BY EMILY BLOCH
Paul Reiser is scrolling through old photos of himself and his youngest son, Leon, upon his wife’s request. In a few hours, they’ll be watching the 18 year old cross the stage for his high school graduation ceremony. “Very literally my life is passing through my eyes,” Reiser tells EU Jacksonville. “The hair’s getting grayer and the waist is getting wider.”
On July 28, Reiser will take the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Stage as part of a 10-stop stand-up tour. It’s one of two scheduled Florida performances, the first being in Clearwater. “I’m looking forward to coming to Florida in July because I need as much heat and humidity as I can get,” Reiser says in his signature deadpan tone. “The only reason I’m coming to Florida is that I couldn’t get a show on the sun.”
The comedian is no stranger to the state. One night a few years ago, he and his son went looking for alligators in Jacksonville. “That was my least favorite thing ever,” he recalls. “I consider Florida trips a scouting exhibition for burial plots. I’m supposed to end up there.”
Reiser is describing this tour as “leisurely,” traveling every other weekend. “I’m not on the road too much, but I love going back to doing stand-up,” he explains. “I do it as often as I can. It’s the most fun of all the things I do.”
And make no mistake, Reiser does a lot. Most recently, he gained recognition for his role as Dr. Sam Owens on season two of Netflix phenomenon, Stranger Things — a show one of Reiser’s sons turned him onto. “I asked my son what he thought, and he said he thought he’d enjoy the second season more if I wasn’t in it,” Reiser recalls. “It distracted him, made it less real.”
Because of Stranger Things, Paul Reiser has gained a whole new wave of fans — ones who weren’t even alive during one of his main claims to fame, the TV series “Mad About You,” starring him and Helen Hunt. “Anyone under 20 only knows me from Stranger Things,” Reiser says. “And now, they’re checking out Mad About You.” The show’s second wave of popularity has raised questions of a possible reboot — something Reiser says he would be up to doing.
“We didn’t think we wanted to go back, because we left it where we wanted it,” he explains. “But then when the reboots started, we started jokingly talking about it. So we agreed to do it and actually came up with good ideas. Now it’s up to the studios. We’re on board. It could very well happen, or not, but either way, we’d be good.”
But despite Reiser’s willingness to do more TV and his laundry list of recent acting roles — five films and three TV series within the last three years to be specific — he continues to enjoy stand-up the most. “Movies and TV are great, but they’re all complex and time-consuming, plus there are a million other people involved,” Reiser says. “I always intended to be a comedian. It’s even more fun than I remembered it being the first time around.”
Reiser says his act on July 28th will pull almost completely from his real-life experiences — including arguments with his kids. The Ponte Vedra performance, along with others, revolves around the connections he creates with his audience. “It’s like old friends getting together, seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while,” he says. “The audience recognizes that, and we get to have fun and commiserate together or celebrate together.”
Reiser performs at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Beach, on Saturday, July 28. Doors are at 7pm with the show starting at 8pm. Tickets range from $39.50-$55 and are available for purchase by visiting www.pvconcerthall.com. For more information on Reiser, visit www.paulresier.com.