In this episode, my guest is comedian and actor Paul Reiser. We discuss his upcoming shows at Cobb’s Comedy Club, his tour called the “Big Font Comedy Tour,” and how he’s glad to be doing stand-up again. We also talked about Paul’s various roles in TV and books, including his recent appearance on Stranger Things as Dr. Sam Owens.
This episode is sponsored by:
In this episode:
Stand-up comedy and live performances
The journey of becoming a comedian
Finding your comedic voice
Making your spouse laugh
Opening for Buddy Rich
“I really missed doing stand-up and all these other shows.”
“I just love the whole thing.”
“I was just thinking if you were dead.”
“But how cool that I just got offered a joint by Buddy Rich.”
As a seasoned actor, writer, producer, and stand-up comedian, Paul Reiser continues to add to his list of accomplishments. In addition to co-creating and starring in the critically-acclaimed NBC series Mad About You (1992), which garnered him Emmy, Golden Globe, American Comedy Award, and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, his successes also include his book, “Couplehood,” which sold over two million copies and reached the number one spot on “The New York Times” best-seller list, and “Babyhood,” his follow-up book, which features his trademark humorous take on the adventures of being a first-time father, which also made “The New York Times” best-seller list. He also wrote a follow-up bestseller, Familyhood.
Born and raised in New York City, Reiser was drawn to Greenwich Village clubs, which featured, among others, George Carlin, Robert Klein, and David Steinberg. He subsequently attended college at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he majored in music (piano and composition) and participated in drama classes. During his university years, he was active in student theater productions at the Hinman Little Theater, an on-campus community theater organization located in Hinman College, his dorm community. Reiser later began performing as a comedian at the Improv and Comic Strip during university summer breaks.
Remembered for notable performances in films such as Diner (1982), Aliens (1986), Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), The Marrying Man (1991), Bye Bye Love (1995) and One Night at McCool’s (2001). More recently, he starred in two original movies for Showtime – Strange Relations (2001) opposite Julie Walters, Chazz Palminteri’s Women vs. Men (2002), opposite Joe Mantegna and Christine Lahti. His first original screenplay also became his next film, The Thing About My Folks (2005), also starring Peter Falk, Olympia Dukakis, and Elizabeth Perkins.
Reiser’s development company, “Nuance Productions,” has produced several projects for NBC television, including, My 11:30 (2004), starring Jeff Goldblum and Donna Murphy – which Reiser co-wrote with Steven Sater. Also in the works – for the Showtime cable network – is a mock documentary about “The Smothers Brothers” and their battles with television network censorship in the late 1960s. Since then, he has maintained a lower profile, working more as an executive producer and writer than as an actor.
In 2003, Reiser made his stage debut in Woody Allen’s directorial play debut Writer’s Block. He also paired with Steven Soderbergh to star in the Amazon Original Series Red Oaks.
Reiser tours the country performing in sold-out venues and was recently voted one of Comedy Central’s “Top 100 Comedians of All Time.”
In the midst of the gators and the quiet simplicity, Hunter Phelps discovered his refuge in the unspoken language of music. But as his talent took him from the small town of Niceville to the grand stages alongside country music stars, he faced challenges he never anticipated. The unexpected twist in his journey taught him invaluable lessons about the power of perseverance and the true essence of songwriting. Join us as we delve into Hunter’s story, unraveling the triumphs and tribulations of live performances and the art of creating music. Brace yourself for the unexpected twist that lies just beyond the horizon, waiting to be unveiled.
This episode is sponsored by:
In this episode you’ll be able to:
The unique experiences and life lessons only a small-town upbringing can offer
How your childhood hometown has evolved and developed over time
The sense of freedom and deep bonds forged in a small-town setting
Tackling live performance and songwriting challenges
The joys and trials that come with the transformative journey of parenthood
Candid shared experiences that paint a vivid picture of growing up in small towns
The nuances of urban development through the lens of our childhood hometowns’ transformation
The remarkable freedom we often overlook that underpins the small-town life
The heady world of live performances and enrich your songwriting process with our practical experiences
The heartwarming yet challenging journey of parenting, filled with many priceless moments
Meaningful experiences that resonate with a small-town upbringing
How your childhood hometown has transformed over the years, capturing the spirit of change and growth.
