When my dad died at the end of my sophomore year [at university], I stopped and took stock of my life. There was this real sense that my childhood was officially over. I decided I wanted to be an actor. I knew I was loved as a kid. The thing you can always rely on, your core person, comes from your family's attention and love. When my mother got sick, and I'd see her fight to survive, it gave me an early view of bravery and what life was about. I was able to prepare for it. Your mother dies, and you're eighteen, and you face a choice. Are you going to take drugs? Become a drunk? Or are you going to try to become more spiritual? Why not go with the thing that seems more positive? [pause] Why do I tend to be optimistic? Because the alternative is just crushing to my soul.
I'm totally aware of how lucky I am. I have health, family, children. I do work that gives me total joy and allows me to make a living, and maybe, if I'm lucky enough, I'll feel I've fulfilled a little bit of service to society because I brought other people some laughter.
It's the bane of existence for anyone in comedy. 'The photograph must be funny!' So the people coordinating the shoot throw rubber chickens at you, 20 at a time. Or put a feathered hat on you. Or give you a clown nose. Of course, all of this makes you depressed, so you wind up looking more like you're promoting A Long Day's Journey Into Night.
[Ed Grimley] lives in a retirement home in New Jersey. It's called the Retirement Home in New Jersey for Characters Who Were Interesting in the '80s for About an Hour. He's there with the Whiners, Gumby and Jon Lovitz's 'That's the ticket' guy.