I miss performing in front of live audiences. I miss chatting up random strangers as I bounce around town on a Sunday morning. I miss going out for dinner and meeting up with friends for coffee. There are so may things I miss during this crisis – all trivial compared to all of the lives that have been lost.
This is such a tough time for everyone as we worry, and face fear and uncertainty. Yes, we are facing it all together, but we are also facing it all apart. I really miss seeing my friends.
Still, this being L.A., I have gotten to see a few of my friends lately – on TV, instead of in person. I just caught Collector’s Call on METV. It featured my buddy, Ralph Garman, an incredibly talented and funny actor and voice artist.
Ralph was featured on the show because he is one of the preeminent collectors of the Batman television series memorabilia. Funny how so many of my friends have wonderful collections. That includes Daniel Roebuck (read my write-up about him and his movie here) with his amazing movie monster memorabilia collection. Danny’s collection will also be featured on Collector’s Call on May 24th so I get to see him instead of just talking on the phone. I have had the privilege of seeing Ralph’s Batman collection and Danny’s collection in person and they are both really awesome! Tons of cool stuff and really well curated. It is so great that now everyone gets to see them.
Ralph Garman was a fixture on Los Angeles morning radio for 18 years. I always felt that he was what made the Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ so funny. Then they unceremoniously dumped him a couple of years ago, and not surprisingly the Kevin and Bean Show is now no more.
Ralph also managed to fit in a lot of movie and television appearances over those years. One of my favorites was his hosting the Joe Schmo Show, a reality show parody where only one contestant did not know that it was a parody. All of the others were actors and were in on it. They did ridiculous things and were all a little bit touched (as written). They tapped lesser known but really talented comics and improv actors. The first year, a then little known Kristen Wiig played a quack marriage counselor. Hilarious! What really made it work though was how sweet the one Schmoe was. Matt Kennedy Gould was the contestant not in on the joke. He was so so likable, sincere and kind, that they had to change the direction of the show so that he “won” each contest instead of being the butt of the joke.
Ralph did three seasons, and each season he played an increasingly obnoxious host. In season two he was a blonde haired British host of a dating reality show. In the final season, he was hilarious as “famed” bounty hunter Jake Montrose. In this version of the “reality” show, they competed to be the next great bounty hunter working for Jake. Jake was extremely jealous and his trophy wife was very flirtatious, especially with that season’s Schmo. It was always the same formula where everyone was in on it except one contestant (or two in the case of season two).
Ralph has a lot of talent, but what I admire most about him is his skill as a comedian and comedy writer. He is so funny in real life and a blast to hang out with. His bits on KROQ were hilarious, and he is also one of the most amazing impressionists I have ever heard. He nails the many famous voices he does, including a nearly perfect Adam West, which he did to good effect on Collector’s Call.
He has done a lot of work with Seth Macfarlane. That includes well over 200 episodes of The Family Guy, where he did the voices for over 50 different characters. He did other animated McFarlane projects as well. He also appeared in several Macfarlane movies including both Ted films. (He is the dad.)
Ralph has also partnered up with the very funny Kevin Smith. The two of them co-host Hollywood Babble-On, where they discuss the week’s celebrity and movie news. He has appeared in the Kevin Smith movies Yoga Hosers, Tusk, several Jay and Silent Bob movies, Hollyweed, and Red State.
He also got to do a couple of over the top terrible movies, Lavalantula and Sharktopus. With his love of camp, this was a dream come true.
Over the many years I have known him, he has appeared on many favorite shows. He was on NYPD Blue several times, a show I recently re-watched and it really holds up. Dennis Franz is such an amazing actor. Ralph has also been on other favorite shows including Mad TV, House, Agent Carter, The Orville, and Quick Draw (created by and starring the original Geico caveman). He was on Doogie Houser, M.D. with the now legendary Neil Patrick Harris – then again, 22 years later, with a much older NPH in Seth McFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West. Neil Patrick Harris, in case you don’t know (but I’m sure you do if you’re reading this blog), is an accomplished magician himself.
You might want to checkout Ralph’s podcast, The Ralph Report, where he interviews his famous friends and does some of the hilarious types of things we all miss from KROQ.
I haven’t seen Ralph in person since Halloween. Something tells me it’s time to give him a call.