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DHP on The Today Show


THE TODAY SHOW (TV program - NBC) with host Bryant Gumble early November 1994

Bryant Gumble: Over the years we've heard any number of starlets whine about getting jobs only for their looks, but David Hyde Pierce might owe his new found fame to that, specifically to the fact that he looks like someone famous. That similarity was the reason that he was cast as Kelsey Grammer's brother in the hit show "Frasier." But after just one hit season, David has earned an Emmy nomination and he continues to steal scenes as the neurotic, pompous, and uptight psychiatrist, Niles Crane.

[Scene from "Duke's We Hardly Knew You"]


Niles Crane: ... a 10% return on our money.
Frasier Crane: Well, this is fantastic. What's say we go celebrate with a nice dinner at an exclusive boite.
NC: Yes, but the question remains, what boite?
FC: Hum... Cherise?
NC: Too noisy.
FC: Alsaise?
NC: Too bright.
FC: Papione?
NC: Too crowded.
FC: We've run out of boites.


BG: (LAUGHS) David Hyde Pierce, how you doin'?
David Hyde Pierce: (CHUCKLES) I'm good, how are you?
BG: I'm OK. You've been called, let's see, the show's indispensible co-star...
DHP: Uh-hum.
BG: ...the biggest surprise of the season... has all this caught you at all off guard?
DHP: No, I think my parents always thought of me as the biggest surprise of the season so that I was used to that and uh... oh, I don't know. I don't think anyone is indispensible on the show. You never know. I think the writing is the most important thing. So the rest of us, we do our best.
BG: But it's gone better than you thought it would.
DHP: Ah yeah, yeah, I mean, I didn't know what was going to happen with the show and uh, certainly the first season we... we hit big and uh, and then they changed our timeslot and we hit big again so, so that's a good sign.
BG: Yeah, they moved you, um, off Thursdays into Tuesdays. What's it done to the mindset of the program?
DHP: Well, um, we have no mindset so it hasn't hurt us too much.
BG: (LAUGHS)
DHP: Uh, we just sit around and do our jobs... No, it's actually, it's made us, uh you know, we're all anxious to do the best job we can and um... it seems to be paying off.
BG: Yeah. "Frasier," um, was a hit from the get-go and so was Niles. Has it brought any problems with it? I mean the sudden fame. Suddenly being recognized on a constant basis...
DHP: Not, not uh, not compared to Rowanda... no, there's no problems with it. But it's it's you know... The main problem is getting used to it. Getting used to how to deal with people on the street and not being anti-social but actually recognizing that you sort of have a responsibility that when people come up to you on the street and uh, ask you for money, you give it to them.
BG: (LAUGHS) You recently admitted that you have a lot more in common with Niles than you'd care to admit. Is that just a realization or is he starting to grow on you and you taking him home?
DHP: It's a little bit of both. I think that uh, you always as an actor you draw on qualities that you have in you somewhere, but also the more you do a part, the more you become like the character and uh...
BG: Does that scare you a little bit?
DHP: It terrifies me, but it's my job, what can I do?
BG: Yeah. Why do you think people like Niles?
DHP: Uh, no accounting for taste.
BG: He's uptight, he's pompous, he's hung up... I mean, why...
DHP: Well, there you go. Those, you know... those are what I look for in a person.
BG: (LAUGHS)
DHP: Uh, I think he is, but you know, I think basically he's naive and he means well, except for when he doesn't.
BG: Yeah. Let's take a look at a clip. I think in this one, you guys are trying to figure out how to back off backing a politician you had been supporting...
DHP: Oh, yeah.
BG: Right? Um, but now he believes he was once abducted by space aliens so you're not sure what you want to do. Let's roll it.

[Scene from "The Candidate"]

Niles Crane: Alright, alright, alright. Let's assume that it's in his imagination. How often does he see these aliens?
Frasier Crane: Well, it's only happened that one time... which might suggest that it was an isolated incident brought on by overwork rather than a pattern of paranoid delusion.
NC: My diagnosis exactly.
FC: Yes, Phil has worked hard.
NC: Yes!
FC: He deserves his chance.
NC: Yes!
FC: He's still gotta seek professional help.
NC: Yes!!! The best there is, but we're not going to turn our backs on him three weeks before the election.
FC: No, damn it, we are not. So, will you treat him?
NC: Are you kidding? I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker.


