.
June 16-18 at the Comedy Showcase, 11460 Fuqua St. 281-481-1188 or target="_blank">www.thecomedyshowcase.com
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