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Andrew Ross Breckman (born March 3, 1955) is an American television and film writer and a radio personality on WFMU. He is the creator and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning television series Monk on the USA Network, and is co-host of WFMU radio's long-running conceptual comedy program Seven Second Delay. He has written screenplays for a number of comedy films including Sgt. Bilko (starring Steve Martin) and Rat Race (directed by Jerry Zucker), and is frequently hired as a "script doctor" to inject humorous content into scripts written by other screenwriters.

Andy Breckman
Breckman (left) in 2010
Breckman (left) in 2010
Born Andrew Ross Breckman
(1955-03-03) March 3, 1955 (age 63)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Comedy writer, screenwriter, radio host, toy developer
Language English
Alma mater Boston University
Period 1982–present
Genre Detective fiction, comedy
Notable works Monk (TV series); Rat Race (film); Seven Second Delay (radio show); Sgt. Bilko (film); I.Q. (film); True Identity (film); Arthur 2: On the Rocks (film)
Spouse Beth Landau
Children 5
Website
andybreckman.com

His production bio at USA Network says, "He has trouble making friends."[1]

Contents

Television writingEdit

Breckman wrote for Late Night with David Letterman from 1982 to 1984, and contributed sketches to Saturday Night Live from 1983 to 1996. One of his most well-known vignettes was a Saturday Night Live sketch called "White Like Me" (which he also directed), in which Eddie Murphy disguises himself as a Caucasian for a day. In 2003 he served as a jokewriter for comedian Steve Martin's stint as host of the Academy Awards.

Breckman's biggest success, Monk, was a murder-mystery with a humorous edge. Breckman told New Jersey Monthly that he was a voracious reader of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, John D. MacDonald, and other authors of “solvable” mysteries, as well as being a big fan of the TV series Columbo. “In a way, it’s similar to comedy writing,” he says. “It’s puzzles and puzzle solving. Very logical.” In August 2009, USA Network launched Little Monk, a spinoff series that portrays the main character, detective Adrian Monk, as a child. Breckman was part of the show's team of writers.

He wrote seven episodes of the 2000-2001 Comedy Central series TV Funhouse, and in 2015 wrote "Dog Show" for The Jack and Triumph Show. In July 2016 he was part of a team of writers for Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog's coverage of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The Good Cop, another humorous murder-mystery series created and written by Breckman, debuted on Netflix in September 2018. The show stars Tony Danza as Tony Caruso, Sr., "a disgraced, former NYPD officer who never followed the rules," and Josh Groban as his son, Tony "T.J." Caruso, Jr., a squeaky-clean homicide detective. About the series, Breckman said, "Many cop shows feature dark and provocative material: psycho-sexual killers, twisted, grim, flawed detectives. Many address the most controversial issues of the day. I watch a lot of them. God bless 'em all. But the show I want to produce is playful, family-friendly, and a celebration of old-fashioned puzzle-solving." [2]

Breckman is professionally represented by Creative Artists Agency.

ProfileEdit

Breckman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a middle-class Jewish family. He grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey and attended Moorestown Friends School [3] and Haddonfield Memorial High School.[4] Breckman dropped out of Boston University in his freshman year, and despite an admitted lack of musical ability, he launched a brief career as a satirical folk singer. He released two albums of original songs, Don't Get Killed and Proud Dad.

Breckman lives in Madison, New Jersey[5] with his wife, documentary filmmaker Beth Landau, whom he met on the dating pages of Nerve.com and who is nicknamed "Boo."[6] They have two children, Molly and Evan. In 2011, Andy and Beth were a featured couple in the documentary When Strangers Click, a film about internet dating. As an engagement present, Breckman applied his fiancee's name (spelled "Beth Landow") to the murder victim in Monk's season two (2003) première, "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School". He honored his wife again by naming a murder victim after her in The Good Cop, season 1, episode 6, "Did the TV Star Do It?".

