Andy Ackerman

Director / Editor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Andy Ackerman talks about his break into the industry as an assistant editor on the series Welcome Back, Kotter. He relates how he came to work for MTM Enterprises and discusses working on WKRP in Cincinnati as an editor (for which he won an Emmy Award). He describes his approach to editing and notes how the audience creates the rhythm for the show. He speaks in great detail about his long association with Cheers, for which he worked as an editor (another Emmy win) and a director. For Cheers, he talks about working with the series producers, describes memorable episodes, and talks about the atmosphere on the set of the final episode. He then describes his continued work as a director in sitcoms, starting with Wings and Frasier. He discusses at length his work as the main director of the later seasons of Seinfeld. For Seinfeld, he describes the series' style of comedy, the visual ideas he incorporated into the show, and gives his impressions of the ensemble. He offers production stories about such well-known episodes as "The Soup Nazi," "The Invitations," and "The Bizarro Jerry." He touches on some of the series he's directed since Seinfeld, including Becker, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Jenni Matz conducted the interview on November 13, 2007 in South Pasadena, CA.

"We all know when something's not funny. But I think somehow I've been blessed with an ear. I know if something's not quite working. I feel like I have the ability to help the actor to do a little tweak. Maybe instead of ending it with this inflection or underlining this word, try stressing this word instead, and take beats. A lot of it is timing and that's rhythm. Knowing when to pause, when not to pause. That's just the beauty of language in-general."  

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Andy Ackerman on the challenges of directing a comedy dealing with a dark or tragic subject
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld episodes "The Pothole" and "The Rye" and his directorial choices on the series
Andy Ackerman on ad-libbing on Seinfeld; "happy accidents"
On how important rhythm is to comedy
On the legacy of Seinfeld
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences
On majoring in accounting at Santa Clara University and then switching and getting involved with the business school's TV studio
On his first jobs in television after college at Welcome Back Kotter and WKRP in Cincinnati

Chapter 2

On directing 
On directing on Seinfeld

Chapter 3

On editing and directing Cheers
On directing Wings
On passing on Frasier to direct Big Wave Dave's; on directing Muddling Through and returning to Frasier

Chapter 4

Full Chapter Four

Chapter 5

On directing Seinfeld

Chapter 6

On other shows he worked on: Almost Perfect, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Lateline, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Becker
On how television has changed since he was a child; On Curb Your Enthusiasm
On his love of television comedy and his proudest achievements
Shows

Almost Perfect

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Andy Ackerman on the show Almost Perfect

Andy Richter Controls the Universe

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Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show Andy Richter Controls the Universe

Becker

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Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Ted Danson on Becker

Bernie Mac Show, The

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Andy Ackerman on directing The Bernie Mac Show

Big Wave Dave's

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Andy Ackerman on directing Big Wave Dave's

Cheers

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Andy Ackerman on working with the Cheers cast
Andy Ackerman on his favorite episodes of Cheers that he edited
Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"

Cheers: "One for the Road"

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Andy Ackerman on the Cheers finale, "One for the Road"

Cheers: "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"
Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Andy Ackerman on TV shows he grew up watching

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Andy Ackerman on directing a couple episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond
Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments

Frasier

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Andy Ackerman on passing on the opportunity to direct Frasier
Andy Ackerman on directing 4 episodes of Frasier

Jeopardy!

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for the Jeopardy! episode of Cheers, "What is... Cliff Clavin?"

Lateline

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Andy Ackerman on the great experience he had on the show Lateline

Mickey Mouse Club, The

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Andy Ackerman on TV shows he grew up watching

Muddling Through

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Andy Ackerman on directing Muddling Through with Jennifer Aniston

New Adventures of Old Christine, The

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Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine
Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine

Office, The

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Andy Ackerman on his thoughts on The Office

Seinfeld

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Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld episodes "The Pothole" and "The Rye" and his directorial choices on the series
Andy Ackerman on ad-libbing on Seinfeld; "happy accidents"
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone"
Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Pothole"
Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfel d, "The Rye"
Andy Ackerman on directing a dark episode of Seinfeld, "The Invitations"
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld ; the transition after Larry David left the show
Andy Ackerman on his favorite Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David penned episodes of Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale
Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments

Seinfeld: "The Bizarro Jerry"

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Andy Ackerman on his favorite Jerry Seinfeld/Larry David penned episodes of Seinfeld

Seinfeld: "The Chaperone"

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Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone"

Seinfeld: "The Finale"

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Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale

Seinfeld: "The Invitations"

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Andy Ackerman on directing a dark episode of Seinfeld, "The Invitations"

