Home > Uncategorized > One-man show for the weatherman who is funnier in person

One-man show for the weatherman who is funnier in person

By Cynthia Citron

Cynthia Citron

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, California  — Fritz Coleman, KNBC TV’s intrepid weatherman feels like he’s putting something over on his fellow Angelenos.  “I get paid for working for two minutes three times a day,” he says gleefully.  “I love my job!”  (Which also includes forecasting the weather over KNSD for San Diego and the North County.)

What’s more, he’s not a meteorologist.  But that’s okay, he says, because “Los Angeles is a city that has no weather!”  So he provides his weather wisdom “for people who are too lazy to look out the window.”

And to fill up the remaining 1,434 minutes in the day, he pursues his other successful career as a stand-up comic.

This month he brought his latest hilarious monologue “On The Fritz—An Evening with Fritz Coleman” to the stage of North Hollywood’s El Portal Theater and an appreciative audience that included the loyal crew from his 1988 late-night TV variety show “It’s Fritz.”

And as a delicious surprise, Coleman’s friend Laurence Juber, former lead guitar in Paul McCartney’s group “Wings,” and a man who plays acoustic guitar with all 20 fingers, opened for him.  Juber, a Grammy Award-winning fingerstyle guitarist, played his own special arrangements on his own specially designed acoustic guitar and brought down the house.

When Coleman came on, he plunged right into the confession  that he doesn’t have a degree in meteorology.  That fact doesn’t bother him, though, because “I’m thin and I wear glasses, so I look like a weatherman.”  If he didn’t forecast weather on TV, he says, “I’d have to do it door to door.  I’d be a Jehovah’s meteorologist.”

He cautions people on “how to drive in drizzle:  Always steer into the sprinkles…”

As a single man (he is divorced) he prefers women his own age, he says. (He is 62—“older than I’ve ever been.”)   He dates women from “Dregs List”—women with low self-esteem, and deplores surgical enhancements and Botox.  “Is it necessary for your body parts to last longer than you do?” he asks.

This is Coleman’s third one-man show.  His first, “It’s Me! Dad!” explored the angst of trying to explain your history to your children (he has three of his own).  This was followed by “The Reception,” in which he skewered the twice-married bride and thrice-married groom and the various guests at their wedding.  He accompanied his commentary with slides in order to “attach a face to a neurosis.”

The Pennsylvania-born Coleman attended Salem College in West Virginia for a couple of years and then, sensing that he was going to be drafted, he enlisted in the Navy.  Sent by the Navy to radio school, he was assigned to the Armed Forces Radio & TV Service and spent 3½ years on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.  When he got out, he went back to school (Temple University) then spent the next 15 years in radio doing every job you can think of.  These years included serving as an MC at a jazz nightclub in Buffalo, which he augmented by doing stand-up comedy on Monday nights, when the club would ordinarily be closed.  He also did a radio broadcast on a 50,000-watt radio station during afternoon drive time in Buffalo.

In 1980 he left this burgeoning career to come out to California, “the Mecca of stand-up comedy,” to hone his skills at the Comedy Store, The Improv, The Laugh Factory, The Ice House in Pasadena, and the Hermosa Beach Playhouse.  Then, practically as a fluke, he was invited by News Director Steve Antoniottti of KNBC to fill in for Kevin O’Connell, the regular weatherman, while O’Connell took a longed-for vacation.

In 1984 Coleman succeeded to the top spot in weather—the daily slot at 5, 6, and 11, which he has now held for 27 years.  In addition, he has received four Los Angeles-area Emmy awards for his comedy specials and series: “What A Week,” “It’s Fritz,” “Fritz and Friends,” and “The Perils of Parenting.”

And finally, he fills his “spare time” with community projects, entertaining at fundraisers, and lighting the village Christmas tree in Toluca Lake, where he has been honorary mayor for the past 15 years.

Coleman’s latest show “On The Fritz,”  presented by Weddington Street Productions, runs from the 19th of August through the 22nd, with the performance on the 22nd being an afternoon benefit  for the International Myeloma Foundation.

The El Portal Theatre, with its 360-seat Main Stage, is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

Citron is Los Angeles bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

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