Ritch Shydner is known as a prolific writer. But he says that has less to do with discipline than with his inability to turn off the creative tap.
"It's weird. Sometimes you have to put the jokes on a holding pattern," Shydner said in a phone interview from Washington. "I end up with miles and miles of concepts and I can't find a punch line."
A conversation about Irvine, where Shydner performs every six months ("like dentist appointments") quickly spins into a reflection on the city's ubiquitous tile. "When I get back (from Irvine) I just want to redecorate my house in tile. Everything should be tile so you can just hose down the entire house."
Then, after a moment's reflection, "Hey, I might have a bit there."
Tile jokes notwithstanding, Shydner is best known for his reflections on male-female relationships--familiar turf, to be sure, but ground that the comic manages to put his own stamp on.
Shydner, on love's roller coaster: "One minute you're looking at your girlfriend thinking, 'I want to spend the rest of my life with you.' The next minute you're thinking, 'How can I fake my death?' "
He has shared his tales of love's tribulations on "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night With David Letterman." He was a semi-regular on "Married . . . With Children" and is getting ready to tape several episodes of "Roseanne."
And now it looks as if he may land a sitcom of his own. He's just signed a development deal with ABC for a pilot to be taped early next year. He'll play a blue-collar type in his second marriage, to a more refined woman also in her second marriage with a son who, well, can't stand him. One can see the sparks flying.
While he still enjoys stand-up, Shydner feels he can "just do more" with a television series. And besides, a hit show would help him achieve his ultimate goal:
"I'm looking for world domination."
Who: Ritch Shydner.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 23, through Thursday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 28, at 8:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 26, at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 and 10:30 p.m.
Where: The Irvine Improv, 4255 Campus Drive, Irvine, on a bill with Anthony Griffin.
Whereabouts: In the Irvine Marketplace shopping center, across Campus Drive from the UC Irvine campus.
Wherewithal: $8 Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, $10 Friday and Saturday.
Where to call: (714) 854-5455.