The undercurrent of unity and liberation that is integral to living in a small town
Enthralling accounts of dealing with the challenges that come with live shows and song composition
The fulfilling and stirring journey of parenthood with its myriad joys and challenges
00:00:05 – Bonding over Small Towns, The hosts discuss the automatic bond that comes from meeting someone from a small town in the middle of nowhere. They mention their own small towns of Niceville, Florida, and Florella, Alabama.
00:01:12 – Changes in Niceville, The hosts talk about how Niceville has changed over the years, with new places to eat and the addition of a Walmart. They mention that Florella, Alabama, the town where one of the hosts is from, has mostly remained the same except for the addition of antique stores.
00:03:01 – Missing the Saltwater, One of the hosts expresses his love for being near saltwater and missing access to it in Niceville. He grew up on boats and being close to the bayou. The other host talks about growing up near Lake Jackson and encountering alligators.
00:04:44 – Alligator Encounters, The hosts share their experiences with alligators. One recounts a story of a scout leader sticking his arm out to an alligator, while the other talks about seeing alligators run over by trucks. They discuss the food source and taste of alligator meat.
00:08:48 – Freedom and Small Towns, The hosts reflect on the freedom and independence they experienced as teenagers driving to nearby small towns like Op and Clayton. They mention how country songs often capture this feeling of being in charge of yourself.
00:14:12 – The Challenge of Winning Over a Crowd, Hunter Phelps discusses the challenge of performing in a small bar in South Dakota and winning over a crowd who may not know or appreciate his music.
00:15:07 – The Repertoire of Songs, Hunter Phelps talks about the extensive number of songs he and his band knew and how they would play covers to win over the crowd when performing at Tootsies in Nashville.
00:16:37 – The Influence of Songwriting, Hunter Phelps shares how his father, who wrote songs for artists, sparked his interest in songwriting. He also talks about the first song he ever wrote, inspired by a request for a jingle for a bar.
00:19:03 – Support from Hunter’s Dad, Hunter Phelps discusses his father’s support for his music career, including being proud of his songwriting abilities. He also mentions how his dad helped him secure his first gig at the Mullet Festival.
00:28:26 – Controversy over “Breakup Sex” song, Hunter Phelps discusses the controversy surrounding his song “Breakup Sex,” which received negative feedback from some parents. Despite the criticism, the song gained traction and helped propel his career in country music.
00:30:00 – Writing “Breakup Sex” on a retreat, Phelps talks about writing “Breakup Sex” during a songwriting retreat with Ashley Gorley’s company, Tape Room Music. This was his first retreat experience, and he learned the importance of writing multiple songs a day to increase his chances of creating a hit.
00:31:42 – The impact of “Breakup Sex” on his career, Phelps expresses gratitude for the success of “Breakup Sex,” as it opened doors for him in the music industry. The song led to more show opportunities, collaborations with other artists, and access to better writing rooms.
00:32:23 – The challenges of songwriting, Phelps and the host discuss the challenges of songwriting, including the high number of songs that don’t get cut or become hits. Phelps emphasizes the importance of perseverance and building a vast catalog of songs, as success can come unexpectedly in the future.
00:35:11 – Triple play achievement and building reputation, Phelps reflects on his rare accomplishment of achieving three number-one songs in a single calendar year. He credits his success to hard work, luck, and building his reputation as a songwriter. The host compares the achievement to artists’ paintings becoming more
00:43:26 – University of Florida Major, Hunter Phelps talks about how he majored in building and construction at the University of Florida, which was influenced by his family’s background in construction. He also mentions that one of his buddies in college was the guitar player in his band, which eventually led to his music career.
00:44:47 – Fixing Things at Home, Hunter reveals that he is handy around the house and does a lot of household repairs himself. However, he mentions that he would not mess with gas lines and knows his limitations when it comes to certain tasks.
00:45:50 – Dream of Building a House, Hunter expresses his interest in designing and picking everything for a house but admits that he wouldn’t want to build it himself physically. He acknowledges that someone with a background in building construction, like himself, would have a more nuanced eye for the process.
