”I’m the first one to worry about anything,” says adenoidal-voiced comic Ray Romano, as he tries to relax in the spartan offices of his CBS sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond. He has reason for concern: His series hasn’t yet lived up to its name, though critics have praised it as Seinfeld with a family. (”If you come to our CBS lot,” Romano notes, ”you’ll know why we call it ‘Seinfeld without the money.’ ”) But even if Raymond should hit the top 10, Romano will no doubt find something else to worry about.
— He’s worried about the ratings. After the premiere, Romano says, ”I called my wife and told her, ‘Stop spending. Stop immediately.’ ”
— He’s worried about his relationship with CBS. The network has ordered five more episodes — not the traditional nine. ”Everybody’s reassuring us they have faith,” he says. ”I got so many things to worry about, it’s on worry waiting.”
— He’s worried about his relationship with David Letterman. After Raymond’s premiere, Romano got a call from Letterman, head of Worldwide Pants (which produces the sitcom). ”I picked up the phone and said, ‘What do you want?’ I’m totally joking, you know? There was a two-second pause, and I felt like just melting. And he kind of chuckled. But he does know I was joking. I guess.”
— He’s worried about going back to crummy stand-up gigs. Romano remembers all too vividly the time he sat in a dressing room between a woman with a monkey on her shoulder and a guy in a grape costume. ”That’s when you know you’ve made it,” he says, ”when they come in and say, ‘Okay, Ray, it’s the grape and then you.’ ”
— He’s worried about not worrying enough. ”It’s sad, but I don’t have time for my neuroses.” He looks over at a staffer. ”Schedule some time for me to be neurotic, will ya?”