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March 17, 1989 - Image 61

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTER AINME

Carol Siskind: "I'm so neurotic."

MISS NEUROSIS!

This Cornell graduate in psychology suffers
from an acute case of the giggles.

STEVEN M. HARTZ

Jewish News Intern

I

f there was a Miss Neuro-
sis pageant, Carol Sis-
kind thinks that she'd
capture the winning
trophy, which would pro-
bably be a bottle of Thorazine.
"I'm so neurotic," joked
Siskind. My hobbies are .. .
Stewing in my own juices,
making mountains out of
molehills and blowing things
completely out of proportion.
And for the talent portion, I'd
like to jump to the wrong con-
clusions."
Siskind, a native New
Yorker who lives in Los
Angeles, wasn't even out of
nursery school when she
cracked her first joke. "When

`

I was 4, I remember making
my family laugh," noted
Siskind. "And my family is
very funny, so I thought that
was quite a feat!'
As she got older, Siskind,
the teenager, liked to collect
and memorize many comedy
albums.
Through the '70s, she took
an interest in acting which
eventually led to her present
career. "At an acting audition
in 1979, I met someone who
said he was a comedian, and
a lightbulb suddenly went off
in my head," said Siskind. "I
just knew that I should be do-
ing it. That was literally how
it all started!'
For the first 61/2 years,
Siskind worked every night,
except for about 30, doing

three shows a night and 12
shows on weekends.
lbday, this queen of comedy
headlines at some classy corn-
edy clubs, including The Im-
provisation in L.A., Catch A
Rising Star (all over the coun-
try) and Mark Ridley's Com-
edy Castle in Berkley. "The
audience at Ridley's is fan-
tastic," she said. "They are so
sophisticated!'
But there was a time,
however, when the clubs at
which she performed were not
as glamourous. "When I first
started doing stand-up, I per-
formed at every toilet bar in
New York City," noted
Siskind. "That is, any place
there was a microphone and
had anyone sitting there."
Over the past decade, she

has appeared on Mery Griffin,
Tonight Show, Evening at the
Improv, Brothers ( a syn-
dicated comedy on Showtime)
and different HBO and
Showtime specials. She has
also toured with Ben Vereen.
Tomorrow evening, Siskind
will star in the Showtime
Comedy special, Jimmy
Walker and Friends II. It will
be aired frequently
throughout the month.
Besides acting and perform-
ing stand-up, she also enjoys
writing her own material. "I
always write with myself in
my mind," said Siskind. "I
like to joke about things that
have an essence of truth in
them. I like talking about
relationships because I think
so much of human behavior
comes down to that. I also try
to find something with
psychlogical insight.
Siskind doesn't model
herself after any other stand-
ups. She does, however,
respect many of her peers. "I
like different comedians for
different things," said
Siskind. "I like Woody Allen,
Lily Tomlin , and some of my
friends, who you haven't
heard of yet but definitely
will?'
As a child, Siskind grew up
in a Conservative Jewish
home. "We observed all of the
Jewish holidays," she noted.
"I make it a point to go back
home to my family in New
York for the holidays."
Siskind admitted that she
first learned a lot about
public speaking from her
father. "My parents have
always been active in the
United Jewish Appeal, and
my dad gave many speeches
to raise money for_UJA," she
said. "From watching him
give speeches, I learned a
great deal about public speak-
ing."
In the future, Siskind said
she would love to appear on
the silver screen and has even
written a movie script ("more
are on the way") that she
hopes to sell. Siskind would
also like to have her own
television show "just like
Cosby and Roseanne Barr!'
Regardless of these desires,
stand-up comedy will always
have a part in Siskind's
future. "Well, the beauty of
being a comedian is, that,
unlike sports or dancing, you
can do it until you're George
Burns' age," she noted.
"What's great about stand-up
is, that, you write, direct, pro-
duce and act in it. So, if it goes
well, it's because of you, and
if it doesn't go well it's
because of you. There's
something about having that
kind of control in your life
which is great!' ❑

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

61

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