Ray Romano, star of the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, is now an author, with the publication of Everything and a Kite, a comical collection of remembrances and observations.
The book's title was inspired by one of Romano's twin sons. When the comedian asked him what he wanted for his fourth birthday, the child replied, "Everything and a kite."
It was a cute thing to say. But, as he told CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Mark McEwen, it also struck Romano as "smart, because in the art of haggling, you always ask for more than what you want. So he wanted everything, and just threw in a kite in case I tried to talk him down a little."
Romano also has a lot to say about his parents.
"I have an Italian mother, and I would brief my friends [about meals]. If you wanted a little more, you couldn't tell her, because she would give you a lot. If you wanted a little more, tell her you didn't want any more. If you wanted a lot more, tell her a little. If you didn't want any, you had to shoot her."
His father, says Romano, has a "dry sense of humor." He discovered the code for his son's answering machine and freely accessed his messages. "He would know our messages, and leave a message [for me], saying, 'Ray, you got to call the doctor about your appointment.' My wife would freak out.
"Then, to make it worse, he learned how to change our outgoing message. So when I called my house from the outside, instead of hearing me, I heard my father saying, 'You've reached Ray and Anna's. If you want them, leave a message. If you want me, I'm at 268Â…' Yeah. My wife cried. She literally cried."
Romano says it took a lot of time to translate his stand-up routines into print. "It's harder than I thought. But I just said, 'I want to do it right. It's the only time I'm going to use this material.' So, as hard as I could, I had to restructure it."
He notes that, in performance, he can use hand gestures and vocal inflections to help make a routine funnier. But in a book, it's all about the words.
As an example, here's Romano's poem, from his book, about what it's like to have an older brother:
A Noogie Makes Me Cry
(Written by Ray Romano at age 7)
Sitting in my room,
Trying to watch TV.
I hear a noise downstairs.
Who could that be?
I open up the door,
Just trying to spy.
I hope it's not my brother.
A noogie makes me cry.
The hallway light goes on.
I hear footsteps on the stairs.
Who could it be?
Am I the only one who cares?
I hope it's a burglar.
And I'll tell you why:
Because then it's not my brother.
A noogie makes me cry.
I hide in the corner
As he opens the door.
Is it my brother?
I just peed on the floor.
Oh, look! It's my mom
And he brought me some pie.
For now, I am happy.
But a noogie makes me cry.