Ray Romano: ‘I’ve Had a Crisis in My 20’s, 30’s, 40’s’

Sometimes comic Ray Romano sounds awfully too close to his Everybody Loves Raymond character Ray Barone. He’s self-deprecating, sweet and quick to spill the beans on his dating techniques which were pretty non-existent. He met his wife when they worked at the same bank, in fact she was the third girl he asked out at that job.

Did you go through a midlife crisis?
You’re in the middle of it right now! You’re a part of it. Like I always say, it’s only called a midlife crisis because I’m in midlife. I’ve had a crisis in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. It’s all different things at different times. They take on a little more seriousness I guess through the years but yeah the idea of the show was sparked because both Mike (Royce, co-creator of ‘Men of a Certain Age’) and I were both coming off working on Raymond and we were both kind of realizing that we were stuck in this void of what do we do now? I’m not ready just to sit down and not do anything. We had a little identity crisis, a little existential crisis. We knew people go through this for different reasons so this is what we should write about. We always write about what we know.

What was your crisis in your 20’s?
Geez, it was almost kind of the same theme but it wasn’t, ‘Hey is that all, do I I have any other goal or purpose or passion?’ In my 20’s it was like ‘When am I going to find a passion, have a direction in life?’ Adulthood was just smacking me in the head, my friends were getting married and getting into business. I was kind of in this limbo, it just kind of hit me in the head and I had a very strong identity crisis in my 20’s and it took me a while to get over it. I got a sense of self through finding stand-up comedy. In life you go through these peaks and valleys. If you’re lucky enough to find something you love that can help you through it. You know some people don’t need it, they’re happy and content.

Are you envious of people like that?
Yes! I’m happy for them. I go to my therapist and say, ‘Why can’t I just be content sitting back and letting life happen around me.’ I’m not going to be able to do something for my whole life and have a goal and perform and create.

What does your therapist say?
He says, ‘Time’s Up Ray.’

When you went through a crisis after Raymond finished was your wife like, ‘Get out of the house and do something.’
At the final curtain call for Raymond everyone was very emotional and crying and my wife was not crying. She said to me later, ‘I found it hard to get sad because it was like the other woman was finally leaving.’ So she thought it would be great to have me at home but after a while she saw I’m better off happy, when I’m happy I’m a better husband and working makes me happy.

Are you like the clown crying on the inside?
You’re making it sound like a cliche.

But isn’t that the stereotype of the stand-up comic?
I think it’s a common denominator. I don’t think it’s a hard rule. Look … to want to go out there, to have this validation from other people, it’s probably lacking somewhere. Thank God for that, otherwise we’d have no entertainment at all. What would we do? We’d all have to go bowling.

You worked in a bank. Were you the funny teller?
Yeah I was the guy who was a little bit irresponsible. I used to write funny poems, usually to try and impress the women. My wife was the third woman I asked out at the bank. She didn’t say yes until I left the bank. We were friends for the longest time. We used to go out with a group of friends. Let’s put it this way, I was not very smooth and I was not very daring. It took me a lot to go out on a limb and ask someone out. I kind of eased into where we went out and flirted and then I saw a sign, you know the guys who land the planes with the flashlights and wave them in, that’s what I needed from for me to make a move. I was making sure I wasn’t going to get turned down at that point.

How about your first kiss?
She remembers it because she says it very awkward. We went out to the movies and it was kind of our proper first date. I drove her home and then I kissed her in the car and she says that when we stopped I looked away and stared out the window and wouldn’t look at her.

I just interviewed Kevin James and I asked him if he was in a rowboat with you and Adam Sandler who would he save. Guess who he picked?
First of all that’s a horrible question! Second of all I hate to even answer it because if I say me I feel bad for Sandler.

Well first of all it’s a hypothetical and secondly you should be pissed off with Kevin because he picked Sandler. He said Sandler feeds his [Kevin’s] family.
Yeah I was going to same the same thing. He’s got to pick Sandler now because Sandler’s the guy he’s in business with now. Well, I pick Sandler because then the boat stays afloat more.

Thanks for speaking to me Ray.
Hey, make it sound good!

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