Thanks for checking in. Having moved my mother from NYC to Los Angeles in October and always eager to use the stuff of my life for inspiration, I’ve started testing material about Alzheimer’s in comedy clubs. Which is a little like trying to serve venison at a donut store. It’s not that some people might not enjoy a rare cuisine, it’s just that’s not what they want when they left the house for fried dough. Nevertheless, I am going to persevere because I so believe in the importance of helping people talk about difficult subject matter by making them laugh about it first. Here’s a short clip from The Improv on Melrose from last month.
I just found this and wanted to make sure I put it somewhere interested people can see. I had a great time with this Dr. Manny!
Hello my laughing, married (hopefully) friends! I am getting ready to head to Seattle to make the Mercer Island masses laugh on November 2nd.
A welcome break from life in the Alzheimer’s lane! Two weeks ago I successfully relocated my mother from New York City to Los Angeles. It’s been about two years in the making. Here’s an article I wrote just to give some context to this victory.
Look forward to connecting with all of you soon!
Yes it’s true! After a few months off to sink my teeth in to the marriage I travel the country talking about, not literally, well, not every day, I am back out seeing the country. This week I headed to Naples, FLA. for 18 hours. Many laughs were had about marital customs of the local villagers, the most successful of which is that the men don’t speak unless directed by their wives. I also had just enough time to run to the exceptional white silky beach I’d read so much about. Even stripped off my running clothes to dive in to the clear, calm COLD blue water.
After some stimulating back and forth with an audience of about 100 of how to keep marriages close and happy decade after decade, we kibbitzed in the lobby where books were signed.
Thank you to Ted Epstein for a great day. Less than 24 hours later I was back in LA, performing on a show of seasoned comedy veterans including Carol Liefer, Henry Phillips, and more, called “Home Grown Comedy,” hosted and produced by Wendy Liebman. Had the best time recounting the greatest hits stories from the tour so far and breaking out the new Alzheimer’s material.
Next week I am off to West Palm Beach, FLA for a Ladies Night Out. I am MOST excited about this one ’cause I hear there will be manicures and champagne for those in the need. And of course, lots of good tips for continuing to laugh in your marriage years after you’d think it possible.
Hello my friend who made it to this page! So many exciting book details to discuss. First big news? The Audible book is OUT! Read by none other than me. I had such a great time hiding in the booth with a cap and scarf drinking Throat Coat tea with gobs of honey in it for three days. For reasons I cannot identify, I decided to present myself as some kind of psycho storyteller here, but believe me it was a joy!
I will be heading east next week. First to do a segment of “Red Eye with Tom Shillue” on 1/22 and then a show at the JCC of Washington DC on 1/23.
On 1/28 I will be in Santa Barbara at Chaucer’s Books on State St. at 7 pm.
Here is an article from The Santa Barbara Press by BRETT LEIGH DICKS, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT 1/13/16
Timing is everything in comedy. So when Los Angeles-based comic, author, mother and wife Dani Klein Modisett realized the same was true for relationships, she quickly tapped into a life of poignantly hilarious fodder.
Ms. Modisett channeled her witty observations of parenting into 2009’s “Afterbirth ? Stories You Won’t Read in a Parenting Magazine,”released by St. Martin’s Press, which was based on a live show of the same name. Three years ago, she turned her attention to marriage when she launched a spin-off show, “Not What I Signed Up For.”
Ms. Modisett wrangled a collection of acclaimed actors and writers who joined her in reciting funny stories about how marriage and parenting challenges them in unexpected ways. That show recently laid the foundation for a new book, “Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy”(Shambhala Press, $16.95), which explores how the cardinal rules of comedy can help couples laugh more. She will sign copies 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St.
“I toured with ‘Afterbirth ?’ for about 10 years, but what happens is that your children grow up and you can’t write about them anymore because they start to read,”Ms. Modisett said.
“You also get to the point where your children are old enough to be out of crisis and you don’t feel like, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to kill themselves so we have to put all our focus on them,’ so you have more time to look across the room at your spouse.?
