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Q&A with Emmy Nominated Show-Biz Veteran Shelley Herman

Exclusive Interview by Karen Beishuizen

Shelley Herman is an Emmy-nominated show-biz veteran, a longtime host, writer and producer who has written a book with the title My Peacock Tale: Secrets of an NBC Page. She is taking us back to the beginning of her career – when she joined the famous NBC Studio Page program. Enjoy stories about Andy Kaufman, Richard Pryor, Freddie Prinze, Gilda Radner, Robin Williams, Betty White, ex-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Redd Foxx, Frank Sinatra, John Travolta, and other still famous (and some forgotten) giants of film, television, and music. Check it out!

KB: Did you always want to be a writer growing up?

I always thought only really smart people were writers, so I never thought I could write. But I knew I liked to tell stories and liked to read biographies. And I was one of those annoying people who would watch movies and think the dialogue sometimes sounded forced or a plot point seemed far-fetched and began to think I could write better than that. But how? That was the question.

KB: How did your career as a writer started?

Being introduced to improvisational comedy when I was still a student at Agoura High School in California opened my eyes to the possibilities of creating something that didn’t require a typewriter and a dictionary. I discovered writing was more than words; it was also feelings and being true to a moment. That’s where good comedy comes from too. When you’re in doing it correctly, tapping into a reality of a situation, knowing who your character is and how you feel. The rest comes pretty easily. To this day, I am in an improv class, Off The Wall, that meets once a week. If it weren’t for a class like this, especially during the Covid lockdown when we could only meet over Zoom, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my brain active to write my book.

KB: Which TV shows have you written for? 

I have a love for TV game shows and have written for many of them, everything from “Liar’s Club” to “Love Connection,” to everyone’s guilty pleasure show, “Supermarket Sweep.” I even got to be a contestant on “The Dating Game,” where I selected the Bachelor. I was on the show twice and went on my dream dates to San Diego, California, and Paradise Island in The Bahamas. I’ve also written a lot of comedy and was nominated for an Emmy Award for writing a daytime talk show. So yes, there are a lot!

KB: Which TV shows have you guest starred in?

I got my SAG union card when I did a hidden camera segment on “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” playing a prank on Billy Dee Williams. I also toured the country playing jokes on people doing “Candid Camera.” That’s really where improv pays off. I starred in the comedy series “Off the Wall,” “Night Rap,” and co-hosted “Battle of the Monster Trucks and Mud Bog Spectacular” for ESPN. My credits are on my website.

KB: Tell me about My Peacock Tale: Secrets of An NBC Page. What is it about?

“My Peacock Tale: Secrets of An NBC Page” is a funny, sexy, gossipy, celebrity-filled memoir with real-life, never-before-told stories. Set against the backdrop of NBC Burbank in the mid-70s, the Pages had VIP access to stars ranging from Johnny Carson to Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner to Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze to Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, John Travolta, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Johnny Cash, Harry Chapin and iconic legends including Bob Hope, Betty White, Elvis Presley, Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Alfred Hitchcock and many more. Oh, and then there’s all the good sex! But there are also stories of unwanted sexual advances made on the Pages, both men and women. The Page staff was like a show biz exclusive sorority/fraternity, and their friendships have continued for decades. The stories make this a good read for anyone hoping to enter the entertainment industry.

KB: How did you meet your husband, Randall Carver? I read you have lots of animals.

I met my husband, actor Randall Carver, from the TV series “Taxi” when trying to find a home for an abandoned dog in my neighborhood. Someone told me Randall was fostering this magnificent red-haired boy named Rocco, and I asked if I could dog sit if needed. Randall went back and forth to Texas a lot to be with his ill mother, and I fell in love with both the dog and Randall! Since then, we have had numerous dogs, cats, and birds. I would still like a tortoise!

KB: Of all the people you worked with or met, who is your favorite and why?

Gosh, there have been so many. Let me say hero-wise; it is astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Crush-wise, it has to be Kevin Kline, and the reasons should be obvious! I have admired Robin Williams’ humor and kindness, and Steve Martin and George Carlin’s levels of preparedness; of course, seeing stars like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Lucille Ball in their unguarded moments, rehearing a scene or just chatting in the hallways, were lessons in professionalism you could never learn at a university.

KB: You worked with so many greats: are there still people you would love to work with and people you wished you had worked with?

I would love to work with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They are my female comedy inspiration. I went to elementary school with Bryan Cranston and have worked with him at the Television Academy, but I would love to act opposite him. And Jon Hamm would be a whole lotta fun.

KB: What are you currently up to?

I will work hard to make my next dream come true: to see My Peacock Tale: Secrets of an NBC Page become the next best thing on television! And how cool would it be if NBC bought my stories as a series?

Check out Shelley’s website: HERE

Find her on Instagram: HERE

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