00:46:34 – Background in Building Construction, Hunter explains that his degree in building construction focused on commercial projects like hospitals, and his experience was more in scheduling and estimating plans rather than hands-on building. However, he still has a background in the field.
00:48:04 – Fun at the University of Florida, Hunter reminisces about his time at the University of Florida and attending football games. He mentions that it was a fun school and recommends attending SEC football games at schools like Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, and Florida for a great experience.
00:58:13 – The Joy of Parenthood, Hunter Phelps discusses the joys and challenges of parenthood, emphasizing that the love for children only grows over time. He shares his desire to have more children and the unique ways parents interact with each of their kids.
00:59:34 – Siblings and Parental Interactions, Hunter and the host discuss their experiences growing up with siblings and how their parents interacted with each child differently. They highlight the importance of understanding individual needs and personalities within a family.
01:00:22 – Future Music Plans, Hunter reveals that he has new music coming out in 2023 and mentions the possibility of recording songs with his own vocals. The host encourages him to pursue singing and highlights his talent in that area.
01:01:12 – Family Time, Hunter shares his plans for the rest of the day, picking up his kids from school and spending quality time with his family. The host wishes him a good day and looks forward to their next meeting.
01:01:24 – Farewell and Goodbye, The conversation concludes with a friendly farewell as Hunter thanks the host for his time and expresses excitement for future endeavors. They bid each other goodbye until their next meeting.
Hunter Phelps was born and raised in Niceville, Florida, where he was introduced to songwriting at a young age by his father, who owned a small recording studio. When he wasn’t out hunting or fishing the bayous and bays of the Florida panhandle, he spent his days teaching himself to play the guitar and working at a local marina.
After high school, Hunter attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he began writing songs. He joined a band, started playing tailgate parties and bars around town, and quickly developed a loyal following.
Early in his career, he shared the stage with major label acts like Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Gary Allen, Keith Anderson and Michael Ray. Hunter moved to Nashville in 2012, before ever having visited the town and without really knowing how to break in to Music City’s circles. Armed with his guitar, he honed his craft in the honky-tonks of Lower Broadway and sharpened his songwriting skills in the writers’ rooms of Music Row.
In 2014, shortly after his self-released debut EP came out, Hunter signed a joint publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music and hit songwriter Ashley Gorley’s Tape Room Music, where his recent cuts include Florida Georgia Line’s “Wish You Were On It,” recorded for their upcoming album, Dig Your Roots. Hunter is currently writing and recording for his debut full-length album release.
Growing up in a segregated Alabama, Ralph Stokes never imagined he would play for the University of Alabama. But when his all-black high school closed down, he found himself in a predominantly white school, facing challenges of integration. Through perseverance, teamwork, and respect, Ralph became a trailblazing athlete, carving out a path for future generations. This episode explores the lessons learned from Ralph’s journey and how his experiences prepared him for life beyond football. Join us as we delve into the unexpected twists and turns of Ralph’s story and discover how he transformed adversity into opportunity.
This episode is sponsored by:
In this episode you’ll be able to:
Discover valuable lessons from a pioneering football player’s journey
Understand the crucial role of respect in fostering successful team dynamics
Learn how to rise above discrimination and setbacks through respectful dialogue
Uncover how to apply football-derived strategies to excel in business and entrepreneurship
Gain insight into effective goal setting and teamwork inspired by collegiate athletics
00:03:12 – Ralph Stokes’ Career, Ralph Stokes talks about his current role as Vice President of Diversity Partnerships and Community Relations at the PGA Tour Tour Superstore, and his upcoming role as President of the Georgia State Golf Association.
00:06:16 – Ralph Stokes’ Experience with Integration, Ralph Stokes shares his experience with integration, starting from when he had to move to a different high school after his all-black high school was shut down, to playing football at a predominantly white school and leading integration his way.
00:11:15 – Football at Robert E. Lee High School, Ralph Stokes talks about his first day at Robert E. Lee High School, where he and other black players were outnumbered by white players and faced a giant Confederate flag in the gym. He shares how they were able to bring the team together and succeed in football.
