I understand Gary Coleman has a wife. I assume he has one because he’s a married man. I have a secret about Gary Coleman. I met Gary Coleman and I have done something with Gary Coleman that I am pretty sure his wife has never done. I gave Gary Coleman a piggyback ride. Now before you think I am something weird, I assure you this is absolutely true. Years ago, when I was a comedy writer for network TV (look me up in the TV database) Gary Coleman was a guest on one of the variety shows I wrote on. (What’s a variety show? Well look up “Pink Lady and Jeff”.) Gary was still starring in “Different Stokes” and was a big star – but because of a kidney condition was on some kind of hormone that kept him small. He played a little kid about 10-12 years old, but he was probably 16-17 years old even though he was about 4 feet tall. I was one of the writers assigned to Gary, and I got to know him during the week of rehearsals. I even visited him at the apartment he was living in Hollywoodland with his parents (who he later sued for misusing the millions he earned as a child star).
While writing the sketch Gary was going to be in, I thought one scene might include Gary getting a piggyback ride. I ran it by Gary and he thought it might be fun. In order to sell the sketch to the Producer s and ABC, Gary and I decided to surprise everyone at the script meeting. So I picked up Gary and got him up there piggy-back style and entered the meeting. Needless to say we got a big laugh. Everyone thought adding that to the sketch would be a great idea — and that I be in the sketch too – giving Gary a piggyback ride. We got the sketch into rehearsals and all looked great. But then Gary had to cancel the taping because of a schedule conflict. At the last minute Gary was replaced by Eric Estrada. And there was no way I would give Eric Estrada a piggyback ride.
A couple years ago I ran into Gary at a costume place on La Cienega, and reminded him of that story. He remembered it well. I offered to give him another piggyback ride. Gary said thanks but declined his offer. Come to think of it maybe Gary Coleman’s wife does give him piggyback rides now and then. …Rowby Goren