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WERE FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE
The Coffee Lady
MICHAEL ELKIN SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
ast year's problem-plagued SNL's Linda Richman, Linda
"Saturday Night Live" wasn't Ruzan was as surprised as any-
everybody's cup of tea. But it one else. "I came on the set, and
certainly was everyone's cup some of the cast (Dana Carvy, Phil
Hartman) greeted me different-
Linda Richman, with her New ly," she recalls.
Yawk squawk and Yiddish
Soon, she was able to see why.
yakking, kept the Saturday night Within minutes, there was Mr.
series perking with her "Coffee Myers, dolled up, dressed to kvell,
Talk," spilling beans on celebs and in his "Coffee Lady" haute couture.
roasting neighbors with whom she
Was Ms. Ruzan insulted? Bite
didn't see oy-to-oy.
For Ms. Richman, a
good brew means Folgees
not Foster's, and gossip
sweetens the pot more
than any Sweet 'n Low.
"Shopping and gossip-
ing, what could be better?'
asks Linda Ruzan, who
Linda Ruzan is the in-
spired source of Linda
Richman, SNL's "Coffee
Lady," a character creat-
ed and acted by her
comedically talented son-
in-law, Mike Myers. The
skits are written by Mr.
Myers and his wife, Ms.
Ruzan's daughter, Robin.
With her blood-red
nails, colorful personality
and high-rise hair-do that
has its own elevator, Ms.
Richman is a Jewish car-
toon character, a Road Linda Ruzan Inspired "Coffee Talk."
Runner on rugelach, a
woman whose idea of a 50-yard- your tongue, she says. She went
Sprint is a phone call to her head over high-heels for the char-
acter. "It was wonderful," she says.
There's a comical extension cord "Just wonderful."
that leads to Ms. Ruzan's richly
Move over, Juan Valdez. Linda
comfortable Manhattan apart- Richman has grounds for a popu-
ment. 'The phone is my life," says lar new career here.
Ms. Ruzan, owner of a talent
Couldn't she see herself in a cof-
agency who spends hours making fee commercial? "If they offer me
calls and then, at day's end, when enough money, I'll do anything,"
she disconnects from work, dials she jokes.
up her daughter.
The comically coarse Linda
"I thank God when I'm finished Richman is no real reflection on
work, so I can be on the phone," Linda Ruzan, unless you're using
a cracked mirror. Ms. Ruzan is a
She is not on call now; Ms. pretty woman, much more sultry
Ruzan has taken time off from her and sophisticated than her small-
busy and successful business to screen alter ego.
sit and chat. Over coffee, of course.
Not that the two characters
"Decaf? Never!" she laughs, don't share a trove of traits. In-
pouring the coffee carefully into a deed, Ms. Ruzan treasures Ms.
special "Linda Richman Mug," a Richman's reaction to surprises.
gift of a grateful NBC which sports
"I often get farklempt," exclaims
a fragrance of Folgees and fun.
The character hits home for Ms.
There it is — the RFS word that
Ruzan. After all, Ms. Richman is has audiences laughing nation-
no stranger. "Richman is my ally. Is it the caffeine taking?
maiden name," she says.
Whenever life becomes too much
Four years ago, when Mike My- for Linda Richman, she starts
ers went on his maiden voyage as spouting Yiddishisms, with
farklempt her favorite word.
Micahel Elkin is the
With a catch in her voice, Ms.
entertainment editor of the
Ruzan is, well, farklempt that the
Jewish Exponent in
public would catch on so. "I come
from the Yiddish ghetto of the