00:15:28 – The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion, Ralph Stokes emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion, and how it benefits everyone, whether it’s in sports, business, or society. He shares his hope for a better future where people are judged by their character, not their skin color.
00:16:50 – Learning Respect for Each Other, Ralph Stokes shares a story about how he learned respect for his white teammates during his high school football career. He explains how this respect helped them build a strong team and emphasizes the importance of respect in any organization.
00:19:07 – Ralph’s College Recruitment, Ralph talks about his college recruitment process and the numerous scholarship offers he received from various schools, including Notre Dame, Southern Cal, and Alabama. He explains how he never wanted to play for Alabama due to their lack of black players and how his mother influenced his decision-making process.
00:25:13 – Meeting Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Ralph’s mother initially refused to let him play for Alabama due to Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s racist remarks. However, Coach Bryant went to Montgomery to meet Ralph’s family and apologize for his statements. Ralph’s mother asked tough questions, but ultimately allowed Ralph to play for Alabama.
00:32:27 – Coach Bryant’s Promise, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant promised Ralph and his family that he would treat Ralph fairly and be like a father to him while he was away at college. Ralph emphasizes the importance of having someone to look up to and how Coach Bryant fulfilled his promise to him.
00:34:39 – Priorities Beyond Football, Ralph Stokes shares how his mother’s priority wasn’t just about football, but about her son’s future. She asked legitimate questions and allowed Coach Paul Bear Bryant to answer. They found common ground with respect and had a conversation.
00:36:51 – Coach Bryant’s Response, Coach Bryant responded positively to every issue that addressed the four questions Ralph Stokes had. He was an outstanding coach, but an even greater man.
00:39:46 – Business School, Ralph Stokes wanted to go to business school but was denied. He insisted he wanted to go, and they told him he had to talk to Coach Bryant. Coach Bryant allowed him to go to business school after listening to his reasons. Stokes graduated in four years and later served on the board of directors and was honored as one of the outstanding alums.
00:44:23 – Blessed with a Brain, Ralph Stokes felt blessed to have a brain and wanted to challenge himself to use it to do the best he could. His mother instilled the importance of education, and he and his siblings were driven by a set of parents that valued education.
00:48:16 – Responsibility of Results, Ralph Stokes talks about the importance of taking responsibility for the results of your actions. He uses golf and the stock market as examples of places where results are based on actions and not discrimination. His mom instilled the value of education, which she believed was the road to their future.
00:50:49 – Background and Decision Making, Ralph Stokes talks about his decision not to accept the scholarship offered to him by legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant and his reasons for taking a break from school. He also talks about his friends’ decisions to go to law school and play football.
00:52:49 – Paul Bear Bryant’s Legacy, Ralph shares his memories of the day of Paul Bear Bryant’s passing, the huge impact the coach had on the state of Alabama and the outpouring of support from former players and fans. He also talks about attending Bryant’s funeral.
00:54:11 – The Procession, Ralph describes the procession from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham for Paul Bear Bryant’s burial. He talks about the incredible turnout of people and how it felt like the passing of a president.
00:55:30 – Future Episodes, Gary asks Ralph to come back for future episodes to talk about his business life and college football. Ralph agrees and teases stories about his experiences in insurance sales and presenting to the Klu Klux Klan.
00:56:38 – Closing Remarks, Gary and Ralph thank each other for the conversation and Ralph expresses his gratitude for the opportunity to share his story. They look forward to future episodes together.
Ralph Stokes, a former University of Alabama running back who made history as part of the first black recruiting class. His incredible personal journey serves as a testament to the power of determination, integrity, and the unwavering drive to succeed against all odds. From his early days playing football at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery, Alabama, to joining the historically white Robert E. Lee High School, Ralph’s story showcases the lessons learned on and off the field that continue to inspire countless others. As a respected executive in the golf industry, Ralph demonstrates that with resilience and dedication, anything is possible.
Check out Ralph Stokes’ book One of the First and consider sharing it with others. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralph-stokes-01b73526/ https://www.amazon.com/One-First-Overcoming-Challenges-Integration-ebook/dp/B098LP8QJY