Rudner, Rita 1955-
RUDNER, Rita 1955-
PERSONAL: Born September 17, 1955, in Miami, FL; daughter of Abe (an attorney), and Frances (a homemaker) Rudner; married Martin Bergman (a producer and writer), June 24, 1988.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Rita Rudner Enterprises, P.M.B. 389, 2934 1/2 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel Air, CA 90077. Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
MEMBER: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors' Guild, Actors' Equity Association; Writers Guild of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: Charlie local and national comedy awards, Best Female Comedian in New York, Association of Comedy Artists Award, 1987; American Comedy Award, funniest female comedy club stand-up, 1990.
Rita Rudner's Guide to Men, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.
Naked beneath My Clothes: Tales of a Revealing Nature, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.
Tickled Pink: A Comic Novel, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
A Weekend in the Country (teleplay; also known as Moon Valley and Temecula), USA Network, 1996.
(With Martin Bergman) Peter's Friends (screenplay), Samuel Goldwyn, 1992.
ADAPTATIONS: Naked beneath My Clothes was adapted as an audiocassette, Penguin HighBridge Audio (St. Paul, MN), 1992.
SIDELIGHTS: Stand-up comedian and writer Rita Rudner grew up in Miami, Florida, and dreamed from an early age of a career in show business. When Rudner was thirteen, her mother, Frances, died of cancer. Rudner, who graduated from high school when she was fifteen, gave her father, Abe, an ultimatum: "Let me go to New York, or I'll run away," according to Mark Goodman in People. Her father agreed to take her to New York in 1972. Within three months she had a job dancing in the road company for the show Zorba the Greek. After that, she worked in other Broadway shows and did commercials. She told Goodman, "I've announced to the country that I have bad breath and problem perspiration. People recognize me on the street now and try to hose me down."
After about ten years of this, Rudner felt stalled and bored. She noticed that there were few women working in the comedy field, and wondered why; she also noted that many female comedians had to present themselves as homely in order to be funny and gain acceptance. Rudner, in contrast, dressed up in evening gowns for her shows, and cultivated a quiet, minimalist presentation of funny stories; often, the humor in her presentation came from the contrast between her ladylike demeanor and the down-to-earth truth of her words. During her early years as a stand-up comedian, the other performers would often head to the bar after performing in a club. Rudner sat quietly at a table, taking notes on the performers who were on stage after her and learning from their techniques.
Rudner met her husband, Martin Bergman, in 1984, when he saw her act and fell in love with her. They married in 1988. In 2000 Rudner ventured into radio with a Las Vegas-based talk show called Ask Rita. As radio station manager Gene Greenberg jokingly told Karissa S. Wang in Electronic Media, listeners call to ask for advice about their relationship problems, and Rudner's response is to "take a small problem and turn it into a big problem."
In Naked beneath My Clothes Rudner presents short, amusing meditations on various topics, such as love, family, food, and fashion. A reviewer in the Los Angeles Times Book Review praised Rudner's "spiffy riffs" and noted that when the book is read out loud, it's even funnier than when it is read on the printed page. In Kirkus Reviews, a writer called the book "amusing" and compared Rudner's comic timing to that of George Burns.
In Tickled Pink Rudner presents a semi-autobiographical comic novel about two young women who are trying to make a career in show business in 1980. Mindy Solomon, who dreams of being a Broadway star, leaves her home in Florida after her mother dies of cancer and moves to Manhattan. She meets Ursula Duran, who wants to be a supermodel, and who has one no-good boyfriend after another. Mindy is hurt while performing in her first Broadway show, and ditches dancing for stand-up comedy, finding that she has a real gift for making people laugh. Ursula becomes a cover model, and eventually, both women head to Hollywood to pursue their show-business dreams. In Kirkus Reviews, a writer praised this "droll, witty" first novel, and in Entertainment Weekly, Mark Harris noted that the book can be seen as a satire on the genre of self-help books that offer short, pithy epigrams on life. In People, Carmela Ciuraru wrote that the book is "surprisingly adept."
Commenting on writing the book, Rudner told Matthew Flamm in Entertainment Weekly: "I love a challenge that's going to drive me crazy, and this one suc ceeded—it took me years to finish." And, she said, although it has autobiographical elements, it is not straight autobiography. She told a Powells.com interviewer, "I'm not that interesting, so I took the interesting bits of my life and jazzed up everything around them."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2001, Kathleen Hughes, review of Tickled Pink, p. 554; April 15, 2002, Joyce Saricks, review of Tickled Pink, p. 1423.
Electronic Media, December 18, 2000, Karissa S. Wang, "Rudner Ready to Talk," p. 1A.
Entertainment Weekly, September 4, 1992, Mark Harris, profile of Rudner, p. 66; May 11, 2001, Matthew Flamm, review of Tickled Pink, p. 73.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1992, review of Naked beneath My Clothes, p. 597; October 1, 2001, review of Tickled Pink, p. 1389.
Kliatt, September, 1993, review of Naked beneath My Clothes,p. 62.
Library Journal, November 1, 2001, Kathy Ingels Helmond, review of Tickled Pink, p. 133.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 5, 1992, review of Naked beneath My Clothes, p. 6.
People, September 14, 1992, Mark Goodman, profile of Rudner, p. 131; December 17, 2001, Carmela Ciuraru, review of Tickled Pink, p. 43.
Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1992, review of Naked beneath My Clothes, p. 60; October 22, 2001, review of Tickled Pink, p. 47.
Rita Rudner Web site,http://www.ritafunny.com (June 5, 2003).*