Saucetown Interview: Marc Price
Comedian and actor Marc Price is known for many things, from playing the part of "Skippy" on the beloved ’80s sitcom, Family Ties, to touring the country and headlining stand-up comedy shows. With a career that spans decades, it is an honor for us to share some of his knowledge.
Saucetown: You were a character on a beloved sitcom, Family Ties. Aside from cartoons, there really don’t seem to be a lot of beloved sitcoms on television these days. Why were the ’80s and ’90s so awesome, in terms of sitcoms?
Marc Price: For one thing, everyone was nice. Occasionally, there was a clear-cut bad guy that came with his own evil feet music, so we all knew. And then, that bad guy got his comeuppance at the end. Nowadays on television, everybody’s a prick. It’s fun sometimes, to switch back-and-forth from the retro channels to the regular channels and watch the difference—give it a try. And, in some ways, our show might have had a little to do with the change. Married With Children was bigger, but our character, Alex P, Keaton (I guess it’s Michael J Fox’s character—notice how I took ownership) was so lovable, because Michael J. Fox is so lovable and yet his political positions were cold and he might have started the whole crazy Republican, far-right thing.
Saucetown: What’s some advice you could give to up-and-coming stand-up comedians? Is a career in comedy worth pursuing for most people?
Marc Price: Back in the day, I would encourage everybody. But, now, with the way the seniors are at the moment, you really got to think twice before you make a commitment to a career in stand-up comedy. Maybe, soon, the next wave of whatever will emerge and evolve, and then it will be a great time to jump in.
My dad was a comedian and he started performing in the ’20s. He saw comedy change quite a bit—he also took me to the comedy clubs in New York City, in the ’70s, before they were even comedy clubs (as they’re known today). And, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that comedy clubs—as we know them now—are over. "Are you ready for your headliner tonight?" "Three comedians in row!" Even the microphone...everything about them reeks of your grandfather’s comedy club. The good news is that something is on the way—I’m just not sure what it is. But, it’s coming. I’ve always suspected it’ll have to do with social networking and technology—video clips and interactive feeds from the audience, etc. A kind of a "multi-comedia."
Saucetown: You travel around the Northwest quite often. Aside from our fantastic pizza, what do you love most about our region?
Marc Price: This is the set up? You know the answer...I love the scenic grandeur. I live for lush forests...man, the beautiful lakes, rivers and hot springs, and the cities are okay, too. The people, I dig. Although, some are not the nicest people in the country, especially those from Portland, where everybody thinks they’re better than everybody else (especially your comedians...so shove it, ’Portland comedy scene’—you’re all too hip for your own beards). But, I gotta tell you, the surrounding areas of gorgeousness are better than anywhere else in the country.
Saucetown: Since you failed to mention our fantastic pizza in the previous answer, please expand on what makes a pizza good. What does Skippy put on his pies, and what does he avoid at all costs?
(illustration by Sean Simmans)
Marc Price: Of course, it’s obligatory for me to explain that New York pizza blows away anything, because I grew up in the east. I like pizza with pepperoni and pretty cheap—sometimes I’ll order it at 7-Eleven, to just save some money. Five-dollar, whole-pie bites! In California, we have a place called Cheebo, which makes a New York tasting pizza. But, of course, it’s California, so they do it their own way—it comes in slabs.
Saucetown: If you could rank your top 100 gangster rap singles, what would be your favorite?
Marc Price: I guess it’s Dr. Dre’s "California Love." I’m an OG nerd.
Saucetown: According to industry insiders, you are friends with a famous Playboy playmate?
Marc Price: I used to be, but she won’t talk to me anymore...next subject.
Saucetown: Can we have her number? Why not?
Marc Price: Because, begging for sex doesn’t work—I know, I’ve tried "Come over, it will just take a minute," "You won’t feel anything, I promise" and "Your sister never complained."
Saucetown: Have you ever locked down any partnership between yourself and the peanut butter company of the same name?
Marc Price: Back in the day, we tried. My managers actually called the Skippy peanut butter company and they were not into it. There’s a whole lot of history with the name "Skippy." They even got sued—apparently, the Skippy peanut butter company stole the name in the first place, from some comic book character or something, and so anything with the name "Skippy" that isn’t them, well, they don’t want to touch it. Coincidentally, it’s the same situation with the Playboy playmate.
Saucetown: Lastly, there are a lot of Family Ties fans out there, and everyone knows about one particular actor from that show, who made it big with a series of award-winning films and a fanbase of billions. So, if you don’t mind us bringing him up, how was it working with Michael Gross?
Marc Price: Honestly, Michael Gross was the funniest person on the set—not during the tapings, as that would be Michael J. Fox’s job, but just hanging out, he would have everybody cracking up all the time. I love that man, but I love all the cast members—I really do. I was very grateful to be a part of such an amazing cast. Michael Gross loves trains and he still works today, doing parts in movies, television, etc. He might be the only one from the Family Ties cast that still works as an actor. Me, I’m a stand up comedian and I’m proud of it. Most comedians want to be actors, talk show hosts or anything but "stand-up comedians." Not me—I live for it.