Mark Feuerstein’s new sitcom sure hits close to home.
The native New Yorker, 46, created and stars in CBS’ latest comedy series “9JKL,” about a recently divorced actor who moves into a Manhattan apartment sandwiched between his lovingly intrusive parents’ home and the home of his older brother’s family.
It may sound like a wacky scenario even for a sitcom, but it’s actually rooted in reality. The series is loosely based on Feuerstein’s real-life experience living next-door to his parents and brother in an Upper East Side complex for several years while he filmed his hit show “Royal Pains” in New York.
“There was this period of time when I was shooting ‘Royal Pains’ where you’d think I was leading a TV star existence in some fancy hotel, getting waited on hand and foot,” Feuerstein, who plays Josh Roberts on the new show, told the Daily News. “But no — I was crashing in the apartment next door to my parents, still getting waited on hand and foot by my mother, who would come out with a nice salad and a seltzer so I could have something to eat at the end of a long day.”
Mark Feuerstein (center) lived next door to his real-life parents Harvey (left) and Audrey (right) while he filmed his long-running series “Royal Pains.”
(Michele Crowe/Michele Crowe/CBS)
Feuerstein’s actual parents, Harvey and Audrey, still live in the same apartment where they raised their actor son. They purchased the next-door apartment years earlier in hopes of either expanding their own residence or giving their relatives a place to stay.
It worked out perfectly when Feuerstein — who lives permanently in Los Angeles with his wife, Dana Klein, and their three kids — needed somewhere to live while filming in the Big Apple. His older brother, Eric, lived in an adjacent apartment with his wife and baby for a portion of that time as well.
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The unusual living situation lent itself perfectly to a sitcom, and Feuerstein brought his wife — a former writer for “Friends” — on board to help him create and pen the scripts for “9JKL.”
Naturally, Feuerstein’s parents were surprised at first to learn about the show.
“First I was shocked and then I was a little scared and then I thought it’s great,” Audrey told the Daily News. “If it works, it’s great. My attitude is that it’s all fiction. Only the concept is real. Anything else is made up. So whatever they want to do, they can do. I’m cool with it.”
Feuerstein’s on-screen mom — who is named Judy on the show and played by Linda Lavin — is domineering and controlling — the opposite of his sweet and demure real mother.
Feuerstein plays a recently divorced actor named Josh Roberts in “9JKL.”
But the series is filled with little moments inspired by true events. Lavin’s character waits up for his son to come home just like Audrey always did.
There’s a funny moment where Feuerstein’s “9JKL” father, Harry — played by Elliott Gould — asks him to appear in a “viral video” for his law firm. Harvey asked his son to be in a video for his firm in real life.
“If you have spent a full minute with my parents, you can see they are larger-than-life figures,” Feuerstein said. “I’ve grown up with that and I’ve been so proud to tell funny stories on talk shows about them and our enmeshment as a family.”
Harvey has no doubt his son will make them proud with his latest show.
The new show is loosely based off of Feuerstein’s experiences.
(Michele Crowe/Michele Crowe/CBS)
“I trust Mark 110%. He’s a great son, he’s a very responsible boy,” Harvey said. “He always has been. I didn’t have to worry. Audrey and I think we’ve been good parents and loved our children and did the best we can, so I don’t have any fear.”
Even though the show is extremely personal for Feuerstein, the actor feels at ease heading into its premiere. He’s confident that the cast, the crew and the writers that all came together to create the series are some of the best in the business.
“The truth is, I don’t feel as much pressure, because I know in my heart it’s the best iteration it could possibly be of this idea,” he said. “It couldn’t have been done better. Everyone is at the top of their game.”
The first episode of “9JKL” premieres on CBS Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET after “The Big Bang Theory.”
Source: Ny Daily News