In his latest solo comedy show “Unassisted Living,” now airing on Tubi, Fritz Coleman reminds audiences why he’s been welcome in people’s homes for nearly four decades, whether as a legendary Los Angeles weatherman or as a tireless comic always developing new material for his act. “This one is about getting older,” says Coleman, “and, as always, it’s just the truth of my life lately.”
As a young-ish 70-something who has dealt with aging in the time of Obamacare, big pharma and the pandemic, Coleman was actually eager to get back to a “regular” comedy routine after two years of pandemic-era entertainment. He continued to co-host the Media Path Podcast with Louise Palanker, trading observations on pop culture with a variety of guests from Pat Boone to Henry Winkler to Congressman Adam Schiff, but was eager to get back to performing comedy in front of an audience, even as nightclubs were still closed. Fortunately, his age and peer demographic started working for him. “Most baby boomers don’t really go to comedy clubs anymore, but I started to get invited to speak at a lot of lunches and dinners as Covid wound down. That gave me a chance to really work on some material in front of good audiences, so it’s been almost two years’ worth of developing this show.”
Fritz generously answered questions for Splash Magazines Worldwide. Read on…
What inspired your come back to comedy after doing this so long?
I never really stopped doing comedy when I took the weather job.
I would often do 2 or 3 comedy shows a week at the Comedy Store or the Improv while I was forecasting. It was about getting off the news at 6:30…grabbing dinner…heading to the club to do a set…and making it back at 10p in time to prepare and do the 11:00 news.
What is the part of doing your show that you enjoy the most?
It’s actually a 50/50 split for me between the joy of writing the material…and getting a response to it on stage. I’m disciplined about the writing…one to two hours a day. It’s a very meditative for me. If I can come up with even one rich idea during those periods…it’s very satisfying. Performing it…and having it land with an audience…is the other 50 percent. The icing on the cake.
What is it that you would like your audience to experience/take away from watching your show?
I think there has never been a time in history when the therapeutic effect of comedy has been more important. Taking people out of their heads for an hour or so in the midst of our political and social darkness benefits the audience and me. Although..I don’t do politics in the show.
What makes the connection with the audience is me putting into words common feelings and experiences…using metaphor…exaggeration…and twists. You get laughs of recognition and surprise.
How do you select your material?
I’ve done…what I call…single-topic monologues. From one-person shows about parenthood…divorce…the news business…and culminating in the current show…UNASSISTED LIVING…which talks mainly about the hitting that certain age when the hubcaps start coming off. In this show…I frame aging in the context of the pandemic…kids and grandkids doing school on Zoom…retirement. All age-related items.
What do you see as the future of the show?
I hope this show will find an audience. I believe my demographic….baby boomers…is underserved as to standup comedy. Some folks “of a certain age” are uncomfortable with strong language and raw material. My material is age appropriate in all ways….language and content.
Photos- on the set: Christopher Scott Knell, firelinestudios, burbank, ca