Many dreams can come true.
You can go to college, get a great job and marry your true love.
But then there are dreams that pop up every once in a while, and you just have to share them with the world.
In the case of R.J. Shapiro, who has been a comedian for four decades, one such dream came true the day he was introduced to a man who had worked with him years earlier at a sketch comedy comedy troupe in New York.
Fred Armisen, back then a member of A Mighty Wind, and now the star of “Portlandia,” suggested to R.J. that the two of them should join forces for a sketch comedy show.
Two years later, that show became “No Time to Be a Child.” Set to premiere in April, the show follows the lives of adults who are engaged, ready to start a family and, just as importantly, have no plans to marry.
The show was co-created by Fred Armisen and R.J. Shapiro and will launch at the Lincoln Center Festival. There, the film will also have its premiere on the first day of the festival.
The idea has been six years in the making, and while Fred Armisen has been a part of R.J.’s life since they were children, we spoke to R.J. a few weeks ago in a West Village restaurant to find out what his life is like these days.
He has seen his father die and has had his second heart transplant. He is doing fine, he says, but it was still hard to see a man go through something so painful.
So far, his second heart transplant has worked flawlessly, and it seems no one has had a problem with his new heart, R.J.
“If they did, we wouldn’t have to do it again,” he joked.
R.J. loves to cook and eat in restaurants. But he may have to learn to cook in a restaurant to get to keep food stamps for his second heart transplant, since he won’t be eligible for them after this heart surgery. He jokes that his doctors are “not very pleased” about having to deliver this news to him so soon after the last one, but he’s trying to take the good with the bad.
When he does get home from his hospital room, he doesn’t want to watch anything depressing on television.
“So if anybody is willing to do a show called ‘No Time to Be a Child,’ with dancing and starring my parents, I would love to have it,” he said.
R.J. has made a name for himself, as a performance artist, actor and stand-up comedian. He has written, directed and edited many of his own documentaries and has even written a play, along with his wife, that the two stars are filming. He has also been a producer on the movie “Inside Amy Schumer,” about Amy Schumer, as well as “For the Love of Money,” about Warren Buffett and his life in finance.
When he comes home from the hospital, he only wants to watch ESPN.
His favorite movie is David Mamet’s “Edmond,” which portrays an unemployed former boxer who sells drugs.
The film is a commentary on the American economy, about how actors, dancers and other entertainers have to constantly fight for a small part in a commercially successful movie because they don’t have their own money.
“They don’t have money to burn,” R.J. said. “They have two weeks pay for a movie that costs $100 million.”
His favorite actor is Robert De Niro, but he has another name in mind. He actually has an email address where De Niro can answer his questions about what it’s like being a professional actor, and the answer he gets each time, he says, is never too specific and always very generic.
Just tell him what you want to do when you grow up and, if you are lucky, he said, “he’ll do it for you.”