Funny Guy

Advice from Andy Ackerman ’78, one of comedy television’s greats.

TV director Andy Ackerman ’78 garnered his first Emmy at 24 as an editor on Welcome Back, Kotter. He’s best known for directing Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He was on campus Feb. 9 as part of the President’s Speaker Series. We put him in front of the camera in SCU’s television studio and asked a few things, including: What would you advise a young Andy? “I would have gotten more involved with acting classes—learning how an actor thinks and their process. That was the biggest challenge for me coming out of editing. Editing is solitary—you’re in a room by yourself and you’re doing all the work, making all the decisions on your own until the director steps in and does his cut with you. As a director with Cheers, I knew how I wanted things to look and what I wanted in the editing room, but I’d never said a word to an actor ever in my life. So, you know, how do I give Ted Danson a note without him looking at me like I’ve got six eyes in my head? Fortunately I had a great relationship with the actors from my editing days and they cut me a lot of slack.”

post-image Welcome back, Andy: In conversation with Michael Whalen ’89, filmmaker and associate professor of communication. View full image. Photo by Charles Barry
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