Where do you live? Montclair
When did you move there? January 2016, before that Jerusalem, before that Brooklyn, and before that Chicago.
Where did you grow up? Queens and Long Island, NY
How do you make a living? What is your everyday passion? I juggle a few different things – I teach improv for Montclair Film, I recently helped write and produce Liz Samuel’s MOMTRESS web series, and also I directed and produced a stand-up comedy special in Jerusalem. I am a freelance writer working/pitching various projects (but also always available for hire). I’m an original member of The Annoyance Theater in Chicago and have taught and directed at The Second City as well as The Magnet Theater in NYC. I’m a playwright and I co-wrote a satirical book on comedy published by McSweeneys called “Comedy By The Numbers” and have a bunch of writing and video stuff out there on the web. I have another career as an architect & furniture designer, but am not practicing full-time anymore. However, my biggest job is taking care of my 10 year old twins – so mostly I get paid in hugs and/or disdainful looks for being an embarrassment.
Coffee, tea or … ? Water. My drug of choice used to be Diet Coke, but I had to give it up. I’m about 18 months “soder.”
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Boy, that’s changed over the years. Now it’s a mix of watching my kids play ball and then stealing off to a movie with them and then arguing with them – and often losing – about going to Let’s Yo.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? I would say it’s anywhere I don’t have to wait on a line. I’m not gourmet, but I find that I often make breakfast dates (pleasure and business) at the Bluestone Café, which is very cozy.
What’s on your nightstand? A stack of books including two signed copies of A.J. Jacobs’ It’s All Relative, Rachel Kadish’s The Weight Of Ink, Tom Hanks’ book, Old Jews Telling Jokes, Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run, and one that I’ve had for awhile but turn to often for bits at a time, Garry Marshall’s Wake Me When It’s Funny. I also have my phone charger, a note pad, a pen, and a machine that keeps track of a little thingy implanted in my chest.
What are you listening to? When I’m in the car with my kids I have almost no control over the music on the radio. Sometimes I force NPR down their throats, and they’re now fans of “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” I think they would plotz if they met Peter Sagal in person. I’m also a big fan of The West Wing Weekly Podcast and New York Times’ podcast “The Daily” with Michael Barbaro.
What are your current indulgences? I think sitting around with my wife binge-watching TV shows feels pretty indulgent. We discovered Ozark with Jason Bateman and couldn’t not watch it. Don’t get me started on This Is Us. (guilty pleasure)
What talent you would most like to have? I’d like to be able to sing better and play an instrument because I think that might make me cool. Also, I’d like to have a superpower where I always get an aisle seat at the theater or on airplanes.
What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? I feel like ever since we moved here two years ago I have only met interesting people. This town is almost fictional.
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?
“Have you all seen Gary’s Baristanet profile?”