In one way, Marc Price grew up in Hollywood. In another, he grew up in upstate New York.
The actor and comedian, perhaps best known as Skippy on the '80s NBC sitcom "Family Ties," will return to the area for a run of stand-up performances that includes Auburn Public Theater Saturday, Oct. 14. Though he spent his teen years swooning over Justine Bateman's Mallory as best friend to Michael J. Fox's Alex P. Keaton on the show, Price first got those comedic chops in the Catskills.
In an Oct. 11 phone interview, Price recalled growing up in the area when it was a destination for New York City entertainers like Joey Bishop, Jerry Lewis, George Burns and others. He not only saw them, he continued, but also Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld when they were on the cusp of fame in the '70s. Decades later, Price would open for the legendary comedians.
Price partly credits his father, Al Bernie, for his wealth of comedic influences. Also a performer on film and radio, he was "smart enough to see the kids at the time," Price said.
Thirty years after "Family Ties," Price is just as cognizant of the role of time in shaping comedic taste. He said his audience isn't familiar with the sitcom, for the most part, so he stopped doing Mallory jokes awhile ago. However, he continued, younger crowds can still grasp the concept of teen fame via the Kardashians and other frames of reference. So he approaches it that way.
Another source of recent change in Price's comedy is a relationship he's been in since last year. As he was readying material for this next run, he laughed, he had to cut out 10 minutes of jokes about his sex life. The performer also acknowledged the stronger appetite people may have for politically charged laughs in what he called "an apocalyptic time."
"It's my responsibility to do my part and offer laughter and entertain," he said.ta
Price said he stays sharp as a comedian because of the people he works with, such as writers for Seinfeld and the late Garry Shandling. Being on "Family Ties" during his adolescence also doubled as college, acquainting Price with the role of writers, directors, producers and more. He now does behind-the-camera work for TBS, The Disney Channel, Showtime and other networks.
The same eye for talent led Price to Mike Bova, who will open their shows in Auburn and the other 14 cities on their run. Price said he's "got a great energy and a fun, uplifting spirit." The "Family Ties" actor knows his seven years of primetime TV give him an advantage of recognizability, but he long ago learned not to rely on it, he said.
"If you don't crush it in a few minutes," he said, "you're dying the same way the unknown guy is."
WATCH: Marc Price performs live