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Family Ties' Skippy brings stand-up act to town

Marc Price grew up in a comedy household, was part of one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time and still loves getting up on stage and making people laugh.
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Marc Price will be in Thunder Bay at Crickets Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday night.

THJUNDER BAY -- Marc Price has never really known anything but the comedic life.

His father, Al Bernie, was pioneer in the standup game, introducing him to the likes of Robert Klein and David Brenner, George Burns and the great Milton Berle, for whom he’d get tea for while hanging out back stage.

The now 48-year-old comic, producer and part-time water conservationist, turned those real-life lessons into a budding acting career in the 1980s, where as a teenager he played awkward Irwin (Skippy) Handelman, best friend to Michael J. Fox’s Reagan-loving, high school genius Alex P. Keaton, on the hit NBC show Family Ties.

It’s the role he’s best remembered for, although he’s done plenty of behind-the-scenes voice work over the years, and he definitely embraces it, recently touring as part of self-produced stars of television comedy show with Night Court’s Marsha Warfield and Good Times’ Jimmie Walker.

Family Ties was a comedy classroom, Price said.

“It was well written. It was well crafted. I was just a little part of it and got in on all of that greatness,” said Price, who brings his stand-up act to Thunder Bay’s Crickets Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday night.

“It helped me write my jokes. I learned from Family Ties writers, who really cared about something.”

But it was his home life that really taught Price what it meant to be a comic.

His father was always telling jokes at home and wouldn’t hesitate to share his love of the insanity that was Sam Kinneson or the antics of Joey Bishop, an original member of Hollywood’s Rat Pack.

“I had bad role models from the start and I never listened to my mother, who desperately wanted me to go to Cornell and be a normal person, which didn’t happen,” Price said. “I’m sorry mom. What can I say? I just followed in the footsteps of my dad. My dad was a great comedian.”

As a result, his comedy influences are far and wide, which is reflected in his act today.

“He taught me to respect that wide range of comedy styles. As a result my inspirations are varied. On stage I kind of jump around a little bit. In fact the Toronto Star accused me of being 300 comedians in one. And I don’t know if they meant it as a compliment,” Price said.

His routine touches on growing up in Hollywood, joking given the political climate south of the border he’s taken to telling people who ask that he’s from New Jersey, where he was born. And yes, he does touch on his time in the television spotlight.

“But I don’t dwell on it,” he said.

There might even be a mention or two of embattled U.S. president Donald Trump, though he’s learned not everyone in his home country finds the material funny, saying there was a noticeable change after Trump was elected.

“But in Canada, I’m allowed to let loose a little,” Price said.

Show times are 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night. Crickets Comedy Club is located in the basement of the Royalton Hotel.