The names of two Hollywood actors, Marc “Skippy” Price and Kevin Farley, will be on the marquee this week at Salida’s SteamPlant Event Center prior to their performance there on Friday, July 7, at 7 p.m.
Price, best known for his seven-year run as “Skippy” on the 1980s television show Family Ties, is still “milking” that role even today; it’s how fans know him best. What fewer people know is that Price’s more natural place in the world is in stand-up comedy – stemming largely from being the child of a professional comedian and performer.
His mother was a cop; it was his father who was on stage. Price chronicled it like this: “My dad was born in 1920; he was in old-time show biz, doing impressions. By age 17 or 18, he was in Hollywood staring in movies and variety acts; he played a lot of different characters.” His father was on the radio with Fred Allen and sang, wrote music and worked with Sammy Davis Jr. and Ray Charles. Price remembers being trained in comedy as a little kid – trading jokes with his dad, watching his dad from the back of the theater and later performing with him at times. Price said his father led him into the new era in comedy of Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. “This is why I can tell you there is going to be a new era in comedy again.”
When asked what the audience could expect from his upcoming Salida show, Price’s comic response was, “No refund.” But after he laughed, he added, “Once a critic described me as being like 300 comedians in one; he didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it fits. I can be silly, I can tell stories, I can be political, and I can joke about the truth. But I couldn’t do a full improvisational show.” He’s inspired by the smart, funny comedy of Bill Marr and the comedic style of many others, including Eddie Izzard, Dana Carvey, Richard Pryor and long-time friend Drew Carey.
“Over time, my comedy has evolved; at age 14 I didn’t have a lot to talk about. I was hanging out at comedy shows with comedians learning what was and wasn’t funny. Eventually I began to make a lot of jokes about things like not getting enough dates; but now I have an amazing girlfriend with a 10-year old son, so now the jokes have to do with having kids.”
This is Price’s second visit to Salida; he scheduled the SteamPlant show so he could return. “I enjoyed the shops – the town as a whole – and I was reminded how much the people really make a place. I felt like I could live there.”
Newer to standup, but not to improv, Farley can be seen on the television show Still the King, entering into its second season on CMT July 11. Referring to the show (created in part by Billy Ray Cyrus), Farley said it’s “very rare to come on a set and be able to improvise and work well with the actors – most of the time we have to stick to a script. This cast works really well with each other; we’re lucky.”
Farley recalled sharing a passion for laughter with his entire family, including his late brother Chris. “We grew up in a funny family; we used humor to deal with life’s ups and downs. There were five kids, so my dad developed a sense of humor about things to help us when we didn’t get our way. Because humor was important to my family, it was natural for me to pursue comedy.”
He keeps busy these days, comically speaking; in addition to television commitments and live stand-up appearances, Farley produces a podcast titled “On the Road” that launched in April. Each week he interviews comics working the scene in their own local areas and talks to them about the challenges of being a comedian. “We talk about how their girlfriends don’t get it; or about how their parents don’t like them doing it. Most of these guys are in their 20s – it gives them a voice.”
Farley described himself as a storyteller when he’s onstage – tackling subjects like battles with weight loss, being raised in the Midwest (he’s a Wisconsin native) and growing up alongside his brother Chris. He’s enjoying stand-up these days. “I like the immediacy of it; I perform on stage and I get results back right away. I get a pretty good idea if it works.”
He’s looking forward to coming to Salida for the first time. “When people come to my show, I want them to have a good time; it’s nice to leave the kids home for the night and laugh about things adults are dealing with every day.”
His perfect day would be pretty simple: “I don’t ask much of the day; I’d get up and have breakfast with a friend, go for a walk, listen to some music and then do some stand-up at night. Maybe have a nice cocktail afterward and go home; but that’s pretty much what I do every day. I don’t want to be king of the world anyways –quality lifestyle is what I want.”
Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; for more information or to purchase tickets visit salidasteamplant.com.