After spending twenty years working as a comedic writer and standup comic Greg Behrendt achieved fame very quickly.
It was sudden, a line he created as a writer on “Sex and the City” was somewhat off the cuff and became a tag for a stand-up routine, then a New York Times Best Selling book on relationships (co-authored with Liz Tuccillo), a movie and even opened the door for his own daytime TV show.
The line “He’s just not that into you…” was a phenomenal word combination that seemed to unlock something, primarily in women, and suddenly Greg Behrendt became the “Guy” with the answers for understanding guys. “The book came about because a really small publisher thought a relationship book for women from a guy’s standpoint would be something we could sell a couple of copies. So the Sex in The City gig was over and I was out of work and it was something fun to do and get paid for.” Greg says “It went out on a really small imprint and then I went on Oprah and it sold a lot of copies.”
Prior to his Oprah appearance as a “Relationship Expert” Behrendt had been a headliner touring the country doing his stand up, writing stories appearing on the Tonight Show and Conan O’Brian building his stand-up career his own Comedy Central special “Greg Behrendt is UnCool” in 2006.
Uncool was stand-up of the then 40 year old, who had dreams of being a rockstar’s evolution from cool young dude to creepy old guy and becoming a devoted husband and father of two little girls. His wife worked in the music industry and his ambitions have now resulted in an emerging band called “Reigning Monarchs”
“I started stand-up in San Francisco after being encouraged to give it a shot by Margaret Chow.” Explains Behrendt. Chow was a fellow member of an Improv Comedy troupe called “Crash and Burn” and after a taste Greg was hooked. He joined the writing team on Sex and the city as a straight man (pun intended) giving notes and suggestions to the writers who were almost all women or gay guys.
When two of the characters were trying to decipher the intentions of a suitor Carrie’s new boyfriend explained: “He’s just not that into you, if he was he would have come up meeting or no meeting.” For the female characters in the show and millions of women across the country that line was powerful. Ironically the short lived “boyfriend” (Jack Berger played by Ron Livingstone in season six) who delivered the line eventually got very tired of nonstop decoding men for the women.
The incredible success of the book, and other “Self help” books like “It’s called a breakup because it’s broken” propelled Behrendt into the cusp of celebrity and suddenly 20 years of work became an overnight success. A syndicated Daytime Talk show followed and the Greg Behrendt became the “Dude Whisperer” to millions of women.
The TV show only lasted a year, but as Behrendt says in his stand up (Appearing this weekend at the Addison Improv) women all over the country suddenly took self help to some sort of Oracle of Dude’s. As the “Jack” character foretold being the “Answer” man got worn out. “It first really hit me when I was on stage in New York. There was a table full of women who were talking while I was on stage and I just snapped. I yelled at one woman, who was talking loudly and she held up a copy of the book, she didn’t come to see my act she came to ask me why her boyfriend broke up with her.” The rest of the story he tells on stage but it resulted in a 2-year hiatus from performing.
Basically what happened is he answered a woman’s question as a guy, a Dude if you will. He saw the problem, proposed a solution and expected to be able to move on as guys tend to do. Behrendt was unprepared for the volume of follow up questions that hit him from thousands of women struggling to understand men.
As his fame grew he began to feel uncomfortable in his own skin. Some women were approaching him on the street expecting him to solve their problems, which is sort of funny when you think about it. As “Greg Behrendt – Self Help Guy” he noticed that a lot of the people approaching him were not interested in helping themselves but having someone else fix them.
He went from being a stand-up comedian to a strange blending of Dr. Phil and Tony Robbins moving further from what he knew was his core, comedy.
During his break from the spotlight Behrendt started playing music more and pod-casting “Walking the Room” a title is a bit of an inside joke to other comedians identifying someone who walks out during a set or clearing a room with a mass walkout. He has set up a new twitter account so as to take a complete break from the “Greg Brehendt” persona and what people expected of him.
Back in his first love of on-stage stand-up comedy his keen wit and personable presence still has some stories of what happened in his time as “Oracle of Dudes” and relatable humor of now being 47 years old and having two very different daughters beginning to really develop into their own worlds.
Sitting in the green room of the Improv Greg is relaxed in his skin and seems to have found some peace being back telling stories and making people laugh. His musical knowledge is amazingly deep and discusses old Reggae, early Ska Surf and just about every other genre of music.
He is lighter having lost over 25 pounds and has toned up both his body and sharp wit it. His audience is still skewed towards a female demographic but his humor is universal with two shows tonight and one on Sunday it is an act that is well worth catching, don’t expect him to solve your relationship problems but if you know a little about music….
Improv Comedy Club
4980 Belt Line Road
Dallas, TX 75254-7037
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