139: The Catch Phrases with Peter Mehlman


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Peter Mehlman went from writing sports to writing Seinfeld and gave us characters and catchphrases we’ll never forget. In this episode, comedian Dan Rosenberg interviews Peter about his journey from playing basketball in college to writing some of the funniest moments on one of the funniest shows ever written. After years on staff writing for Seinfeld in New York, he went moved to sunnier skies and palm trees, writing for another hit show, “It’s Like, You Know," and has even written a few books in recent years.

Catch up with Dan & Peter and have a few laughs along the way in today’s episode: “The Catch Phrases”

Born in Queens, New York. Attended the University of Maryland. Interned, then worked at The Washington Post. Wrote & produced the TV series “SportsBeat” with the great Howard Cosell. Freelance magazine writer in New York. He moved to Los Angeles in 1989, bumped into his friend Larry David. Showed him a humor piece he wrote for the New York Times. Jerry Seinfeld liked it too and yada yada yada, he gets on the show.

Peter wrote and produced Seinfeld for six year. He’s best known for his classic Seinfeld-isms: “Spongeworthy,” “shrinkage,” and “double-dipping.” He joined DreamWorks in 1997 and created the TV show “It’s Like, You Know…,” a scathing look at life in Los Angeles. He punched up the animated kid flick Madagascar and gets a hypochondriacal giraffe named after him.

He’s still writing. Screenplays, novels, op-eds, lists. He dabbles in stand-up and doodles subconsciously. He shoots hoops and lives in LA with his dog Ike.

Dan Rosenberg was born in a tiny suburb of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania called Beaver Falls (more like a suburb of that suburb called Chippewa Township) and lived in the third unit of a duplex.

His father was a self employed auto parts peddler that loved baseball and apple pie with cheese on it. He would often work late in his parts store trying to invent things that already existed, like the telephone or thumb tacks. His mother was a florist, an artist and a part time immigration attorney focusing on citizens of Armenia and West Virginia.

He graduated in the upper 10% of the lower third of his high school class and was an active member of the "Tall Guy's That Can't Play Hoops" club as well as the Jazz Band, where he was fourteenth chair tenor tuba.

Several years ago, he walked into a comedy club and his life was forever changed. “The club was also a cult and they ‘recruited’ me to serve as their light bulb changer.”

He’s done stand-up comedy and writing ever since. he’s written several spec scripts, like, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Office," and a killer "Too Close for Comfort." ("Monroe Gets a Job")

He’s also written for several radio shows as well as two books. The first "The Book on Hosting: How Not to Suck as an Emcee" and "The Book on Vacuums: The Joke Sometimes Writes Itself.”

Check out Dan’s comedy special on Amazon Prime.

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