Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 20, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

In the course of male bonding in Hollywood, comedian Paul Reiser (My Two Dads) and TV writer-producer Danny Jacobson (Roseanne) discovered they were married within three weeks of each other four years ago. The two then began reminiscing about that delicate first year of marriage when, Reiser says, ”you’re making rules and dancing a little ballet.” The pair then concocted Mad About You.

”It’s like thirtysomething but funnier. And shorter,” says the New York bred Reiser, 36, one of the new fraternity of comics — including Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, and Martin Lawrence — who have made a successful transition from stand-up work to moving-around-and-acting work. Reiser has a theory about why stand-up comedians do so well in sitcoms these days: ”It’s because we’re funnier than singers.” As a documentary filmmaker called Paul Buchman in Mad, Reiser says he finally gets to sound exactly like himself. ”I used to think, ‘Why do I feel I’m funnier on the way home than I was at work?”’ (Home is in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife, Paula, a psychotherapist.) ”When I was on the road working the stand-up act, the stuff I loved was all about marriage and relationships. This character is very much like me — the idea comes from my life.”

It’s a good thing, he adds, the idea took hold. ”Because I don’t know how to do too many things in life.”

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