‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Star Ray Romano Reveals the ‘Only Thing’ He Misses About Being on a Sitcom

Ray Romano starred on the CBS hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond for nine seasons. Though he began his career in standup comedy, Romano made a smooth transition to acting and soon became television gold.

Since Everybody Loves Raymond aired its series finale in 2005, Romano has played dramatic roles on shows including Men of a Certain Age and Parenthood. While he’s enjoying the creative stretch, Romano admits there’s still something that left a void when his legendary sitcom ended.

Cast of 'Everybody Loves Raymond': (l-r) Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, and Peter Boyle
Cast of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: (l-r) Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, Ray Romano, and Peter Boyle | Robert Voets/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Ray Romano almost became a numbers cruncher

Before fame and fortune came Romano’s way, he considered becoming an accountant. Despite his affinity for numbers, Romano soon realized the occupation wasn’t a good fit.

“I was always good in math, so when I was flailing around and not knowing what to do, I figured, well, I guess accounting is math,” the Emmy Award-winner told Fresh Air‘s TV critic David Bianculli, according to WBUR. “And I took maybe two semesters of accounting … I mean I practically dropped out of school, really. … When my accountant tells me all the things he does, it’s a foreign language to me.

Once the sitcom star began gravitating toward performing comedy routines, Romano’s mother attempted to keep him on track with his accounting studies.

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“She kept pushing that to try to keep me going,” Romano recalled of his mom. “In my early days of standup … she would make sure she brought up that I was studying accounting instead of standup.”

‘Saturday Night Live’ makes a life-changing impression on Ray Romano

When Saturday Night Live premiered in 1975, the live comedy sketch show made quite an impact on Romano at just 18 years old. The actor became inspired to create his own cast of Not Ready For Prime Time players.

“It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Romano recalled of the iconic NBC series. “We’d stay in to watch it, and a group of us started our own little sketch troupe. These are like five 17-year-olds and we just joined together … the kids all came in.”

The experience was enough to propel Romano toward pursuing comedy as a career.

“It was kind of my first taste of what standup was like,” he said. “So that was kind of where maybe the bug of performing standup came.”

Getting the live laughs on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

In addition to his dramatic work on television, Romano has appeared in several films since Everybody Loves Raymond ended including Paddleton, The Big Sick, and The Irishman. Despite his recent leaning toward drama, the actor gets something special from a sitcom that’s missing with his more serious roles.

“The only thing I miss from the sitcom format is that immediate gratification … [of] the live audience,” Romano revealed. “As a standup, I live off of that. It’s my energy source.”

Though Romano has achieved notable Hollywood status from both his comedic and dramatic roles, he admits he hasn’t changed much by becoming a celebrity.

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“I’m just as neurotic if I had never gotten famous or rich,” he told NPR in 2019. “I think I would be equally neurotic because I was neurotic before, and I’m neurotic now. … I think I’m just as happy as I was then.”