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Ask Bob Blume – Column #32 Acting For TV Sitcoms with Guest Steve Zuckerman (part 2 of 2)

Ask Bob Blume – Column #32 Acting For TV Sitcoms with Guest Steve Zuckerman (part 2 of 2)

Welcome!  As always, this column is a benefit for The Actors Fund Covid 19 relief effort and I urged viewers to donate if it is feasible.

In today’s column we continue the discussion on “acting for TV sitcoms” with my long-time friend, one of the top sitcom directors in TV history, Steve Zuckerman to discuss this subject in the second of two columns. 

Steve Zuckerman with with Jim Belushi and James Lipton

I recommend that you watch the video even if you usually just read the written summary.

After a brief bio on Steve which included the facts that he was a major Broadway and off-Broadway director in New York, including the Broadway show NUTS which was nominated for a Tony, prior to his move to Los Angeles, where he directed over 400 episodes of network television. Sitcoms on that list included Friends, Golden Girls, Everybody Loves Raymond, Anger Management, 2 Broke Girls just to name a few.

I also mentioned that Steve has currently taken leave from TV directing to teach Acting for Sitcoms at USC and Dodge College of Film & TV at Chapman University.

The conversation continues as Steve discusses the list of stand-up comedians that did well starring in sitcoms including D.L. Hughley, Norm MacDonald, Tim Allen to Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, etc as the list goes on and on.

Also, many character characters first, later became sitcom stars such as Bea Arthur, Charlie Sheen, etc. There is an interesting distinction there which needs to be understood.

A comic is a person that says funny things. A comedian is a person who says things funny. As an actor going into a sitcom, you must understand these distinctions.

I have found that one of the biggest mistakes actors make is when they go into an audition for a sitcom in a guest role and try to make things that are not funny – funny and they overdo it!

They go too broad and sitcom acting is not necessarily broad. Look at Dick Van Dyke, Everybody Loves Raymond, Anger Management – they are not broad comedy.

I directed 15 episodes recently of Anger Management with Charlie Sheen. He is a special talent and adds an element of danger to every role. His personal life and issues aside, Charlie is one of the most generous human beings and a total pro to work with.

Bob: I talked about my dealings with Milton Berle and the craziness involved.

Steve:  I worked with Danny Thomas near the end of his life and found him to be quite a guy but he too, had his crazy side.

We ended the discussion there – to be continued at a later date – and I again spoke about donating to The Actors Fund.

So long until next time.

Steve Zuckerman’ website https://directorstevezuckerman.com

Steve Zuckerman’ IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0958449/

Bob Blume’s company site is www.StepForwardEntertainment.com 

To Donate to The Actors Fund: www.actorsfund.org/stepforward

To Send in a question: askbobblume@gmail.com

To see ALL of the prior columns: ASK BOB BLUME columns

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Ask Bob Blume is a new twice-weekly Video Column giving career advice to actors/performers of all ages, who are either current professionals or looking to enter show business. The column will offer free advice, and answer questions from viewer emails by Robert R Blume (aka Bob) a respected veteran entertainment talent manager and producer. As the President of the bi-coastal talent management and production company Step Forward Entertainment, Bob currently oversees the careers of professional actors/singers/dancers/reporters, as well as serving as an Executive Producer of the Annual DRAMA DESK AWARDS (the “Golden Globes” of theatre) from 1999 until 2018. To submit questions: AskBobBlume@gmail.com For information on Bob: StepForwardEntertainment.com / RobertRBlume.com

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