Seinfeld: "The Pothole"

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Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Pothole"

Seinfeld: "The Rye"

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Andy Ackerman on directing an episode of Seinfeld, "The Rye"
Andy Ackerman on one of his favorite Seinfeld episodes, "The Rye"

Seinfeld: "The Soup Nazi"

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Andy Ackerman on one of his favorite Seinfeld episodes, "The Soup Nazi"

Taxi

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Andy Ackerman on James Burrows take on Taxi

WKRP in Cincinnati

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Andy Ackerman on how he got a job editing for WKRP in Cincinnati and winning an Emmy for the show

Welcome Back, Kotter

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Andy Ackerman on his first job as an assistant editor at Welcome Back Kotter

Wings

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Andy Ackerman on working on Wings
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Andy Ackerman on censorship on Seinfeld

Characters & Catchphrases

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Andy Ackerman on Larry David's admiration of the character Sgt. Bilko and how that influenced Curb Your Enthusiasm

Classic TV series episodes

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Andy Ackerman on directing his first episode of Seinfeld, "The Chaperone"

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Andy Ackerman on being a stage manager/assistant director for a high school production and learning a lot from his teacher

Pop Culture

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Andy Ackerman on how Seinfeld phrases made it into the pop culture lexicon
Andy Ackerman on what makes a successful show
Professions

Directors

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Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld episodes "The Pothole" and "The Rye" and his directorial choices on the series
Andy Ackerman on the pacing changes on Seinfeld , trying to maintain a realistic tone from the actors
Andy Ackerman on his directing style on Wings

Editor

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Andy Ackerman on the craft of editing; he won an Emmy for editing an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati
Genres

Comedy Series

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Andy Ackerman on the challenges of directing a comedy dealing with a dark or tragic subject
Andy Ackerman on editing and directing Cheers
Andy Ackerman on Seinfeld
People

Jason Alexander

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Andy Ackerman on Jason Alexander

Kirstie Alley

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Andy Ackerman on actress Kirstie Alley

David Angell

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Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell and David Lee

Jennifer Aniston

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Andy Ackerman on directing Muddling Through with Jennifer Aniston

Jack Benny

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Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: with Michael Richards, Peter Boyle and Jack Benny

Peter Boyle

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Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: with Michael Richards, Peter Boyle and Jack Benny

James Burrows

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Andy Ackerman on director James Burrows
Andy Ackerman on advice he got from James Burrows - listen

Peter Casey

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Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell and David Lee

Ted Danson

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Andy Ackerman on actor Ted Danson
Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Ted Danson on Becker

Larry David

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Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld and meeting Larry David
Andy Ackerman on learning from Larry David
Andy Ackerman on Seinfeld after Larry David left the show
Andy Ackerman on the Seinfeld finale - Larry David returned for the final episode
Andy Ackerman on reuniting with Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dick Van Dyke

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Andy Ackerman on special guest star Dick van Dyke on Becker

Victor Fresco

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Andy Ackerman on writer Victor Fresco

Kelsey Grammer

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Andy Ackerman on directing Kelsey Grammer in Frasier

David Isaacs

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Andy Ackerman on passing on Frasier to work with Ken Levine and David Isaacs on Big Wave Dave's

David Lee

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Andy Ackerman on being approached to do Frasier with Peter Casey, David Angell and David Lee

Ken Levine

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Andy Ackerman on passing on Frasier to work with Ken Levine and David Isaacs on Big Wave Dave's

Kari Lizer

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Andy Ackerman on meeting Kari Lizer, creator of The New Adventures of Old Christine

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Andy Ackerman on Julia Louis-Dreyfus 
Andy Ackerman on directing The New Adventures of Old Christine

Michael Richards

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Andy Ackerman on Jon Voight guest starring on Seinfeld with Michael Richards
Andy Ackerman on some of his favorite television moments: with Michael Richards, Peter Boyle and Jack Benny

Andy Richter

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Andy Ackerman on Andy Richter

Jerry Seinfeld

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Andy Ackerman on Jerry Seinfeld as an actor
Andy Ackerman on directing Seinfeld and meeting Jerry Seinfeld
Andy Ackerman on experimenting with visual storytelling 

Jerry Stiller

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Andy Ackerman on working with Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld

Alex Trebek

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Andy Ackerman on working with Alex Trebek for an episode of Cheers

Jon Voight

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Andy Ackerman on Jon Voight guest starring on Seinfeld with Michael Richards

Hugh Wilson

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Andy Ackerman on editing WKRP in Cincinnati with show creator Hugh Wilson

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