Dan Frischman was already a TV star in the 80s in the show Head of the Class. Comedy and improv he does it both. But he became a new face to the 90s generation from his regular role on the Nickelodeon sitcom “Kenan & Kel” lasting for four seasons from 1996-2000. The show became a huge hit but no introduction is needed for that. In our interview Dan reveals what made Nickelodeon Studios in Florida a special place for kids and adults and if it should reopen! Be sure to check out his website! http://www.danfrischman.com/
1. How did you get the role of Chris on Kenan & Kel?
It was created and produced by two of my co-stars from a previous show I was on — “Head of the Class” on ABC. They originally asked me if I knew a “Chris Elliot” type for the role. I couldn’t really think of anyone for them. A month or two later, they asked me if I wanted to do it. I’m glad I hadn’t though of anyone!
2. What was a typical day like at Nick Studios?
Very easygoing and fun. We’d read or rehearse, and we all got along nicely together. Tape days were exciting, with our live, lively audiences. The show was all about goofball comedy hi-jinks, so laughter abounded and people seemed to love it.
3. How much fun was it filming the opening sequence at Universal Studios and meeting Coolio?
I wasn’t there for that part of the taping, and had only heard of Coolio! At first, it seemed odd to me that a rapper not involved with the show was starring in the opening sequence. It made more sense after I saw it. I thought he and the theme song were great.
4. Do you remember other shows being filmed where you were at?
There were a few, like a children’s show that an old college friend, puppeteer Rick Lyon, was involved with. Don’t remember the name of it, though.
5. Have you ever been slimed?
No! Managed to escape that. They had a live show for studio visitors, performed a few times a day that included an audience member being slimed. When my nephew Andy visited from New Jersey (along with my niece Ali), he was chosen to be slimed. He hated it, and cried afterwards. I don’t recommend it!
6 Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?
Yeah, umm…no. They were all just fine, but I don’t remember them.
7. What was one of the good things about living/working in Orlando?
So easy to get around. Most of the people were very nice, and there was an upbeat, fun quality to the area.
8. There were so many memorable episodes from the series such as “I Dropped the screw in the tuna” or “the hollywood episode? Which episode stands out to you?
My favorite episode came later — the one wherein my mean brother comes to visit. I did double-duty that week, playing both characters. A good challenge, and much fun. I also enjoyed an episode wherein the President visits the store. My best line came when the President said hello to me, and all I could respond with was, “I have a radio in my car.” For some reason, it was the one line of mine that the fans seem to remember the most.
9. If you had to pick out one flaw about Nickelodeon Studios what would it be?
There was a TV monitor outside the dressing area that had a goofy Nickelodeon cartoon character singing a very annoying jingle. It ran on a loop and they wouldn’t turn it off! Otherwise, no complaints.
10. I always hear positive stories about the Florida staff. How great were everyone that you worked with down there?
Very. They were all supportive and professional.
11. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?
I was friendly with Ken Foree for years, though we’ve sort of lost touch. It happens. I’m still good friends, though, with producer Dan Schneider, and I’m directing episodes of his newest show, “Sam & Cat.”
12. Was there a bit of a difference between filming in Florida then when the show moved to Nick on Sunset in Cali?
Much easier to film at Nick on Sunset, but only because I live out here! And two nieces I have who live out here, too, were the perfect age for the show — so they often came to the live tapings and looooooved it. That made it all so much more worth it.
13. Any upcoming projects you can tell us about you’re working on.
Three offhand: I just finished writing an animated screenplay about a scrawny parrot, I’ve been teaching acting, and there’s the previously mentioned TV directing. I love being on the other side of the camera!
14. Nick Studios had plenty of hangout spots between the gak kitchen, dressing room, and make up room. Where was your favorite area to be?
On the set, working! Loved playing Chris, and helping Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell make people laugh.
15. How do you feel knowing that the show and the rest of 80s and 90s Nickelodeon made a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?
That’s a very nice thought, so thank you. It makes me feel great to have been part of a project with strong lasting-power.
16. Any behind the scenes or fan moments that happened on set at the studio you can recall (studio tour,live audience)?
My favorite fan moment happened at a mall in Los Angeles. A kid, shopping with his parents in a department store, kept staring at me while I thumbed through some shirts. He couldn’t figure out where he knew me from, and I could tell it was driving him batty! I just smiled, said hello, and moved on. Half an hour later, I was walking to my car in the outside parking lot, and there he was, walking with his parents. He stared at me again, and it suddenly dawned on him. He lit up and he yelled to me, “You have a radio in your car!” — in the same sing-songy way that I’d said it on the show. I laughed hard, and his parents looked on, totally confused. It was a great moment.
17. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and iconic?
The people who worked there really cared about the shows and network. They hit the right chords at the right moments, using the right talent to do so. It’s one of those lucky combinations of things that can just happen.
18. It’s been 8 years now and alot of people miss it but would you like to see it reopened if it should?
Thank you Dan for the wonderful interview for the project. Loved hearing your story and you supporting Nick Studios! I have a page for updates to the project and the final version put there. You are welcome to “like” it. https://www.facebook.com/NickStudiosPastPresentandFuture
You’re very welcome.