Hi! My name is Phil Rosenthal and I’m the host of the new food/travel show “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” on PBS. I’ve been to Tokyo, Italy, France, Hong Kong and Barcelona so far and will introduce you to the best Los Angeles has to offer on Monday.

Proof: https://twitter.com/PhilRosenthal/status/659093593018101760

PS. My parents started a Reddit account today, and they should be here to answer your questions. Ask them anything too. (I'm stating for the record I am not responsible for their answers.)

EDIT: I'm off to eat a sandwich. Thanks for everyone’s questions!

Comments: 192 • Responses: 77  • Date: 


Do you actually love Raymond? I mean, I like Raymond, but I'm not sure I love Raymond.

philrosenthal13 karma


tehpurplewagon12 karma

How much of Everybody Loves Raymond was based on real life experiences of writers and cast members?

What were your favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond to write and film?

Still probably my favorite show of all time, I can't count how many times I've rewatched it.

philrosenthal15 karma

90% of what you saw happened to me or Ray or one of the other writers. Some of my favorites were: how they met, baggage, bad moon rising, the canister and Italy, which actually inspired IHWPH - 15 yrs ago

irregularcog8 karma

Phil's mom who's cuter, Phil or Ray Romano?

MaxAndHelen21 karma

that's not a question i want to answer


philrosenthal21 karma

You can't answer that question? Mom?

MikeT758 karma

Hey Phil! Thanks for doing this AMA. Do you have a particular fond and personal memory of the late, great Peter Boyle that you’d be kind enough to share with us? Thanks for all your work making us laugh through the years!

philrosenthal17 karma

Two great facts about Peter: 1, he studied to be a monk. 2, John Lennon was best man at his wedding.

Beth-Casey5 karma

Hey Phil, Can you come to Marin County? We love you on KQED and you are the best culinary show because you add comedy, passion, and interest to the culinary world. We love you Phil. Come to Insalata's Restaurant for our 20th anniversary.

philrosenthal7 karma

I would love that.

Slow-moving-sloth8 karma

Why did Everybody Loves Raymond end? Did you feel that it had run its course?

philrosenthal11 karma

Exactly. You have to get off the stage before someone says "hey you should get off the stage".

physicsyakuza7 karma

How great was it being on the world famous Never Not Funny podcast with national treasure Jimmy Pardo?

philrosenthal4 karma

Loved it. Loved Jimmy.

Frank_Lloyd_Wrong7 karma

Any truth to the rumor that King of Queens had a better craft services table than Raymond?

philrosenthal8 karma

Them's fight in' words. You trying to start trouble?

dancepartyofjustice6 karma

Phil, thanks for doing this AMA. I really enjoyed your insights into comedy & television as a whole on "America in Primetime." I also really enjoy you as on on-camera personality on "I'll Have What Phil's Having." I have a couple of questions.

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring TV writer?
  2. Do you find yourself enjoying being a host more than a behind - the- scenes writer/creator?

Thanks again!

philrosenthal10 karma

  1. Keep writing- and take a class- they make you write!
  2. I love every aspect of the business, except the business.

sparklypuppies5 karma

How did you meet your wife? And what's your favorite thing about her? My favorite episode was your Italy episode. You two seem so cute together. :-)

philrosenthal17 karma

I saw her in a play and thought she was really funny. Then, ran into her by chance a week or two later at the 9th Ave Food Fair in NY. Then we did a play together, and then, she took advantage of me.

big-karim4 karma

Phil, thanks for coming. I love the show. You've brought a very funny voice to the world of travel/food, and because of your humor, it actually feels more genuine somehow. A few questions for you:

  1. You've claimed that you never ate anything great during childhood. Does anything stand out as best/worst?

  2. Do you like to cook? And if so, what?

  3. It's really nice that you video chat with your parents every episode. Was that a conscious decision for the show? Do you call them every day?

philrosenthal4 karma

  1. Best: chicken soup. Worst: Matzoh Lasagna (that's right).
  2. I'm a lousy cook. (Hereditary?)
  3. They were in my movie "Exporting Raymond" and stole the movie. So, strictly for commercial reasons, I put them in every episode of the show. They also happen to be fantastic, and yes, we talk all the time anyway.

big-karim1 karma

I love chicken soup. What was great about your parents' chicken soup?

And can you describe the Matzoh Lasagna?

philrosenthal2 karma

Mom's chicken soup is terrific as are her world famous matzoh balls. Very tasty. Matzoh lasagna is not as tasty. Instead of sheets of pasta, sheets of matzoh. It's like a cardboard Napolean.

inferno2303 karma

Hi Phil,

I I just saw the Tokyo episode . Because of that I'm really glad that you're now covering the high end and gastronomic restaurants now which is a great idea for a food travel show. This definitely needs more airtime for more people to be exposed to as most are missing out on fine dining.

