You have seen Fred Stoller. He played Ray’s cousin Gerard in Everybody Loves Raymond. On Seinfeld, he was Elaine’s colleague who could never remember her name. Or maybe you know him as Selena Gomez’s doorman in Wizards of Waverly Place.
If you thought being a TV guest actor was glamorous, guess again. Stoller’s new book, Maybe We’ll Have You Back gives readers a glimpse of life in the shadow of TV stardom.
With self-deprecating humor, he details what it was like to work on the sets of classic sitcoms such as Friends, Murphy Brown and Mad About You. Stoller reports that Candace Bergen needed a personal security guard on the set of Murphy Brown due to threats she received after her character became an unwed mother. A man even infiltrated the studio audience and tried to run onstage during a taping.
As a writer for one season of Seinfeld, he describes the process of generating ideas. Larry David instructs Stoller to keep a record of his day. Real life situations prove to be useful. But Stoller misses acting and goes back to his true love.
Guest actors look to land a permanent role. A top-rated program guarantees employment and reduces financial instability. Between jobs, Stoller collects unemployment or goes on the road as a standup comic.
Acting students and TV fans will appreciate his even-handed honesty. This is no brutal or bitter memoir. Rather it describes the process of finding, hiring and then firing an acting teacher. When it comes to getting an agent, bigger isn’t always better.
But most of all, Stoller discovers that perhaps being on the periphery isn’t as bad. Most actors will tell you that the bit parts can be the most challenging. Turning those four lines into something memorable takes talent.Powered by Sidelines