Laughing with Larry

Courtesy Photo: Don’t miss “Holiday Cocktails with Larry Miller” 8 p.m. Friday at the Walton Arts Center. It’s one night only!

BJ: Hi, Larry I heard you might have a funny Hanukkah story to share with us.
LM: During Hanukkah we would light our menorah and leave it on the stovetop. It was a white 1962 stove and it stood more or less at the height of my 9-year-old sister. She backed into it and her hair caught on fire.
It just went boom.
My mom panicked and started running with her. My dad I’ll never forget, just came over and calmly pressed her head against his stomach to smother the flames. It was the best Hanukkah gift any of us have ever gotten. If you can imagine — a 9-year-old girl with curly blonde hair who had just had three-quarters of her hair burned off, though we weren’t concerned about that at the time.
I’m not sure she remembers it. She has children who have children now and you never know in life what you will remember.
I’m looking forward to Hannukah this year. Jewishness is all about memories — the astonishing memory, that’s what the Torah is about: read this and remember this; remember all the struggles.
Those stories are more dramatic than anything anyone every made in Hollywood. If we didn’t read it, if we didn’t remember it, how could we exist untethered? We wouldn’t be families. We wouldn’t be people. Without memories of our history as Americans and as Jews we would be untethered. We would be floating freely.

BJ: Wow, that just got deep. From a hilarious Hanukkah story to a really reflective thought.

 Comedy — when it’s good — is a deep thought. Comedy really makes us think. Everything that happens in comedy is rooted in drama and is rooted in storytelling. Comedy is just another way of looking at the same drama. And I love it for that reason. There are two ways to go through life: crying or laughing. Lord knows we cry enough. I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my time laughing.

—Larry Miller

BJ: Are you excited about your show “Cocktails with Larry Miller?”
LM: Yes, I’m very excited. I’m in “New Year’s Eve,” which just opened up. Tomorrow night I will be on the Christmas episode of NCIS and on Dec. 23 I will be on TNT in “Deck the Halls.” I’ve been very lucky and I work steadily. The reason I bring this up is because I am going to be as happy on that stage at the Walton Arts Center as driving through the gates of Paramount, which is very meaningful to me. That’s how much I love performing.

BJ: When did you start performing?
LM: In a way I started when I first listened to a Bill Cosby album. I recited the lines at the dinner table. I’m too thrilled about it to even know when it started. It’s even past loving it. I’m just made for it. I’m just made for the stage. There are thousands of beautiful stages across the country. I’m going to play all of them with “Cocktails with Larry Miller.” The rod that holds it all together is live performing.

BJ: Tell me, why cocktails?
LM: The metaphor is that life is a cocktail. Stir in a little sorrow. The chance to meet someone; add maturity and the blessings of life — that’s a cocktail.

BJ: What’s your favorite cocktail?
LM: I’m a martini drinker. That’s because there’s a real artfulness to it. When someone really knows how to do it with such ease — it’s like being a chef.

LM: It’s raining here. I have to go pick up the kids. It was nice talking to you. Come to the show if you get a chance.

Categories: LOL