Rita Rudner is the only child of witty parents. Much to their dismay, Rita displayed a complete lack of wit until the age of twenty-five, whereupon she refused to say anything unless it was laced with wit.
Up until twenty-five Rita preferred to talk with her feet, and danced in six Broadway shows that she no longer likes to name because readers will be compelled to go back and try to figure out how old she is.
Rita decided to be a comic by standing in front of inebriated strangers late at night, talking into a microphone and leaving in the bits where people laughed. She has no idea why she leaped from chorus lines to punch lines……when she was in therapy she forgot to ask.
David Letterman, Johnny Carson, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, Bob Hope, George Burns, Conan O’Brien, Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin have all found Rita amusing, and she has appeared on all of their respective shows respectively.
Her first solo HBO special, Rita Rudner’s One Night Stand, was nominated for several awards, as was her English BBC television show which later appeared on A&E. Rita’s two one-hour specials for HBO, Born to Be Mild and Married Without Children, were ratings standouts and she performed all over the country, filling Carnegie Hall in New York three times and the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles twice. She also performed sell-out tours of Australia and England and many viewers liked her dresses.
Rita has written four books, including two novels (Tickled Pink and Turning the Tables). Her non-fiction books are the best-selling Naked Beneath My Clothes and Rita Rudner’s Guide to Men. Her latest book of essays – I Still Have It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It – was published by Harmony Books in the summer of 2008.
A frequent collaborator with her writer/producer husband of twenty years, Martin Bergman, the movie Peter’s Friends was the couple’s first produced film script. Starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton and Kenneth Branagh, the film won the Peter Seller’s award for best comedy film of the year. Peter’s Friends was released in the USA on DVD in February 2008. Additional projects include TV movies “A Weekend In The Country” starring Jack Lemmon and “Unfunny Girl” for E! In 2008, the duo debuted another collaboration, the play Room #776, about two strangers forced to share a hotel room in Las Vegas.
In 2003, Rita launched from Las Vegas her first syndicated daily TV show Ask Rita, in key markets across the country. The show featured a panel of celebrities lightheartedly attempting to solve personal problems submitted by members of the public and ran for two years. For this show, Women In Television and Radio awarded Rita their Top Program Host award. Rita also found time to help write the 2001 & 2003 Oscar’s with Steve Martin and the 2002 Oscar’s with Whoopi Goldberg, and appeared on Comic Relief on HBO in 2006.
In 2008 Rita began a relationship with PBS. Her one hour special Rita Rudner: Live From Las Vegas was a ratings standout for PBS stations across the USA and the extended version is now available on DVD.
Voted “Best Comedian in Las Vegas” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal for the last eight years, Rita Rudner has become one of Las Vegas’ most beloved performers. In a city of cabarets and production shows, Rudner is one of the few female headliners who has achieved success by keeping her clothes on. After ending a six-year run at New York-New York in August of 2006, during which she sold nearly a million tickets, Rudner began performing nightly in a larger theatre at Harrah’s Las Vegas in October of 2006. Now celebrating more than 2,000 witty performances in Las Vegas, Rita’s ticket sales have grossed over $50 million and her contract was recently extended to January 2012.
In between live appearances, Martin and Rita continue to write and sell movie and television scripts in Hollywood.