15 Ray Romano Jokes and Career Moments for His 65th Birthday
Today is Ray Romano’s 65th birthday, an occasion that is frankly very ripe for his stage act. Along with Kevin James, he is America’s foremost practitioner of “Everyday Joe” comedy so reaching retirement age is a barrel full of fish begging to be shot.
Romano got his start in 1989 on the Johnnie Walker Comedy Search, but it was an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman that forged a bond with CBS that led to Everybody Loves Raymond. Thankfully, ELR was a sitcom that knew when it was time to quit and provided Romano with the perfect vehicle to showcase his “slice of life” humor. Running for nine seasons, it also gave the world Brad Garrett.
Today, though, we honor Romano, with 15 Hall of Fame jokes and moments from his career. We will additionally raise a glass of Johnnie Walker at 5 p.m. Central Standard Time for the man who is so much better at being Dave Barry than Dave Barry.
On His Italian Mother’s House
“I come from a very Italian house — the ‘plastic-furniture-you-couldn’t-sit-on’ house. Anybody have the museum house? Towels you could never touch. China that no one’s ever gonna use. Everything in this house is for a special occasion that hasn’t happened yet. My mother’s waiting for the Pope to show up for dinner one night with Sinatra, Chachi or any prominent Italian.”
On Bachelor Parties
“I had a rough weekend. I went to a bachelor party. I can’t do those anymore. I’m a married man with kids. It was one of those bachelor parties where all the married men had to meet at the end of the night and go, ‘Okay, here’s what we say we did, alright? Here’s what happened: We got in a fight with some other guys, and they ripped our underwear. Let’s all go with that. Bobby, you fell and your nipple got pierced. It happens, it happens. Don’t cave in!’”
20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios was perpetually in third place behind Pixar and Illumination Entertainment for children’s movie animation supremacy, but the Ice Age franchise deserves some love. Romano as Manny the perpetually grumpy woolly mammoth was one of the best voice casting decisions of all time.
“I started jogging. Let me give you some advice: If you’re going to jog, don’t do what I did. Really, no, go with someone who’s as pathetic as you are. This helps. Because my friend runs like five miles a day. I said, ‘Okay, let me try.’ I got about half a mile, and I’m dying. And this guy, he won’t let me stop: ‘Oh no, keep going, keep going, you’ll get your second wind, believe me.’
“You know, I found out something about myself. I have only one wind — and it’s a breeze.”
On His Daughter
“You know what else is great about being three years old? She can be crazy. That’s another privilege you have at three. The other day, she came in and she named her toes for us. Yeah, she had a name for every toe — ‘Oh that’s Judy, that’s Nancy, that’s Karen…’
“And it’s adorable. But if grandpa does that, it’s a tragedy all of a sudden, right? You don’t want that. Nobody wants that. Nobody wants grandpa taking off his shoes in front of company like, ‘Hey that’s Fat Tony, and that’s Jimmy the Weasel… They’ve pissing me off all day.’”
“You’re healthy, that’s all that counts. Well, you know, here’s what happens when you hit 30: You’re healthy, but you start looking for shit to go wrong. You’re a hypochondriac. Everything frightens me now. Every morning, I wake up and go, ‘Huh… what the hell is that? That right there?’ Then you always feel better if you can find that on the other side. ‘Oh it’s a set, okay…’”
His First Appearance on The Tonight Show
“Las Vegas is the only place where I’ve actually had to cancel my wake-up call, because I hadn’t gone to bed yet. You will pass your call: ‘Oh shit, the phone’s gonna ring. Oh, no… I’m up!’
“You don’t need a wake-up call in this town. What they should have is a go-to-bed call. When you check in, you just tell the lady, ‘Listen, at 7 a.m., just someone pull up my pants and take me in. If my pants are down when the sun’s up, it’s not good.’”
On Married Sex
The Letterman Set That Changed Everything for Him
“I have to leave my house just to make phone calls now. No one really wants to talk to you on the phone when you’ve got kids running around. Every business call I try to make, I screw up eventually — ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah… The 15th is fine, I just need to know… WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING WITH THAT COOKIE?!? PUT THE COOKIE DOWN! Not you, sorry. Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you… Oh, I didn’t know you were eating a cookie.’”
On Making Friends
“I’ll tell you this, here’s what I’ve learned. Here’s what life has taught me now that I’m in my 50s: I will make the time to be your friend — if you’re a doctor. Anyone in their 50s knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’m finding out, you cannot have enough doctor friends. Shit happens every day. I have to be recommended to someone new. The other day I woke up with a sprained ankle: ‘What— I hopped into bed!’
“Any doctor, too. My wife’s gynecologist has been trying to go golfing with me for the longest time. I’m going with that guy. My wife’s like, ‘He can’t help you.’
“‘Yeah, but he knows more than I know! After the first few inches, it’s all the same in there.’”
On Protecting His Kid’s Ears from Foul Language
“We were taking my 14-year-old to see the movie Ted. Yeah, it’s rated R yeah and it’s a pretty hard R, but it’s a teddy bear. We were taking him and his two buddies with him, and they were in the back seat. My wife said, ‘What are we doing? Are we doing the right thing here?’ So I said to them, ‘Alright boys, listen up. There’s gonna be stuff in this movie that may be inappropriate to hear or see, so we’re gonna use a code word. When I say that code word, you cover your ears and your eyes, okay? And the code word is ‘pussy.’
“And my wife went, ‘NO!’, like I was a dog who peed on the carpet.
“I was like ‘I gotta get the laugh!’
“And she said, ‘Why couldn’t you use a different word?’
“To which I said, ‘You don’t get it. In that split second, I went through the Rolodex of words in my head. There was only one other word that would get the laugh, and it’s worse than that!’”
Everybody Loves Raymond
Comedians landing their own sitcoms based on their stand-up acts has been a mainstay on television for decades. But there was something different about Everybody Loves Raymond. The show didn’t just mine his act for material, it dug deeper, basing the characters and storylines on Romano’s real-life family members — much to their chagrin. ELR was a throwback to classic shows like The Honeymooners. Not many sitcoms in history can brag that they made it nine seasons and left on a high note.
“I was watching the movie Everest, and in the movie, Josh Brolin’s character says to the guys before they climb, ‘Guys, I feel a little guilty because I forgot to tell my wife I was doing this.’
“And I had to rewind it, because he forgot to tell his wife he’s climbing Mount Everest. And my wife is constantly telling me, ‘You’re the worst-communicating husband in the world.’
“No, I’m not!I found the Babe Ruth of non-communication, because who’s worse than that? What could you do worse than that? I guess if Neil Armstrong’s wife was watching the moon landing: ‘Is that… Is that Neil?’”
On Being Married Too Long
“In the beginning of a relationship, you’re in the ‘do no wrong’ phase. Whatever you do, it’s cute, it’s sweet. We’ve crossed over. I’m in the ‘do no right.’ I have to accept it. Here’s an example: I’m walking through, she’s watching TV, and I say to her, ‘Oh, I’ll get you some popcorn.’
“I know she likes popcorn, so I offer her popcorn. To which she says, ‘Alright, but bring enough.’
“She’s already pissed off at me. She’d rather have no popcorn than not enough popcorn. Unbelievable.”