CEDAR RAPIDS – Marc Price and Rain Pryor have family ties in common.
Both grew up with comedian fathers and found early fame in television sitcoms — Pryor on “Head of the Class” and Price as Skippy on “Family Ties.” Now in their 40s, they’ve been touring together four or five times a month the past year or so, hitting the comedy club circuit. They’ll be at Penguins in Cedar Rapids on Friday and Saturday night.
Price says his father, Al Bernie, was on the radio with Fred Allen in the 1940s. “In those days, that was the equivalent of ‘American Idol,’” Price says by phone from his home in Los Angeles. His dad also made seven appearances on television’s “Ed Sullivan Show.”
“What a great introduction to comedy,” says Price, who accompanied his dad to the Comedy Store to see the likes of Robert Klein, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.
Times change, and younger audiences don’t always remember these family connections or the sitcoms, but Price is enjoying the new ride.
“To be able to step out and shine in the spotlight makes us feel good,” he says.
These days, he spends a lot of time behind the camera, writing and producing for TBS, Disney, Animal Planet, NBC and Showtime networks.
Like Pryor, much of his standup show revolves around life experiences, like growing up in Hollywood, with some politics and current events folded in.
Growing up “with a script in his hand,” Price skipped high school and instead, learned on the job. He doesn’t recommend that route for most teens, but for him, it worked.
“I appreciate that I was just really lucky, not only that I got on a TV show, but that I got on a good one,” he says. “I couldn’t imagine having a better professor of comedy than Michael J. Fox or Michael Gross. They always had everyone cracking up. The writers and producers — which is what I wanted to do when I left — we had the best I was learning from.”