‘Frasier’ Writers Used To Share Embarrassing Stories to Come Up with Ideas for the Show

by John Jamison

Write what you know. It just might turn into an award-winning show like “Frasier” with an 11 year run on network television. Now, it may be more of a challenge considering your characters probably aren’t spun-off from another classic show like “Cheers.” But still, it’s a good piece of advice and the “Frasier” writers took it to heart.

People love to watch funny characters in ridiculous situations. A show can easily go from hilarious to cringeworthy, however, if it loses touch with reality. The creators of “Frasier” knew this. As a result, many details in our favorite episodes came directly from their real-life experiences.

In a 2018 Vanity Fair profile celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Frasier,” the writers of the show talk about their process for coming up with ideas for episodes. Apparently, they would go around the table sharing embarrassing stories to get their juices flowing.

What Kinds of Stories Made The Cut for ‘Frasier’?

“Pulling your pants down,” as Vanity Fair puts it, was an exercise to help inspire the writers. But some of the stories actually ended up in episodes. The writers took turns sharing some of their favorites.

Bob Daily, a writer-producer on the show, had a fun one involving his daughter.

“I used to take my daughter to art class at LACMA. She was pointing out something to me in a painting with her pencil. I had to do a slow-motion dive before she could write on this multi-million-dollar painting. That inspired an episode where Roz’s daughter doctored up a painting that Niles was about to donate to an art museum,” he told Vanity Fair.

Christopher Lloyd, also a writer-producer, shared a slightly less innocent story, but funny nonetheless.

“I was renting a beach house, and this half-rotting seal washes up on the shore. A friend and I, with a wine-fortified lunch, got a kayak and paddled out to sea with a 200-pound seal. When I get back to the shore, I see the seal had been brought back by the tide. It became the launching point for Frasier and Niles hosting important people for a dinner party at Maris’s beach house when a dead seal washes up,” he said.

So there you have it. Simple real-life stories found their way into the classic sitcom. We all have tons of embarrassing memories like these that we’ve collected throughout our lives. The relatable aspect of them is what makes a show like “Frasier” so effective.