"When you perform, you get a real, physical adrenaline rush that's quite fabulous. You don't get that when you're writing. You can get into what I call the 'alpha state' which is so involving that you forget about everything else. But it's a very private thing. But I suppose if I had to make a choice I'd rather be performing because it's more immediate. It's lonely being a writer. Even when you're in a room full of writers. You know at some point you actually have to sit down and come up with the stuff yourself."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Bruce Vilanch talks about growing up in N.J. and realizing early on in life that he could make people laugh. He discusses attending Ohio State University and majoring in journalism and theater. He details his long-term professional relationship with Bette Midler, who helped him start his writing career, and speaks of the many people and shows for which he's written over the years: Sonny and Cher, Paul Lynde, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, Donny and Marie, The Star Wars Holiday Special, The Barry Manilow Special, The Dolly Parton Show, The Miss U.S.A Pageant, Burt Reynolds: Conversations with Hollywood, The Gala for the President (for Presidents Bush and Clinton),The Sesame Street All Star 25, Comic Relief, and his many appearances on The Hollywood Squares. He describes his long tenure as head writer of The Academy Awards, and outlines the particulars of writing for a live show, the challenges of remaining topical, and the art of selecting hosts. Vilanch explains the different kinds of writing needed for various awards shows, and recounts how he helped to set up the Screen Actors Guild Awards. He talks about the difference between writing for variety shows and for award shows, and describes how he tailors his writing for various show formats. He also speaks about being openly gay and how that has affected his career. Steven Wishnoff conducted the interview in North Hollywood, CA on June 22, 2011.