In turning her attention to her relationship with her husband, Ms. Modisett, 52, started addressing questions like how will they recover their pre-child connection and how will their relationship change as a result. Those questions led to a live show called “Not What I Signed Up For,”which took the comedian across the country and performing sold-out shows in San Francisco, Boston and New York City.
“The show was full of stories about me finding out things about myself,”Ms. Modisett recently told the News-Press by phone from the Bay Area, where she was on vacation.
“Around the 10-year mark of marriage, I was personally feeling, ‘I don’t know about this.’ I thought back to when I was doing stand-up comedy and how people were saying that’s the hardest thing in life to do. Then after one particularly bad fight I thought, ‘Well, actually marriage is harder – with stand-up you give your set and you’re done, but marriage is a much longer gig.’ ?
That realization inspired Ms. Modisett, who taught stand-up comedy at UCLA for 10 years in the late 1990s, to look back at her teaching course notes.
“I thought maybe there’s something in that first hardest thing to do that might be applicable (to) what I’m finding the hardest thing to do now, which is being happily married,”she said. “I looked at my syllabus and thought so much of (what) was important for comedy – like being willing to show up, listening, timing and letting go of a bad night – all of that was relevant for marriage. It was a great epiphany.?
In comedy or marriage, Ms. Modisett points out that one bad night doesn’t mean it’s time to quit. By coupling her trademark humor with a pointed pen, “Take My Spouse, Please”provides a roadmap for navigating a marriage through rough patches and nights when everything falls flat to come out laughing at the other side.
Not only did Ms. Modisett look at her own life in the book, she also reached out to various colleagues for insights into the role that comedy has played in their relationships. She interviewed comedians, comic writers and marriage counselors, all of whom delivered their own unique insights into marriage.
“I interviewed long-term couples, people who have been together happily for between 30 to 60 years,”she said. “I wanted to know how to infuse your marriage with laughter because I find laughter to not only be healing, but a great way for connecting. So if I saw two people with gray hair holding hands and laughing together, I wanted to talk to them.?
The book features contributions from celebrities like Jerry Stiller, Patricia Heaton, “Wicked”writer Winnie Holzman, “30 Rock”writer John Riggi, “Everybody Loves Raymond”writer Lew Schneider, songwriter Mike Stoller and filmmaker Gotham Chopra.
“Being a comedian, I have gotten to know a lot of people over the years,”Ms. Modisett said. “I have known Jerry Stiller and (the late) Anne Meara for 30 years. One thing that fascinated me about Jerry and Anne is that they were both so very talented and I was curious whether there was ever an element of competition between them. Jerry said one of the most profound things to me and that was ‘we needed each other.’ ?
For someone who has fiercely defended her individuality, Ms. Modisett found the comment to be a revelation.
“The idea of ‘needing each other was actually something to be valued in a marriage’ was really lovely to hear,”she said. “Needing and not being afraid of that vulnerability was an epiphany for me.?
The litmus test for just how well applying the rules of comedy to a marriage can work could very well be Ms. Modisett’s own relationship. She met her husband, Tod, in a bar on La Brea in Los Angeles 15 years ago and married one year later. Mr. Modisett gave the book his full blessing.
“He met me when I was doing stand-up comedy so he knew what he was in for,”she said with a laugh.
Dani Klein Modisett will sign copies of “Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy”(Shambhala Press, $16.95) at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St.
What started in Memphis ended 7 shows and 10 days later in Los Gatos, CA. Phew!
The worst moment? Realizing my flight out of Memphis was leaving at 8:30 AM standing in a towel in my hotel room at 8 AM. I threw clothes on me and the rest in my trusty bag and flew out of the hotel and made it out on a stand-by flight. Twice. Once in in Memphis and again in Atlanta. Returned to LA in time to carve a pumpkin with Gideon, as promised. Have many “best” moments and pictures to back it up, but for tonight, if you happen to be passing through, here’s a clip from “Atlanta & Co.” on NBC with Christine Pullara. What a doll! Atlanta & Co.
Here we are, “Take My Spouse, Please” Palo Alto!
Shout out to Lisen Stromberg, Dartmouth Classmate and dear friend with her own book about work/life balance up her sleeve, for introducing me to the executive director/opera singer Ronit Widmann-Levy to make it happen.