BG: (CHUCKLES) I know you are only a year into it, but how much are you already starting to think about how long you can be content doing a sitcom on a regular basis.
DHP: Well, it crosses your mind, but I hope I have that problem. I hope I have the problem that it runs so long that I get sick of it.
BG: Yeah.
DHP: But, that would be OK.
BG: Just as "Cheers" spun Frasier, would you like to see "Frasier" spin Niles? Have one of your own?
DHP: Um... uh... no. (CHUCKLES) Because I think by the time I'm ready to do a spin-off of the show, I'll have been playing the character for so long that I can't believe I'll want to do it in another ...
BG: You'll be tired of him.
DHP: Of course, you never know.
BG: Yeah, I mean if it goes well and money does cure a lot of things.
DHP: Well... yes... Oh, money... well, then I would do it.
BG: Hey... You've done some films, you do a lot of stage work, um... Is Niles tough to escape when you go out looking for work?
DHP: Um, it can be a little bit. It's just something I have to be careful of that obviously a lot of the offers I get now are similar types of characters which make sense, but I don't want to play the character more than I'm playing him now. So I just to keep my options open.
BG: Now onto the important stuff.
DHP: Alright.
BG: How good a tie salesman were you?
DHP: Um... lousy. I was lousy... I'm a terrible salesman and uh, not only was I a bad salesman, but also they had... this was at Bloomingdale's I sold ties... they had these computerized cash registers and you could work out the sales tax of you know, Guam, or wherever the tie, the person was going and they were having it delivered for Christmas and I couldn't figure it out and I know for a fact that people are just getting their ties and that was in 1981.
BG: (LAUGHS) And we should know it, you are on "Celebrity Jeopardy" next week. You went against the likes of Norman Schwartzkof and Tony Randall and everything else, did you win?
DHP: I don't remember.
BG: David Hyde Pierce. Take it easy. Good luck.
DHP: Thanks.
BG: We're back in just a moment. Gene Shalet's in The Critic's Corner right after this.
Bryant Gumble: Over the years we've heard any number of starlets whine about getting jobs only for their looks, but David Hyde Pierce might owe his new found fame to that, specifically to the fact that he looks like someone famous. That similarity was the reason that he was cast as Kelsey Grammer's brother in the hit show "Frasier." But after just one hit season, David has earned an Emmy nomination and he continues to steal scenes as the neurotic, pompous, and uptight psychiatrist, Niles Crane.

[Scene from "Duke's We Hardly Knew Ye"]
Niles Crane: ... a 10% return on our money.
Frasier Crane: Well, this is fantastic. What's say we go celebrate with a nice dinner at an exclusive boite.
NC: Yes, but the question remains, what boite?
FC: Hum... Cherise?
NC: Too noisy.
FC: Alsaise?
NC: Too bright.
FC: Papione?
NC: Too crowded.
FC: We've run out of boites.


