KICKIN' IT (TV program - syndicated) with host Byron Allen late September 1998
The main focus of the interview was David's work with the Alzheimer's Association. The interview took place at the pool room at Planet Hollywood. DHP was sitting at the edge of the pool table, wearing a white Oxford shirt, opened at the collar with a dark sports jacket.
To view the interview, click here.
Byron Allen: David
David Hyde Pierce: Byron
BA: How you doing?
DHP: Good morning. How are you?
BA: It's good to see you, man.
BA: I'm a big fan of yours.
DHP: Thank you.
BA: Now, how many Emmys do you have now?
DHP: Oh, lots... no, I have two. The show has five.
BA: OK, but you have two so you have bookends.
DHP: I have two. I have bookends, yes. Dennis Miller says I have corn holders.
BA: Corn holders. Door stops. Paper weights.
DHP: Yep. If I ever get two cars, two hood ornaments.
BA: Hood ornaments, I like that. Two Emmys. Congratulations. Did you ever imagine?
DHP: Nope, never thought about it, but I'm glad to have them.
BA: I gotta tell you something. That's terrific because your're really doing a good job and I'm a big fan of the show.
(excerpt from "Good Grief")
BA: And for the few people out there who haven't seen the show, what's the name of it again? br >DHP: First of all, it's called "Frasier" and (looking directly into the camera) what have you been doing with your life if you haven't been watching our show? No, it's a great comedy. It's going to be on on Thursday nights at 9 on NBC. There was another show that used to be there that was kind of good but we'll also do our best.
BA: OK we won't talk about that show anymore. And that character, what's his name of yours?
DHP: Niles, Niles Crane.
BA: You know what, a guy named Niles has to be funny.
DHP: Thank you.
BA: Don't you think?
DHP: Yeah, well he should be, if he's not, he's got a lot of work to do.
BA: Now, let's talk about this organization that you are supporting. Tell us about it.
DHP: This is the Alzheimer's Association. It's a national organization with local chapters all over the country. I'm involved with it because Alzheimer's disease killed my grandfather and my father, although he did not die of it, died with pretty severe memory loss so I got to go through that twice which is two more times than I want anyone else in the world to have to go through it because it's a bad, bad thing. It takes away the person's memory and it takes away their personality. You are forced to watch them disappear long before they actually die. It's a disease that devastates not just the person who has it but the entire family. There are genetic connections with Alzheimer's. It happened that with my mom's dad who died of it and my dad who died, as I said, with memory loss. So it's not something that you particularly want in your genes, but the irony of that, of course is that, if you do have it and you lose your memory, you are perhaps the one person who is not as aware of how awful the disease is, but your family has to watch it.
BA: So I can understand your personal involvement. So this organization is really doing a great job raising a lot of money.
DHP: They've raised a lot of money over the years. Last year I think we raised 11 million dollars. This year we are trying to raise 15 million dollars, for research, for prevention, for help to people afflicted with the disease, for family members who have to deal with it. The psychological devastation on the people who are dealing with it, the caregivers, is unbelievable. It's, it's, it's almost more horrible than any other disease. No disease is great...my mom died of cancer, I wouldn"t wish that on anyone, but when she died, she knew who she was, she knew who we were, we were there when she went and we got to say good-bye. That is not what happens with an Alzheimer's patient and it's um... like I said, it's devastating.
BA: Where are you from originally?
DHP: I'm originally from upstate New York.
BA: Is that right? And you started acting as a young man?
DHP: Yes I did. I was doing it for fun in like elementary school and high school. I thought I was going to be a musician, but then actual musicians told me I wasn't.
BA: What instrument did you play?
DHP: I played the piano and the organ.
BA: What drew you to acting?
DHP: I just enjoyed it. My dad had been an actor. He gave it up when he met my mom. He wanted to be responsible and make a living and all that, but I think, he was living vicariously through me all those years when I was doing it and in some ways, it's in the blood. I always enjoyed it.
BA: And your comedy flare, where do you get that from?
DHP: That's from my dad and from my mom. My mom gave me deadpan and my dad gave me silliness.
BA: What would you say is your big break, cause I remember seeing you first on "Frasier"?
DHP: You know, a big break is something other people talk about, it's weird. I was in theater for a bunch of years in New York, loved every minute of it. I was on Broadway, off Broadway, I did a play that toured the Soviet Union and Japan, that was an incredible event. So more people know me from doing Frasier than anything else and it's a job that I love, but I think I've had almost nothing but big breaks in my career, I've been very happy.
BA: After "Frasier" what do you see yourself doing?
DHP: Well, I'm starting on features, done a few in the past and have a few coming up so maybe that will lead into that or maybe another series or maybe just float by the pool.
BA: I know your're busy so what do you like to do when your're not working?
DHP: Well, you know what, the Alzheimer's Association has taken up a lot of my time when I'm not working, but that's OK. It's such a good cause and I'm happy to work for them.
BA: Your're a good man. See you David.
DHP: See you, Byron.