Jonathan Paul Katz is an American comedian, actor, and voice actor best known for his starring role in the animated sitcom Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist as Dr. Katz. He also is known for voicing Erik Robbins in the UPN/Adult Swim series Home Movies. He produces a podcast titled Hey, We're Back and can be heard on Explosion Bus.
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EDIT: Gotta go, but thanks everyone for all the questions!
I’m Jonathan Katz and I know what the music means.
I am a comedian, actor, producer and writer. I was raised by a podcaster and a blogger in New York City.
I met my wife on Christmas day 1979. She didn’t know it was Christmas. I didn’t know it was 1979. Later that year I formed a seminal band named Katz and Jammers whose work has been compared to other things.
I am the co-creator, along with Tom Snyder, of Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, an animated show which ran for 6 seasons on Comedy Central.
I am a compulsive comedian, name dropper, a snappy dresser, and a lover of Audio,
Dr. Katz: The Audio Files on Audible.com/drkatz is the latest iteration of my best known work.
I was the New York State Table Tennis Champion in 1964 and blah blah blah.
Listen to my new audio series version of Dr. Katz on the Audible app Guests include Ray Romano, Ted Danson, Sarah Silverman and more.
Ask Me Anything!
I love you so much Jonathan Katz! My girlfriend and I are getting married soon and I like to think you had a part in our romance. We bonded over our mutual love for Dr. Katz. Our favorite thing to do is stay in bed all day and binge watch. For the holidays, I bought us tickets to see you in LA this past January. AMAZING.
If you ever wanted to officiate a lesbian wedding in Portland, you would make us the happiest ladies in the world.
Question: in your podcast, Hey, We're Back! Did you ever actually make any of those prank calls in real life? O like otterton? P like potterton?
Thank you for everything!
Yes I will officiate your wedding. When are you getting married?
The Potterton call was for real! And that woman is still working.
Did you and Jon Benjamin know each other before working on Dr. Katz? I've always thought that Dr. Katz and Ben had the most natural and believable father-son dynamic on TV.
We didn't, but Jon Benjamin was living with Laura Silverman when we started making the show.
Awesome! That makes me so happy. I hope you and the 411 operator still keep in touch.
We haven't nailed down a date just yet. Thinkin' next May. We will work around your schedule. We will even put you up in a fabulous 3 star hotel AND per diem. Seriously, I would die if this could happen. Then you could officiate my funeral too.
If we could do both of those the same day, that would be great.
I love Portland!
Have you ever had a therapist tell you they were inspired to become a therapist by Dr. Katz?
Is the animated series of Dr Katz ever coming back for a new season?
That's up to YOU!
Thanks for being open about having MS. What kind of sweet custom features would you like to add to your motorized scooter?
I'd like to be able to go 9 miles an hour, in all kinds of weather.
Hello Mr. Katz. Huge fan. Is Home Movies the most underrated animated comedy of all time? Thanks!!
Coach McGuirk was one of the greatest animated characters of all time, counting Betty Boop.
hey dr. katz. before i ask a question i wanted to say thanks, i grew up watching your show and your dynamic with ben was just like me and my father so we loved it. we'd listen to episodes in the car. he died recently and i miss him sorely, but watching dr. katz always makes me feel warm and nostalgic.
anyway, which of your guests ad libbed the most? what did the scripts look like? like how much leeway were you given/what did they tell you to do and what were you allowed to just make up?
thanks SO much for doing this!
Sorry to hear about your dad. Glad Dr. Katz brought the two of you closer!
I think the most improvisational guest was Dom Irrera. Dom would often get on stage in New York clubs and improvise with Robin Williams. As good as Robin was, he was not in Dom's class.
I recently attempted to tell your joke about the Polar Bear who questioned his lineage to a couple friends, they were not amused. Do you think that joke is out-of-date in 2017?
I think that joke is timeless. I think polar bears as a species have bigger problems.
Hi I'm just a fan of audible version of dr.katz and i asked are we getting don irrera in future episodes?
Dom Irrera comes to see me with a different pretext every time. He'll be recurring on the audible show.
I was curious, how much would you say you ARE like Dr Katz? Would you say one in the same or is he more reserved than you?
Also I DK:PT so much, on top of being something I find really funny, I also find it genuinely relaxing. I have it on the background while I sleep, it's amazing! (I enjoy watching it while awake too of course)
I think it's hard to tell us apart. My wife has never been able to stay up for an entire episode, and that has to do with the soothing nature of my voice. And her addiction to Ambien.
My wife just can’t get in to Dr. Katz or Home Movies and I think it’s starting to affect our relationship. How can I make her see the light?
Withhold your affection.
