If you had feared that Rick Moranis might have wandered too close to the hapless Wayne Szalinski’s shrink ray and been swallowed up by a man eating cockroach, his recent resurrection on the interview circuit should be reassuring. The 60 year old star of Ghostbusters, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Spaceballs is alive, well, and promoting a new album of comic songs.
In 1997, the actor who had made a name for himself playing the archetypal ‘nebish,’ decided to walk away from his successful career to become a stay at home dad. His wife, a victim of breast cancer, had died in 1991, and Moranis finally decided he was uncomfortable with all the time that making movies took him away from his two children.
Family meant more to him than film. Children need their parents there for them, and as a single parent, it was his choice to step up. Certainly there are those who find it difficult to understand how he could turn his back on the glamorous life of a celebrity, but as he points out in a Bullseye interview with Jesse Thorn, those are usually people who have an unrealistic idea of what that life is like.
While he did retire from on screen acting, he didn’t quite drop off the face of the earth. In 2000 he did voiceover for the animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, in 2003 for Brother Bear, and 2006 Brother Bear 2. In 2005, he released The Agoraphobic Cowboy, an album of comic country tunes which was nominated for a GRAMMY. Over the years then he managed to keep his toes in the business.
Still it is hard for fans not to wonder whether the current release, a throwback to the kind of comic album that was big on the Borscht Circuit back in the 1950s, My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs, might not presage something more than just another toe dip. His children are grown. He’s not shying away from the public relations work. Moreover when he’s asked about returning to the screen, he doesn’t quite close the door. He seems open to considering the right project.
Meanwhile the brisket is on the table. While the audience for satiric songs like “I’m Old Enough to Be Your Zaide,” “Belated Haftorah,” and “The Seven Days of Shiva,” may be limited, the original material is clever. The audience small though it be, will likely find it hysterical. Think Alan Sherman; even further back think Mickey Katz.
Of course the project on most people’s mind is the elusive “Ghostbusters 3.” Would he be open to a reprise of his role as Louis Tully in what would now seem to be a Bill Murrayless sequel? Well, he has been approached it seems, but he hasn’t seen a script, and he wouldn’t want to be repeating what he’s already done, but. . . .But, given the curse of the third movie in a series he doesn’t seem to have rejected the idea completely. Contacted by an Aykroyd associate, he says I said, “I wouldn’t not do it, but it’s got to be good.”