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Mad About Paul: Reiser on his return to stand-up and his favorite restaurants

Paul Reiser performs at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino Aug. 23 and 24.
Paul Reiser performs at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino Aug. 23 and 24.
New Wave

Paul Reiser may be best known today for his many film and television roles, but like most sitcom stars, the “Mad About You” funnyman began his career onstage. Ranked No. 77 on Comedy Central’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, Reiser returns to the Vegas stage Aug. 23-24 to perform his relatable brand of stand-up comedy at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do,” Reiser admitted to Examiner.com during an interview on Aug. 19 when asked about performing stand-up comedy again. “I missed it, and my comic friends kept pushing me to do it, I just never got up out of my chair. Eventually, I ran out of excuses. I MC’d this charity event and had a lot of fun. The audience was great, and I realized I hadn’t had an experience like that in years. I liked it. It was a lovely reminder of what I used to do and enjoyed. It was like being reunited with old friends.”

Reiser said that “in his heart” he always considered himself a comedian (“My idols were Bill Cosby and George Carlin—not Robert De Niro and Lawrence Olivier,” he stated), though he knew he couldn’t call himself that having been away from the stage for so long.

“I was overwhelmed—I was busy,” he replied when asked what took him so long to make his triumphant return to stand-up. “Then after [‘Mad About You’] ended, I was busy with other projects. I wanted to go back when the time was right, when I could write new material. I didn’t want to be telling the same jokes I told when I was 35.”

For those who’ve never seen Reiser perform live before, the comedian promised there wouldn’t be any surprises with his material, like some other comics who are known for their more family-friendly personas on television, but then tell R-rated jokes onstage (think Bob Saget, Tim Allen and Brad Garrett).

“I’m not smart enough to make stuff up; I just talk about what happens,” Reiser said. “With ‘Mad About You’ (which Reiser co-created), that was about couples. It always had this feel of what happens when a couple leaves the party, closes the car door and starts talking—that was the show. Now, I talk about being in my 50s and raising a teenager and being married for 25 years. I think it was Bill Cosby who said, ‘The most personal things always end up being the most universal.’”

Reiser added that the meet and greets he frequently hosts after his performances have ended up being “a surprising treat,” as he gets a chance to chat with his fans and learn “what episodes rang true” for them from “Mad About You.”

“I never got to meet the audience before,” he said.

While Reiser’s been on the road more regularly as of late, performing “two or three weekends a month,” when he’s not on tour, he’s still performing at local comedy clubs testing out new material.

“I’ll stop in and do 5 to 10 minutes of new stuff to work things out,” he said. “There’s always so much more to learn.”

When he’s not busy honing his craft, Reiser said he escapes to Las Vegas “once or twice a year” with his buddies or his wife. In fact, the father of two was just here a month ago with his 17-year-old son. When asked about what restaurants he likes to visit when he’s in town, Reiser replied, “There are so many. Twenty years ago, there was just an Italian restaurant and some bad Chinese food.”

Reiser said he enjoys dining at SW Steakhouse inside the Wynn, as he usually craves a “great steak” when he’s visiting (“There’s just something about Vegas,” he said. “You just want to eat a big piece of cow, it’s such a testosteroney town.”). The New York native also said he loves Rao’s inside Caesars Palace, as it brings “a little bit of New York” to Sin City. As for any guilty food pleasures, Reiser just replied, “Everything in front of me I’ll eat—there are very few things I don’t.”

While Reiser may have visited Las Vegas recently, the real question “Mad About You” fans want to know is how often he visits with his former costar, the lovely Helen Hunt. Reiser said the two do “keep in touch,” and that he actually saw Hunt just two months ago. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see his “My Two Dads” costars quite as frequently. While Reiser admitted he “bumped into Greg [Evigan] a year ago,” he jokingly said his TV daughter, Staci Keanan, “must be 77 now.”

The father role is becoming second nature to Reiser lately, not only because of his own kids, but also because of his upcoming film projects. Reiser currently has two movies in the works where he plays a father: the “very funny comedy” Life After Beth starring John C. Reilly, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick, and the “great father-son story” Whiplash starring Miles Teller.

“I play dads now,” Reiser said.

As for whether or not the family man will write another book, The New York Times bestselling author admitted he never planned on writing the ones he did—The New York Times bestseller Couplehood, its follow-up Babyhood and his most recent book, Familyhood—but joked that the next one would have to be called Deathhood.

For now, fans will just have to see Reiser come full circle when he returns to the stage this Friday and Saturday inside the Suncoast Showroom. Show time is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets start at just $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees. To purchase your tickets, call 702.636-7075 or simply click here.

For more on Paul Reiser, visit his official website.