Breckman has three children, Josh, Rachel, and Julie, from a previous marriage. His brother David worked on Monk and serves on The Good Cop in various production roles.[7]

RadioEdit

Since 1992, Breckman and WFMU station manager Ken Freedman have co-hosted a weekly one-hour comedy call-in radio program, Seven Second Delay. The premise of the program seems to be a never-ending series of dead-on-arrival concepts, with the comedic value hinging on Breckman's recurring acknowledgment of failure and his desire to go home as quickly as possible. Breckman has described his co-host as "a sad, bitter little man and [WFMU's] fundraisers are a good time to humiliate him and exploit his willingness to do just about anything, including prostituting himself, to raise money for his adorable little public hippy noise radio station."[8][better source needed]

From 2009 to 2012, Seven Second Delay broadcast remotely from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater comedy club in Manhattan. In 2011 the UCB shows went bi-weekly. Guests on the program included Dick Cavett, Joe Franklin, Amy Sedaris, Peter Stampfel, Jules Feiffer, Andrew VanWyngarden (of the band MGMT), Dan Okrent, Nora Ephron, Wallace Shawn, Jim Downey, and numerous other celebrities with whom Breckman is familiar, as well as lesser-known fringe figures, whom Breckman ridiculed on the air for not being well-known celebrities.

In 1998, Gadfly Records released Death-Defying Radio Stunts, a CD of outrageous moments from Seven Second Delay studio broadcasts.[9]

Other projectsEdit

In 2003, Breckman took part in a USO tour to US military war zones, contributing material for comedian Al Franken.

In 2014 he launched a line of unusual toys under the brand name Uncle Andy Toys.[10] Products which have reached the consumer market include Real Life Travel Bingo, Who Tooted?, and Rigged Trivia. In 2015 he launched "Feed a Puppy," a live-streaming interactive animal app featuring real rescue puppies, in which users purchase treats to feed the puppies, with a portion of sales receipts donated to rescue shelters.[11] In 2016, he funded his new card game, Shit Happens, with a successful Kickstarter campaign.[12]

He began teaching a weekly course on television comedy writing at New York University in January 2016.[13]

Feud with Don McLeanEdit

Early in his singing career, Breckman was given the opportunity to perform as opening act for "American Pie" singer Don McLean, with whom he shared management. The two did not get along, and a feud developed that has persisted to the present day.[14] Breckman and McLean have penned competing renditions of the origins of their mutual dislike, both of which are available online.[15]

FilmographyEdit

MoviesEdit

TV and videoEdit

DiscographyEdit

  • Don't Get Killed (Gadfly Records, 1990)
  • Proud Dad (Gadfly Records, 1994)
  • Death-Defying Radio Stunts (Gadfly Records, 1998)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Andy Breckman, production bio at USA Network
  2. ^ Matthews, Liam, "A Tony Danza Cop Dramedy Is Coming to Netflix," TVGuide, June 19, 2017
  3. ^ Keller, Joel, "Funny Business: Ever watch the offbeat TV series Monk and wonder, How did they come up with that? For the answer, step into the writing laboratory of Madison’s Andy Breckman and his quirky crew," NJ Monthly, December 19, 2007
  4. ^ Keller, ibid. "Breckman didn’t set out to be a comedy writer, although he was always one of those guys who quietly goofed around in the back of the class. He grew up in Haddonfield, as the oldest of three children in a decidedly middle-class Jewish family... While Breckman was finishing Haddonfield High, his father died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 51."
  5. ^ Louie, Elaine. "CURRENTS; A Movie Spoofs Moving", The New York Times, March 3, 1988. Accessed June 11, 2008. "Five years ago, Mr. Breckman and his family moved from New York City to Madison, N.J."
  6. ^ Seven Second Delay, April 19, 2006
  7. ^ David Breckman credits at IMDB
  8. ^ Seven Second Delay: March 2009
  9. ^ WFMU | Death Defying Radio Stunts
  10. ^ Uncle Andy Toys website
  11. ^ Award-Winning Screenwriter Teams With NJ Shelter To Launch App To Save Puppies, MyPaperOnline.com, August 18, 2015
  12. ^ Breckman's Kickstarter campaign for Shit Happens
  13. ^ Comments on Seven Second Delay episode "Tell Professor Breckman", WFMU radio, January 27, 2016
  14. ^ "Annoy Don McLean, Win $200!" Tayt Harlin, New York Magazine, October 31, 2007
  15. ^ Don McLean vs. Andy Breckman on the WFMU website

External linksEdit