Jessica Schimmel Interview

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*This interview was originally published by Ocean View Press in July 2004 and was conducted by Rob Watts. R.I.P. Robert Schimmel.

(2004) The other day I interviewed Jessica Schimmel. Jessica is the daughter of famed comedian Robert Schimmel. She has partied alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest comedy acts. She has appeared on Howard Stern with her dad. Most notably, she has a WB network series coming out which is based upon her relationship with her dad and her real life stepmom…who is 4 years older than her. I will leave the expaining to her. Here it is. Thanks Jessica for a great interview!

Rob- First off. How are you doing today?

Jessica- I am exhausted. I have been traveling a lot. I think I might need to form a coffee addiction here soon.

Rob- How is Los Angeles treating you?

Jessica- LA is good, we are spoiled with the weather and everywhere you go you see beautiful people. But on the flip side, dating is tough and everyone can be a bit flaky. After all, they moved here to never have to grow up…Never Never Land if you will.

Rob- You attended the University Of Arizona not long ago. What did you major in while there?

Jessica- Psychology, I was actually pre-med. So I had a minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology. It was not very exciting there at all.

Rob- What did you like most of all about your time in Arizona?

Jessica- Not much. I’d actually get bored and depressed when ever I was there. But I did have an amazing boyfriend of 5 and a half years, although he was from Canada. But AZ just seems insane to me. I honestly feel like my organs bake there and it can’t be healthy when you get in the car and burn yourself sitting down.

Rob- Now your dad, Robert Schimmel, is a famous comedian. What was the best thing about having a funny man for a dad?

Jessica- He was always entertaining for me and my friends, I most certainly had the coolest dad hands down. But also it was hard because he was more like a friend than a father figure, we were always equals. And he sorta scared the guys I wanted to date, and still does. No one wants to end up in his act or on Howard Stern.

Rob- Your father was a comedian pretty much since you were less than a year old. Did your dad have his fellow stand up friends around a lot? If so, who were some of the most memorable ones for you?

Jessica- He did. I remember Rodney Dangerfield the most and the Waynes Brothers but also I was told that I had a thing for Kevin Nealon and Michael Keaton. I know that Jay Leno, Michael J Fox and others would come over after the shows at 2:00am and I would always wake up and they would let me hang out or take me to Canters with them. But recently at the Aspen Comedy Festival I think it was surreal for some of them, they couldn’t believe they were partying with me, they felt old.

Rob- Many of the readers may not be familiar with your story. Your life has taken a rather interesting twist involving your dad and his recent remarriage. Care to fill them in on this?

Jessica- Well, when I was 21 my dad secretly started dating a friend of mine who was 25. Eventually he and my mom split and he informed us. Not long after she got pregnant and they got married. It was definitely strange to have him dating my friend but as a step mom even stranger. I never caught on but when I found out it was a Mission Impossible moment when all the details flashed before me and made perfect sense. When we go places people don’t know who is the wife and who is the daughter and they think he must be the proud grandfather of his son.

Rob- So your stepmother is only 4 years your elder. Would you say the two of you are more like friends, or have the both of you strive for the more traditional step mother-daughter relationship?

Jessica- Well friends first and foremost. Not at all mother and daughter although I do look to her for advice a lot. I actually usually call over there and ask for her to be put on the phone. Once and awhile we’ll be talking and she’ll forget and be talking about sex and then I realize it was with my dad and I shudder.

Rob- Now this real life drama has inspired the WB network to develop a television series around you, your dad and his new wife. As an added bonus, Howard Stern is on board for this project as well. How did this whole thing come about to do a show and what do you think about Howard?

Jessica- I adore Howard he is amazing on air and off. But basically we were doing the Stern appearance when Jordan Levin from the WB heard and called up saying this is a show. It was a whirlwind from there.

Rob- Are you and your father still slated to star in it or has there been discussions about having other actors starring in it?

Jessica- My dad will play himself. There was talk of me but I have no interest in acting and am terrible at it so for the sake of television I will stay off the air.

Rob- Have you done any acting before?

Jessica- I had to take an acting 101 class in college as a elective and I barely got a B, but I was acing organic chemistry…not my thing I guess.

Rob- What’s the best part about living in Los Angeles?

Jessica- My dad is here and my friends, the beach. I guess the good food, there is always something to see or do. And there Hollywood environment feels like home.

Rob- By looking at your website, Jessicaschimmel.com, I could see you have done some traveling. Where is your favorite place so far?

Jessica- I would say anywhere in Europe because I love history and learning about other cultures but New York is by far my favorite city, if I wasn’t afraid of brutal winters I would move there in a heart beat.

Rob- Your life has not been without tragedy. Your father, Robert Schimmel had developed cancer years back and defeated it, God bless him. You also had a younger sibling that unfortunately passed away due to cancer. How were you able to deal with such events in your family and what advise can you share with someone who may be going through the same thing right now?

Jessica- Strangely enough I always remained really positive. When my brother died I was sad but knew his life and death had enriched my life and I was grateful for the short time I had. Then I was diagnosed with Diabetes and my Dad with Cancer and I was like OK enough with the life lessons. I am done learning. But I realize that as hard as things are, strangely enough you find the strength to get through them. Of course I have had the days when I felt like the world falling part but somehow you make your way through.

Rob- Have you ever traveled on the road with your father during his stand up tours?

Jessica- All my life. When I was little the cocktail waitress’s would watch me while he was on stage. I would hear the act and never understand. I remember one day finally understanding and then going Oh My God.

Rob- Do you see yourself becoming a stand up comedian or are you focusing on other endeavors?

Jessica- No stand up comedy is a tough life and not one I want. I would love to write. I think I might just have enough crazy inspiration from my life.

Rob- What have you been doing for enjoyment these days?

Jessica- Spending a lot of time on the beach and having barbeque’s with friends. LA can really suck your soul away so I like to try to stay grounded as much as possible. Summer is a great time here.

Rob- Before we wrap up, do you have any parting words for the readers?

Jessica- Basically take everything in stride. Life is a constant adventure and there are no guide books do the best you can with what you know. There will be blunders and mistakes but you learn from them. Never look back and always move forward. You can live your life safely on the front porch but then you never get to see the world.

Rob- Did you enjoy our interview?

Jessica- Of course I did. Talking about my life is what I do best.

Rob- You are a lovely and pleasant young woman. Best of luck with everything and give Tucker the dog a pet for us.

Jessica- Thanks Rob, will do.

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