frequently asked questions
How do you pronounce your last name?
It’s easier than it looks. Just say “duh-BROO-zoh.” You don’t pronounce the apostrophe or add any other extraneous vowels. If you feel strongly about the standard Italian pronunciation of the two “z”s (as in the word “pizza”), I don’t mind, but my grandparents anglicized the name when they came to America in the early 1960s with their family. Yes, this makes me a first-generation American. But sadly, I never learned Italian.
Hey - Alan Alda’s birth surname is “D’Abruzzo” too! Are you guys related?
As much as I would love even an iota of his talent in my DNA, the answer is no. Of course, my husband likes to refer to him as “cousin Alan.” That would be fun if it was true.
Are you married? If so, for how long?
I married my wonderful husband, writer and award-winning producer Craig Shemin, on September 17, 1995. You do the math.
Do you have any kids?
Craig is more kid than I can handle. He makes game show sets out of Lego and collects toys. I am not kidding. Here is one of his masterpieces:
...back when people used to ask…
When is your birthday?
December 7, 1971. I had to correct this on Wikipedia because someone made up some random birth date for me (that made me two years older, no less), and I actually got accused of vandalism. Blast that infernal Wikipedia.
Where were you born and raised?
Pittsburgh, PA. I grew up in McMurray, and went to Peters Township High School, class of ’89.
Where did you go to college? What was your major?
I went to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. I was a Radio/TV/Film major, not a theatre major as most people assume. My degree is a B.S. in Speech. Appropriate.
What are your favorite foods?
Ice cream. Guacamole and chips. Bread. Warm cinnamon rolls. Cheese. Caramel. Snacks in general. Now you know why I’m not a size zero.
What are your favorite movies?
In no particular order:
A Face in the Crowd
One Two Three
Defending Your Life
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Big Lebowski
Better off Dead
It’s a Wonderful Life
Back to the Future
Arthur (the real one)
The Princess Bride
Waiting For Guffman
The Great Muppet Caper
Yankee Doodle Dandy
The Big Chill
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Harold and Maude
...And God Spoke
The Producers (the real one)
Most everything else that Billy Wilder had anything to do with
Most of the John Hughes oeuvre
Anything Nick Park has ever directed
Most of the Pixar canon
This list does not include guilty pleasure films, nor is it remotely complete. It’s just all I can think of right now.
What are your favorite TV shows?
In no particular order (and not limited to):
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Simpsons (seasons 3-8, of course)
The Bob Newhart Show
The Larry Sanders Show
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show
The Odd Couple (the original series)
Mr. Show with Bob and David
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Phineas and Ferb
Freaks and Geeks
The Office (British and American)
CBS Sunday Morning
Flight of the Conchords
WKRP in Cincinnati
Modern Family (the first three seasons)
The Ricky Gervais Show
Parks and Recreation
Key & Peele
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Man Seeking Woman
The Nightly Show
We Bare Bears
Any show starring or produced by Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert
…and, my favorite radio show: The Jack Benny Program
One more thing: it’s not a TV show, per se, but I do highly enjoy Pat Keirnan doing “In the
Papers” on NY1.
What are your favorite Christmas specials?
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas
What or who makes you laugh?
Lookwell. Jon Lovitz. Bernie Mac. Paula Poundstone’s first HBO special. Christopher Titus’s first two specials. Rip Torn in The Larry Sanders Show and Defending Your Life. My sister. My husband. Krusty the Klown. Father Guido Sarducci. The opening and closing numbers of the ABC Silver Anniversary Special from 1978. The Onion. The 30-second version of Superman done by animated bunnies. “Oh Danny Boy” sung by Beaker, Animal and the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show. The “Male Synchronized Swimmers” film from Saturday Night Live. Phil Hartman. Joan Cusack in Sixteen Candles. Steve Martin. Steve Martin’s essays. Steve Martin’s old TV specials. Steve Martin’s “Flydini.” Steve Martin in any given Letterman appearance. Chris Rock’s voiceovers in Everybody Hates Chris. Garrett Dillahut in Raising Hope. Tony Randall as himself. Ralph Wiggum. Rhys Darby. Stephen Merchant (yes, and Ricky Gervais, but come on... Stephen Merchant can just stand there and say nothing and be hilarious.) Andre Braugher and Terry Crews in Brooklyn NIne-Nine. People in unwieldy mascot costumes or suits of armor falling down. Spit takes. Daffy Duck. Babies with obvious ennui. The poetry of Nipsey Russell. Delicious irony. Trading Places. Tom Hanks impersonating Dean Martin. Jack Soo. Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford. William Shatner singing “You’ll Have Time” (by the brilliant Ben Folds). Willie Dynamite. The fact that anyone would be remotely interested in my answers to these questions. Albert Brooks as Albert the Mime and Hank Scorpio. Stephen Root in any role. Charles Grodin in The Great Muppet Caper and The Lonely Guy. Garry Shandling’s 25th Anniversary Special. Ridiculous pre-Code animation (back when Mickey was more like Steamboat Itchy). People who clap on 1 and 3. Any video put to “Yakety Sax.” East-West Bowl. Also, things that are funny. Finally, Louis C.K., Louis C.K., and Louis C.K..
What brings you joy?
Mel Tormé singing “Red Rubber Ball.” You can’t possibly feel bad after you hear it. That and Flight of the Conchords singing “Mutha’uckas.”
What are your pet peeves?
Stupid people, and those who are utterly oblivious. The two are not always mutually exclusive.
What is your favorite city?
Although I haven’t exactly been everywhere, I still say that New York City is the best place I’ve ever lived. Though it would be even better if there was an In-N-Out.
Do you have any hidden talents?
My hidden talents are useless talents. I can recite the old Emergency Broadcast System spiel by heart. I can do a bad but committed imitation of Buddy Hackett telling a dentist joke. I can rattle off the first paragraph of a Spanish recitation that I used in a Foreign Language Day competition when I was 15, but that’s it. Oh, and I do a passable Charles Grodin, but I can only do him saying one word.
I can also time-step, play the violin badly, play handfuls of chords on the the guitar and ukulele and edit montages on both nonlinear and linear formats. Not that anyone will ever edit on a linear format ever again. And if you want to hear a song sung like Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs, just ask.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
I have many. To name a few: costume jewelry, Sees and Sarris candies, and Duran Duran.
Should these answers not satiate you, I think you need a hobby.
(Also, if I tell you any more, you could probably steal my identity.)