A-List cast of writer/performers including Emmy-winner Dan Bucatinsky, Emmy-nominee Johanna Stein, and genius showrunner of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Joan Rater. We laughed until we cried and that was just backstage!
Love the above picture of Johanna and me. It looks like a billboard for a new sitcom about a coupla’ housewife detectives, “Sleuths…Who Better Than Us?”
Wednesday I’m taking the show back on the road to NYC. Just me this time, heading off to do “Red Eye,” with “Afterbirth” performer Tom Shillue for FOX NEWS on Thursday night!!
Last week of summer before school starts, and after several weeks of travel for the book, here we are at Malibu Cove – or something like that, across from Malibu Country Mart – post surf lesson. What a crazy sentence I never thought I’d write. An east coast chick through and through, go figure. Owe it all to my Californian husband who lives vicariously through the boys “shredding.” Beautiful here. A nice respite before the airport hopping of the next six months. First stop Palo Alto on August 30th!
In case you weren’t in Southern California on Thursday night this was one of the calmer pre-show moments. Special thanks has to be given to Dumont Marketing who basically pulled books out of Los Angeles’ ass after a communication snafu that still had us bookless (except for that one!) by 7:30. The rest of the night at the Hollywood Improv went off famously though and not just because Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) was the hostess with the mostess. The cast of funny people telling stories about laughter and marriage, all of whom contributed to the book included Emmy winners Lew Schneider (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), Dan Bucatinsky (“Scandal”), John Riggi (“30 Rock”), the comedian Wendy Liebman and the writer/performer Joan Rater, (executive producer for “Grey’s Anatomy”). The place was packed, with flowing food, drinks and cupcakes, all provided by Mom.me, the website for thinking women with a sense of humor who also happen to be Moms. Inspired by the intimacy of the room, I told some never before stories about my own wedding and some bad anniversaries in less than celebratory hotels. (See Chapter 8 “Find Ways To Relax” in the book if you want to read one of them!). Patty told everyone how I used to be a very sad clown, Lew recalled a very bad comedy set where his wife Liz showed her loyalty, Dan tried to remember something he was supposed to do when he met his husband of 23 years the filmmaker Don Roos that I won’t reveal here, Joan told an amazing story of finally realizing how lucky she was to be married to her generous husband of years having spent many of those years thinking it was she who was doing him a favor, Wendy did her classic stand up marriage material that never ceases to make you laugh until you cry and John Riggi told some balls out details, almost literally, about his courtship with his husband David. The truth was bared about what it means to go the distance in a marriage and many, many laughs were had. All around a great night to remember.
If you happen to be in NYC this week, you can catch me and Dan and some fantastic New York storytellers, including comedian Judy Gold, the two women who run “Odd Mom Out,” Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg, the comedian Marla Schultz, and married writers Kimberlee Auerbach Berlin and Ethan T. Berlin at The Triad Theater on Wednesday night. Looking forward to a great East Coast trip with radio and TV appearances I will post as they happen. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, you can catch me at 12 noon Monday on “Press Play” with Madeleine Brand!
Yes it’s true, after three long, I mean ebullient and edifying, years, tomorrow is the big day. But unlike the birth of a human, which this feels awfully close to in many ways, the sheer vulnerability and powerlessness of it all, with book publishing it’s not like my perception and understanding of the world is going to change over night. A book doesn’t breath after all, not literally. Launch then, is a more appropriate word than birth for a book. You launch it, you set it off in to the ether and see what happens. If my experience in interviews is any indication so far, people really do want to laugh more in their marriages. Which I couldn’t be more thrilled about. So it’s not just me, phew.
Please order away. What I think is so great about this book, if I must say so myself, is that it is the perfect gift book for just about anyone. Except maybe adolescents, either due to age or character development. But anyone who wants a successful marriage, is about to get married, has been married a few years and wondering where the zing went AND anyone who has been married a long time and wants to celebrate this accomplishment reading about some of their peers, it’s just a kick ass good read for people committed to staying committed to other people in intimate relationships.
Thank you so much if you made it to this page. I can’t wait to meet you at one of the many events this month in California and New York and the rest of the year around the country!