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I met Emmy winning writer Lew
Schneider more than 10 years ago when I producing a comedy show about parenting called,
"Afterbirth…stories you won't read in a parenting magazine."
On it, he told hysterically funny stories
about his life raising three boys with wife Liz Abbe. Over the years, as our collective
children started growing up and, in Lew and Liz's case, growing out—of their
house—we all had more time to reflect on our marriages.
Lucky for us, Lew is happy to talk
about his decades with Liz, sharing the wisdom they have both learned from
hanging in there. Not only do you get to
read some of that here, but Lew, along with five other writer/comedians, will
be performing live July 16, in Los Angeles as part of a Mom.me sponsored show
celebrating the launch of my book on the subject of love and laughter, "Take My
Spouse, Please." In anticipation of the big night, I
sat down with each of the long-term married writer/performers and asked them
some key questions about laughter and coupledom.
Marital stats for Lew and Liz: Married 29 years, together 35. (An intimidating number. I haven't done
anything consistently for 35 years other than eat. ) They met as undergrads at
the University of Pennsylvania. Here we go.
DKM: Was it love at first sight?
LS: Second sight. At first sight, I thought
she was too tall, and it would be too weird, but then very, very quickly we
thought, or at least I thought, I had to give it a try and ignore the laughter
behind our backs.
I think we are almost incapable of being embarrassed in front of each other.
LS: For me, timing is almost always related to when
to open my big fat mouth or keep it shut. Good timing is when I don't
speak impulsively and bad timing is all the other time.
DKM: What's the funniest thing Liz
has ever said to you or done with you?
LS: During a hell gig in Rhode Island, just a quick
one-nighter, we were on our way to vacation in New Hampshire with our cat along
for the trip. Liz decided to let the cat out of the carrier and the car
for some air, while I was on stage doing stand-up. I could see, looking
out toward the back of the club, over the audience, that she was moving around
somewhat frantically outside. She was trying to corral the cat. Watching
this cartoon-like endeavor outside made it very hard to focus on my own jokes.
DKM: How did you survive the early
years with three boys? Did you laugh once? When?
LS: Our sons are now, 23, 21 and 18. Not sure
how we survived, frankly, probably through laughter. We laughed everyday. And of course, nothing holds a marriage together like a common enemy (the
DKM: What's the pay-off of staying
married for a long time?
LS: I think we are almost incapable of being
embarrassed in front of each other. Considering how often I'm embarrassed
in my daily life outside of the house, this is a tremendous comfort. We
also have a lot of inside jokes and expressions only we understand.
DKM: If you had to share one (other)
important piece of wisdom learned over the years, what would it be?
LS: Let me go with what my smart wife always,
always, says and what she always manages to live by (I, by comparison,
am able to do it about 40 percent of the time): Treat other people the way you
would hope to be treated. This even applies to your spouse.