Hello Dr. Katz. One of my favorite bits from the show was when Ben thought he might have SIDS. After being told what SIDS stood for he said maybe he had GRIDS. Gradual Death Syndrome.
My question is: Do you keep in touch with Jon Benjamin? Did you have to do several takes because you kept cracking up?
I do keep in touch! He does some work on the Audible series. We did have to do several takes, but unlike most shows the laughter remained in the final broadcast, and was part of the show's identity. Jon Benjamin is one of the two people who have made me faint from laughing so hard.
Who is your favorite comedian, or which one inspired you most to do comedy?
Dom Irrera, and the late Ronnie Shakes!
Getting laughs is what inspired me.
Squigglevision - an idea ahead of its time, or best forgotten?
Can you share some tips to help me maximize my table tennis game?
WAY ahead of it's time. An idea born in the head of Tom Snyder.
Wait for your opponent to make a mistake. And play indoors.
What is the strangest story you can tell me?
It was a dark and stormy night... and the moon was shining bright... and the captain said "Horatio! Tell me a story!" And Horatio said "It was a dark and stormy night... and the moon was shining bright..."
Have you ever seen your cartoon series on LSD, and were you aware of he crippling effect the animation style had?
No, I have not. But I do blame all of my medical problems on Squigglevision
Well, golly - who is the other person? I think you are hilarious so anyone who could make you faint from laughter must be killer.
Nancy Braudis. She's in the medical profession, and she told me "fainting is just your body's way of telling you you need to breathe.
Good morning from the West Coast! I used to host a folk/roots music radio show, had no idea of your musical background. What are you listening to these days?
Keb Mo. Taj Mahal. Bonnie Raitt.
How did you meet Will Lebow? Loved the bar scenes with you two just riffing back and forth.
Will Lebow is a local actor, classically trained. Once put on 40 pounds for a voice-over.
Absolutely love Dr.Katz. One of the most underrated comedies of all time. Who was your favorite comedian to work with on the show?
I gotta say Ray Romano, Dom Irrera, Wendy Liebman, Laura Kightlinger.
What are your thoughts on Ian Abramson? Be honest.
I set my alarm clock to make sure I'd get the chance to ask this question. Big fan of basically every animated project you had a major hand in, is there any chance of an Explosion Bus revival one day? I was only a high school freshman when it got cancelled and Katie was kind enough to both share details about the planned ending for the series (unfortunately I lost that email to time) and a link to Destiny's Dream years later (again, lost to time). I'd pay big money to see that one get a proper ending, even if it's text or audio only.
I hope so! It was a wonderful project, written and produced by Tom Snyder, and recorded in the basement of my home. And it does need resolution.
Thank you so much for that wonderful question, and my best to your family! Except for your deadbeat father.
Besides the series being audio-only, in what ways is Dr. Katz: The Audio Files different or the same as the TV series?
It feels the same, especially when you hear interaction between Ben and Laura. Laura Silverman has the most amazing timing of any actress I know.
Thank you for Dr. Katz! Your show was a great part of my early adulthood and one of the cultural elements my friends and I bonded over. I love the new Audible series. I was so happy to hear you doing it, and then there's Laura and Ben as well!
My question: What motivates you? What advice do you have that might help other creative professionals stay motivated and keep producing their art?
The thing that motivates me is that I don't really have any choice. As someone in the comedy business, it doesn't stop when I'm not performing. And that's not easy for the people who love me.
How do you justify your existence?
The usual way.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Vanilla. Why do you ask?
Your work, across the board, has entertained me and brought me joy my entire life! Thank you so very much!
Any up and coming projects we might not know about?
Also, your natural "funny"...What do you attribute it to? Goofy upbringing? Natural curiosity?
A role in the web series K&A. A role in Steve Sweeney's movie.
I mostly attribute it to being small and getting picked on as a kid.
I have always loved your show, Dr Katz: Professional Therapist!! It was what made me fall in love with stand up comedy and it's still hilarious today. Cool to see you on here and hope you're doing well!
Here's my question:
What do you think Dr. Katz, Ben and co would be up to in 2017? Did Ben find a girlfriend yet, or any good new snacks at least?
I think Ben would be going into the family business, and have his own clientele, which would probably include me and Laura. And maybe Stanley.
Hey Mr. Katz~! Wanted to tell you I'm a big fan (who isn't?) but I don't have any suuuuper relevant questions, except maybe...do you still enjoy playing table tennis? (also, I like that you call it table tennis instead of ping-pong. The mark of a true professional.)
I'm a writer too--I'm wondering what your favorite genre to work in is, if you ever write stuff totally crazy, just to experiment.
Also, low key--if you ever want a crazy, fresh talent: I'm available. (just for the record, that's a reaction gif, not some weird link to my contact info or anything.)