BG: (LAUGHS) David Hyde Pierce, how you doin'?
David Hyde Pierce: (CHUCKLES) I'm good, how are you?
BG: I'm OK. You've been called, let's see, the show's indispensible co-star...
DHP: Uh-hum.
BG: ...the biggest surprise of the season... has all this caught you at all off guard?
DHP: No, I think my parents always thought of me as the biggest surprise of the season so that I was used to that and uh... oh, I don't know. I don't think anyone is indispensible on the show. You never know. I think the writing is the most important thing. So the rest of us, we do our best.
BG: But it's gone better than you thought it would.
DHP: Ah yeah, yeah, I mean, I didn't know what was going to happen with the show and uh, certainly the first season we... we hit big and uh, and then they changed our timeslot and we hit big again so, so that's a good sign.
BG: Yeah, they moved you, um, off Thursdays into Tuesdays. What's it done to the mindset of the program?
DHP: Well, um, we have no mindset so it hasn't hurt us too much.
BG: (LAUGHS)
DHP: Uh, we just sit around and do our jobs... No, it's actually, it's made us, uh you know, we're all anxious to do the best job we can and um... it seems to be paying off.
BG: Yeah. "Frasier," um, was a hit from the get-go and so was Niles. Has it brought any problems with it? I mean the sudden fame. Suddenly being recognized on a constant basis...
DHP: Not, not uh, not compared to Rowanda... no, there's no problems with it. But it's it's you know... The main problem is getting used to it. Getting used to how to deal with people on the street and not being anti-social but actually recognizing that you sort of have a responsibility that when people come up to you on the street and uh, ask you for money, you give it to them.
BG: (LAUGHS) You recently admitted that you have a lot more in common with Niles than you'd care to admit. Is that just a realization or is he starting to grow on you and you taking him home?
DHP: It's a little bit of both. I think that uh, you always as an actor you draw on qualities that you have in you somewhere, but also the more you do a part, the more you become like the character and uh...
BG: Does that scare you a little bit?
DHP: It terrifies me, but it's my job, what can I do?
BG: Yeah. Why do you think people like Niles?
DHP: Uh, no accounting for taste.
BG: He's uptight, he's pompous, he's hung up... I mean, why...
DHP: Well, there you go. Those, you know... those are what I look for in a person.
BG: (LAUGHS)
DHP: Uh, I think he is, but you know, I think basically he's naive and he means well, except for when he doesn't.
BG: Yeah. Let's take a look at a clip. I think in this one, you guys are trying to figure out how to back off backing a politician you had been supporting...
DHP: Oh, yeah.
BG: Right? Um, but now he believes he was once abducted by space aliens so you're not sure what you want to do. Let's roll it.

[Scene from "The Candidate"]
Niles Crane: Alright, alright, alright. Let's assume that it's in his imagination. How often does he see these aliens?
Frasier Crane: Well, it's only happened that one time... which might suggest that it was an isolated incident brought on by overwork rather than a pattern of paranoid delusion.
NC: My diagnosis exactly.
FC: Yes, Phil has worked hard.
NC: Yes!
FC: He deserves his chance.
NC: Yes!
FC: He's still gotta seek professional help.
NC: Yes!!! The best there is, but we're not going to turn our backs on him three weeks before the election.
FC: No, damn it, we are not. So, will you treat him?
NC: Are you kidding? I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker.


BG: (CHUCKLES) I know you are only a year into it, but how much are you already starting to think about how long you can be content doing a sitcom on a regular basis.
DHP: Well, it crosses your mind, but I hope I have that problem. I hope I have the problem that it runs so long that I get sick of it.
BG: Yeah.
DHP: But, that would be OK.
BG: Just as "Cheers" spun Frasier, would you like to see "Frasier" spin Niles? Have one of your own?
DHP: Um... uh... no. (CHUCKLES) Because I think by the time I'm ready to do a spin-off of the show, I'll have been playing the character for so long that I can't believe I'll want to do it in another ...
BG: You'll be tired of him.
DHP: Of course, you never know.
BG: Yeah, I mean if it goes well and money does cure a lot of things.
DHP: Well... yes... Oh, money... well, then I would do it.
BG: Hey... You've done some films, you do a lot of stage work, um... Is Niles tough to escape when you go out looking for work?
DHP: Um, it can be a little bit. It's just something I have to be careful of that obviously a lot of the offers I get now are similar types of characters which make sense, but I don't want to play the character more than I'm playing him now. So I just to keep my options open.
BG: Now onto the important stuff.
DHP: Alright.
BG: How good a tie salesman were you?
DHP: Um... lousy. I was lousy... I'm a terrible salesman and uh, not only was I a bad salesman, but also they had... this was at Bloomingdale's I sold ties... they had these computerized cash registers and you could work out the sales tax of you know, Guam, or wherever the tie, the person was going and they were having it delivered for Christmas and I couldn't figure it out and I know for a fact that people are just getting their ties and that was in 1981.
BG: (LAUGHS) And we should know it, you are on "Celebrity Jeopardy" next week. You went against the likes of Norman Schwarzkopf and Tony Randall and everything else, did you win?
DHP: I don't remember.
BG: David Hyde Pierce. Take it easy. Good luck.
DHP: Thanks.
BG: We're back in just a moment. Gene Schalat in The Critic's Corner right after this.


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