'Everybody Loves Raymond' Creator Phil Rosenthal Shares Why Life Should Revolve Around Laughter and Food

In the latest episode of We Are Family, Everybody Loves Raymond creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal describes his hilarious household growing up and how food is his love language.

You may know Phil Rosenthal as the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond. He's also the award-winning creator, executive producer, writer, and host of the Netflix culinary documentary series, Somebody Feed Phil, where he takes viewers all over the world spotlighting amazing eats and the equally amazing people who make them. And Rosenthal's love of laughter—and food—has spanned many decades.

"My father was very, very funny," says Rosenthal. "In fact, I think the first time my mother saw him, he was telling jokes, in a kind of amateur stage thing. He wasn't a professional comedian, but I think he was so funny that he could've [been]."

Rosenthal was quick to imitate his dad. "And I imitated the way my mother spoke," he notes. "And I imitated the people I saw on TV, which is the way most people get started. You imitate."

But while laughter was common in his household, flavorful food was in short supply when Rosenthal was growing up. "I used to joke that in our house meat was a punishment," he says. "Because it was usually just the toughest, cheapest piece of meat and it was cooked beyond recognition... I didn't know what medium rare was. I didn't have delicious food or food with any flavor until I went to college."

His experience with lackluster food contributed to wonderful meals being even more of a must-have once he started his own family with actress Monica Horan. "Food was very, very important," he says. "We were gonna eat everything. And we were gonna try everything. I don't care if they liked it, they just had to try it. To me that's what life is—the tasting of everything in life is its own reward."

In fact, one of Rosenthal's proudest moments as a dad was seeing his son Ben dive into tasting at the family's favorite Chinese restaurant. "We'd get all the things for the table," recalls the proud dad of two. "I look over and little 3-year-old Ben has his hands in the clams and black bean sauce. We weren't watching him, and he's putting it in his mouth. And I look and I see him, I said, 'Ben, you like it?' He goes, 'I do.' I said, 'That's my boy.'"

That's just one of the many illustrated examples of Rosenthal's philosophy: "Food is the great connector, and then, for me, laughs are the cement."

It's a way of seeing the world that was only emphasized by the pandemic as far as the writer and producer is concerned. "We have to treasure these moments that we have where we travel, where we eat with our friends, where we eat with our family, where we hug our family and our friends," he notes. "Go out, explore, make friends. That's the key to life."

Check out We Are Family Season 3, Episode 3 now for more with Phil Rosenthal on his Netflix docu-series Somebody Feed Phil, Somebody Feed Phil the Book, and a new podcast titled Naked Lunch.

Listen to We Are Family on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google, and everywhere podcasts are available.

Listen to Season 3, Episode 3 right now:

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