Thanks for reading!
I do, but I don't play as well as I used to. I play it like air guitar.
I like drama, and somewhere in there I'll find comedy. But if I approach comedy head on, I may get lost.
Haha I like the term!
Have you entertained the idea of appearing in any live action series? I always liked your calm demeanor, you would have been great on The Office, maybe as Toby :)
Yes, I played a role in a sitcom with Ted Danson called Ink. It was an enormous amount of fun, and I'd love to do it again! Are you offering me a job?
Huge fan of Dr. Katz. Loved it when it was on air, still watch it with my friends to this day. Can you tell me a good story about Dom? He was the best guest by far and you guys had great chemistry.
PS- what was with all the -kins jokes? Was that a popular thing in New England at the time? Blue chip kins, cookie kins, etc.
Dom has been talking dirty to my wife for 35 years. And they both love it.
I think just to make it childlike.
You are a national treasure, Katz. Is there any way we can download/own your old songs?
Oh my god. I've been threatening to put out a CD called "Easy Listening: But Not That Easy." Because my music is truly mediocre, like the kind of a music you'd hear in an elevator. It is in fact elevator music.
If I were on the Audible show I'd ask you how to handle feeling jealous over my dog's endless joy and my 1-year-old's social graces ... any pointers from the couch?
I suspect that your dog is secretly jealous of you. And you need to be more sensitive to that.
If you were forced to choose, what would say you admire most about Donald Trump?
which fellow comedian do you feel was unappreciated and as a result now works in a completely different but more lucrative industry?
Does the slightly squigglyness of your head cause any neurologic problems?
I've been living with MS for 20 years, a disease of the central nervous system. And as the Associate Director of the Central Nervous System, I see no connection
Was working strictly in audio any different than previous Dr. Katz work? Also, the joke that you told on Marc Maron's show a few years ago about the guy yelling at Kate Smith at a boxing match is my favorite joke of all time.
Oddly enough, when we did the animated show the animation didn't begin util we had signed off on the audio. So for me it's not really that different.
Are there any dream "patients" that you wanted to have on the show, but it just never worked out?
I loved Dr. Katz so much that, prior to the DVD release, I used to drive around listening to bootlegged audio recordings of all of the episodes. I'm so happy to have it back. Whose idea was it to do the new audio version?
That idea belongs to a guy named Bruce Smith.
That idea belongs to a man called Bruce Smith.
Dr. Katz, why is your office phone line always busy?
That's kind of like the chicken and the egg question. So I'm going to say the egg.
Do you like star wars?
Some of them.
Was it difficult to get comedy central on board for such a relatively untested concept? How did Dr Katz happen? Had you been doing a live version in Boston before the show came together? It was really such a remarkable breath of fresh air in the 90s when it came out.
HBO's enthusiasm helped bring Comedy Central into the fold.
Nope, animated show came first.
Hey, Dr Katz! It's awesome that you're doing this. 2 questions. What's your favorite episode of Dr. Katz Professional Therapist? And, do you squiggle in real life?
My two favorite episodes are "Mask" and "Bully." Bully is the name of a stuffed animal I actually had as a kid that was sewn together by my mom.
No I don't, but I'd like to.
Were the guests who didn't have a background in comedy approached by the folks who worked on the show, or did the guests reach out to the show? Winona Ryder for example.
It worked both ways.
When I heard that Winona Ryder liked the show, I actually reached out to her.
Also, I was wondering; is actual therapy anything like it is in the show? Probably not,but one could dream... Didn't know if you had life experience with therapy
My experience in therapy is just 45 minutes of trying to make my therapist laugh, and then paying her.
Absolutely loved Dr Katz, thanks for doing this. How do you think the internet has changed comedy, as a whole? Is it better or worse now than 10 yrs ago?
Depends, Windows or Mac?
Have you ever had someone not recognize who you were until they heard your voice and then independently asked if you're Dr. Katz?
Happens occasionally. And sometimes I'm the one that brings it up.
Hi Dr.Katz another question i have a problem of speech but i'm fall in love on comedy what do think is the best i can do? I'm super inspired & aspired being a comic one day & because of women of comedy that i know inspired & aspired me most.
A speech impediment is something that every cartoon character wants!
Also, comedy writing, selling jokes door to door, etc.
Jonathan I'd love to thank you for your comedy, and your work with MS. I am a long time fan.
As an active user of the List App, how do you feel about the loss of drafts? Would you consider joining the app Bumpers along with many of Lists users?
I'm a big fan of the list app. Sometimes a tweet isn't enough.
Is your body surrounded by shaky black lines?
They've finally stopped shaking.