Monday, April 27, 2009


Sorry to learn of the death of Kim Weiskopf, a contemporary of mine in the TV comedy writing world of the 70's-00's. In spite of the fact that in reality we were no doubt often competitors for the relatively few writing jobs in television, we were good friends - as good as it gets in show business. We never intermingled our families, that I can recall anyway, and never went to each others' homes. But we played softball together in a pick up game held every Sunday morning for a good 10 years (for me it was '86-96) or so. I think vestiges of it go on. David Braff ("Bay Watch") seemed to be a kind of ringleader, and there were also a lot of "halfs" of comedy writing teams - Weiskopf and myself included (our then-partners, Baser and Stein, didn't play ball). There was Larry Mintz, David Isaacs, Lorin Dreyfuss, Mel Damsky, among others who I don't recall off hand. When I first started playing with these guys, it was on the back field of an elementary school close to the parking lot of a supermarket off National Blvd. There were the usual superb players (of which I was not one) and incredibly competitive hot heads (not one of them either). I made a few good hits, and a couple of good catches, and a few bobbles. Your own teammates would call balls and strikes. I remember reluctantly acting as umpire, and called one of my mates out looking. He was furious. And never wanted to ump again. A strange system.
Anyway, back to Weiskopf. I cannot remember where I first encountered him, if on the ball field or in some network hallway. Weiskopf was half Japanese and I guess half Jewish. An interesting look. A good man, not boisterous at all. He couldn't have been more mismatched than with his partner for many years, Michael Baser, a long haired New Yorker, an avid talker. They surprisingly broke up - or perhaps not so surprisingly (neverthless "divorce" is always hard to hear about, or endure). They had already become a bit of an institution in the TV writing realm. Baser was the embittered spouse. Weiskopf went on to a decent solo career - I think he was eventually co-executive producer of Married, With Children. I am not sure how Baser fared on his own.
Things I remember about Kim was he was a family guy - I took my son Nick to his first in theatre film, a re-release of the classic Disney Peter Pan, and also in the theatre was Weiskopf and his son (or daughter; I don't remember). We had a similar encounter when I took my son to see the re-release of Star Wars several years later.
Kim was a legacy of sorts. His dad was the late, great Bob Weiskopf of Schiller & Weiskopf, who were staff writers on I Love Lucy. I have numerous memories of Bob as well. When I was producing Silver Spoons in the mid 80's, Weiskopf and Schiller had an office in our bungalow. They had a housekeeping deal with Norman Lear's company. They were great raconteurs, and we would sneak into their office after hours and admire their memorabelia. A few years before, when I was struggling through One Day at a Time, Lear held a huge company picnic. There was a softball game organized, and Bob Weiskopf, the ex-ballplayer, agreed to umpire. Well, he called ME out on strikes. I thought it was a bit high and outside, but what was I going to do, yell at this comedy legend? And his son was probably playing nearby.
So the unforgettable Weiskopfs belong to the ages. The Dad was quite elderly when he passed away, but Kim left us far too soon. He was probably in line for a piece of that ageism lawsuit settlement! It's one thing to see early icons of childhood disappearing - like Engineer Bill or even George Carlin. But when your old pals start falling, it makes the days a little more precious.


I just woke up and somebody told me it was almost the end of April. I said, No way! It's January! Anyway, I'm back and immediately grabbed a newspaper, hoping I wouldn't see something heinous like "President Biden bombs Iran". Whew! All is well. Right wing freaks are bouncing off the walls, Obama is mellow so everything is just the way it's supposed to be.
No but seriously, I've been semi-busy, producing the Funny is Money radio show for heard every night at 7 PM Pacific. So that means it's 10 PM in New York, and, what 4 AM in Paris? So no excuses! So far this year Tom (Kramer) and I have hosted the great director John Moffitt, the great writer Bruce Kirschbaum, the great comedy writer Jack Carrerow, the reclusive, yet great comedian Jack Burns and the great house guest, Kato Kaelin. Not to mention "Dead Gossip" from the great columnist Walter Winchell. Now that is FUNNY. Would that there was also MONEY attached. More later.