Posted by: Drew | September 10, 2008

30 Minutes with Comedic Actor Andrew Shaifer from Greetings From The Shore

Andrew Schaifer as Flip Dooley

Andrew Shaifer as Flip Dooley

Philly native Andrew Shaifer puts me in the hot seat for a change with his unrelenting Left ball busting during our interview for his new movie Greetings From The Shore.  In the film he plays Flip Dooley, the  pathetically funny restaurant manager with a distinct Philly accent, in this coming of age soon to be classic. In real life Shaifer is far from the character he portrays on screen.

Shaifer attended the William Penn Charter School and then New Your University.  There he made a few good friends who were highly influential on his career. Namely Adam Sandler and Molly Shannon both of SNL fame.  He packed up and moved to LA with Sandler in 1989.

Talking about his friend Sandler,no he’s not bitter, Shaifer had this to say;

“And he’s a big movie star and I’m __ing stuck talking to you”

Ouch – Score: Schaifer 1  Me 0

He has appeared in such film classics as Duce Bigalow, The Wedding Singer, The Cable Guy and Now I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.  He has been and is active in TV, movies and theater. Currently he teaches Comedic Acting at the Michael Howard Studios in New York.

It was Shaifer’s one man show of 20 plus characters from Philadelphia, “We the People” which played to packed houses across the nation.  That caught Gabrielle Berberich’s attention which lead to Shaifer getting tapped for the role.

Funny, I always thought the only characters from Philly were Shoobies and Rocky Balboa knockoffs… Go figure, hmm… back to the interview.

As somebody with a great comic sense what do you find funny? Where does your funny come from?

“That’s a great ___ing question! I mean that sincerely”

“My parents are both really funny, my mom and my dad.  That was the currency…  comedy in the family. My parents are bright individuals , you know teasing each other, giving each other a hard time was the way we communicated, obviously within 20 seconds of talking to you I’m breaking your balls.   I guess I got it from my upbringing, and then of course going off to NYU, as a matter of course…(in) the business you have to figure out how to sell yourself, Adam was doing stand-up , Molly started doing this show, and that’s how they sort of made it.”

“I think somebody is either funny or their not.  I think its something in the person, did they get the joke or not?”

So the word on the street is that the roll of Flip Dooley was written especially for you.

NON FUMAR

Who's Smoking!?? NO FUMAR POR FAVOR!

“I have to give it all to the genius of Gabrielle Berberich who co-wrote the movie with Greg Chwerchak. I had done this one man show… (the aforementioned “We the People”) that took place in Philadelphia , and I wrote this character who was a tour guide.. Gabrielle wrote the role with me in mind… she calls me and wants me to do the Philly accent.  I just walked onto the set… lets not pretend that I’m __ing a great actor, that’s me playing the guys I hung out with growing up in Philly”

At this point Shaifer slipped into his Dooley voice talking about going to Wildwood to get a Hooogie and a soooda.  I felt home sick for the boardwalk at Schellenger Ave and Morey’s Piers, maybe even a slice of Mack’s Pizza.

So if your a Philly Shoobie, where did you hangout on the shore?

“I used to hang out in Wildwood, Stone Harbor and Avalon, Sea Isle City”

Common ground I though finally, this is my home turf on all three islands. maybe I can win this interview back…

Talking on the restaurant side of Schiafer and Dooley;

“I waited tables for ten years   I had a (boss) He was so uptight and he sat me down and was like… I was like a jughead, a moron , I was just goofing around ; he says ‘You do understand this is how you make your living, right?’ Customers loved me because I was fun which is more important when your waiting tables”

“The Flip Dolleys of the world there so ___ uptight!”

In the film there is a moment with Dooley playing a scratch off lottery ticket; Shaifer had this to say;

“It sort of captures the essence of the whole character, he probably has a one bedroom apartment that he goes home… drinks a couple beers and falls asleep miserably”

“Flip Dooley is like the guy in the fraternity who is such a looser, but when the pledges come in, he can yell at them and give them a hard time… he seizes the opportunity since he’s so miserable that every one around him better be miserable as well”

Do you think your soon to be famous line about the Scrod (see the film) will be remembered 10 years from now?

At this point I was attacked with rabid Laughter across my phone with Shaifer losing all sense of volume control.

“Dude, You are funny and smart!”  Hmm … Shaifer 1 Me 1

“When we screen the movie that line kills!  Sandler always talks about you want an applause break with your movie, and it usually comes in the third act of a film, that line usually gets an applause break. That’s very hard to achieve.”

What was it like working with Jay O. Sanders, you seemed to have a natural rhythm of the Big dog little dog?

“Jay O. Sanders is one of the greatest guys, I could tell you stories about every jerk in show business and I have not one bad word to say about that guy. He is the nicest… so talented, he was great to my daughter, my parents, everybody.

“He reminds me of another friend of mine actor Steven Collins. (Seventh Heaven) and George Wentz (Cheers) … they are salt of the earth, kindest, nicest, most talented… I was lucky to be in the same stratosphere with that guy (Sanders) in the movie he’s so good. I can’t say enough about him.”

From what I hear Paul Sorvino has high praises for you, has he expressed that in person?

“I was teaching a class up at Gabrielle’s studio… He came into my class recently and said that I was of the best character actors in the country… then you can say I soiled my pants I was so happy.”

I hear you were a cut up on set making the cameraman crack up?

“The thing is coming from a theater , you know on the set you can’t get a reaction…with the theater your used to people laughing…I liked to try to make the crew laugh, if I’m making them laugh then I’m doing it right…”

You have to experience one of his other characters, Left Ball McGee in person.

As an experienced TV and motion picture actor, what advice would you give to people trying to get a start in the business.

Another good question, from you which is baffling, since you sound like a moron”
Hmm Score: Shaifer 2 Me 1   Oh well …

“Just kidding you about the moron comment, I hope you know that…  I would say, what I learned by watching my friends, like Adam and Molly, and that I subsequently did,  which got me a lot of work.  It’s what I do when I teach, WORK…

“They all created their own stuff, It wasn’t because somebody handed them a script… I mean it’s very rare that your gonna walk in and be Jennifer Aniston and be the cute girl who gets on a series, and pays you a hundred million dollars, it just doesn’t happen to often.”

” I would tell those people to find out who they are as performer’s, because when you walk into a room for an audition you have to be better and different than everybody else.  Every job I’ve ever gotten was because I’m so different, Flip Dooley alone; nobody does such an original character.  It was a character that I had written… Gabrielle was smart and said I can take this character and put it in a movie”

“It takes time to find your own voice”

After a through “Left Ball” busting I can report that Shaifer is in reality one quick witted, funny guy.  Our banter, well his banter at me was taken with many laughs and I can see why Jay O. Sanders and Paul Sorvino speak so highly of this multi-faceted actor.

For those interesed in classes, Andrew Shaifer teaches Comedic Acting at the Michael Howard Studios in Manhattan.

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