Finally, I was hired on staff! This was Red Foxx, the legendary comedian’s last TV show. I was hired on a 6-week contract as a term writer. I was so excited when I walked on the lot at Paramount. Eddie Murphy produced this show. Yes, I got to meet the big man when he was at his apex. He barely looked up to shake my hand. In fact, thinking back, I don’t think he shook my hand. I think he’s a germ-a-phobe.
This was a wild experience. Two of Eddie’s friends were producers. They were clowns. The staff must’ve had 17 writers. We worked until 4 or 5 a.m. on rewrite nights. And the show was mundane at best. Red was surly and mean, but really funny. And Della Reese told the nastiest joke off camera.
The boss, the showrunner, Greg Antonacci, chose not to renew my contract, cutting me loose in the middle of the season. I was crushed. It really hurt. But in retrospect, it really was the break I needed. While unemployed, with a little loot in the bank, I wrote my first and only play, Tinseltown Trilogy. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but little did I know that play would really get me in to movies.