"If you love the process of writing and rewriting and you look at every script as a puzzle, each character having complexities, and you write with the idea of how to best bring those out to solve the puzzle, that's the fun of it. Once the puzzle is solved, everything else after it doesn't matter. I never watch anything I've done after it's over because that wasn't the reason that I did it. What I love is other people watching it and responding to it."
About This Interview
In this three-and-a-quarter hour Archive interview, Barry Kemp talks about his early television influences, including The Dick Van Dyke Show - his inspiration for pursuing a career in television writing. He discusses joining the writing staff of Taxi, where he worked under the tutelage of James L. Brooks on several classic episodes. Kemp wrote for Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, and Andy Kaufman, as well as for Kaufman's alter ego, Tony Clifton. He recalls leaving Taxi to work on the short-lived series Out of the Blue and The Popcorn Kid. He discusses creating the series Newhart, trying to live up to Bob Newhart's first successful TV series and inventing several memorable characters for the show, including "Larry", "Darryl" and "Darryl." He outlines leaving Newhart and creating Coach with Dabney Coleman in mind, but later casting Craig T. Nelson in the title role. He discusses the challenge of getting Jerry Van Dyke cast in the show and describes staying with the show for its entire run of eight seasons. He concludes by speaking of his term as the President of the Writers Guild Foundation, and offers advice to aspiring writers. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on June 13, 2011 in North Hollywood, California.