From your experiences, do you think we as Americans should be open minded about trying new and high end cuisines? It seems that we get easily turned off by things that don't seem familiar with us, even if it's fancy. I feel that with you being a part of the media that can influence every one's mind, that you can definitely change that.

Do you also feel there should be more authentic restaurants in the US that we can only pretty much get elsewhere, such as the real edomae style sushi at Kyubei?

philrosenthal4 karma

The simple answers are: Yes and Yes

MoonWTrash3 karma

Hi, Phil! I hear from Adam Carolla's podcast that you throw some interesting movie parties with someone who was in the movie. Out of all of those parties, what movie/movie actor match-up did you think was the most unique?

philrosenthal3 karma

Peter O'Toole actually came once. He wanted to see a Cary Grant movie.

philrosenthal3 karma

"Talk of the Town".

PermTrouble3 karma

You hyped for Fallout 4?

philrosenthal17 karma

That's a video game right? See, I'm not old!

redditguy0013 karma

What's the worst advice you received?

philrosenthal5 karma

Take every note.

raindog3 karma

Phil, you're such a mensch! I'm digging the PBS show tons.

When you visit Chicago, want to have lunch?

philrosenthal3 karma

That sounds wonderful! But- What if I said yes to everyone on reddit who wants to have lunch?

fakename3113 karma

I love "Exporting Raymond" and the new series. I think this style of documentary with you at the center is wildly entertaining and funny. Are there other ideas you are working on beyond this series (which I hope gets a 2nd season.) I assume you don't have to work on anything you don't love at this point.

For Phil's parents: How long were the Skype conversations? When you did things like ask to see your other son did you sort of forget it was all for a TV show?

philrosenthal2 karma

I have ideas but have been concentrating on this


Why did you name the show Everybody Loves Raymond when we have proof demonstrating otherwise?


MaxAndHelen9 karma

that's not nice - max and helen

philrosenthal7 karma

What's not nice?

philrosenthal7 karma

Oh I see. That's not nice. But a little funny.

philrosenthal6 karma

It was an actual line Ray's real brother said. It came from a jealous place and also was Ray's dilemma- caught in the middle of everybody in his family.

baens6042 karma

Hi Phil, sending you love from Vancouver, Canada! We look forward to watching the show every Monday night. Do you have plans for a second season? Where would you like to travel to that you haven't been?

To Mr & Mrs Rosenthal, we so enjoy your Skype pop-ins with Phil on the show! Would you consider joining him on his travels on the show?

philrosenthal4 karma

What my dad isn't telling you is that he travels in Monday's episode...

Mr_1990s2 karma

I watched the first episode of 'I'll Have What Phil's Having' last night via the PBS app on Roku.

It was great.

I have no idea when your show actually airs. Do you like this world of Netflix and other apps?

Or do you prefer the traditional network?

philrosenthal3 karma

It's been on Mondays at 10/9c (8pm NY) but the 5 eps that have aired already can be seen on demand, iTunes and at PBS.org. One more left this season!

Ytzombe1232 karma

How scared shitless were you when you landed in Russia? Did you honestly think you were being kidnapped?

philrosenthal6 karma

I wouldn't say shitless but I had concerns.

Sirnando1382 karma


I loved the doc about trying to mke the Russian version of Raymond. As someone who loves and studies comedy, i was blown away by how much of a struggle it was to get a crack out of the people in the film. was a lot of that editing for comedic value or were they really that hardened? if they don't find it funny to get hit in the crotch or to make bubbles in the tub, then what DO they find funny?

philrosenthal4 karma

They have actually started to embrace the style of the show- it's their top comedy and still running.

PancakeSmarts2 karma

I saw on Twitter that two of my favorite writers (Phil Rosenthal & Lin-Manuel Miranda) met in person. What did you talk about? And what were your favorite parts of Hamilton?

philrosenthal3 karma

He's a genius. I was thrilled to meet him and I told him that I thought the show got even better on the move to Broadway- more intimate. He said he hardly changed anything but that the theater itself brought you closer. Love that show. Get the album!

marilou872 karma

I recently discovered your show on PBS. It's such a joy to watch! Besides the U.S., if you could only travel to/around one other country for the rest of your life, which country would that be and why?

philrosenthal3 karma

Italy wins. So far.

wellvis2 karma

Phil, your Hong Kong episode was the first one that made my wife want to go there, just based on the food you were eating (except for the 100-year old egg).

What city would you like to visit that you haven't been to yet?

philrosenthal3 karma

I want to see it all. Shanghai? Copenhagen? Mexico City?

big-karim2 karma

What was your experience like working on "Everybody Loves Raymond"? How much writing did you do for the show? What does a producer do anyway?

philrosenthal5 karma

It was the time of my life. (Until this series) But that's a pretty big question. Could I refer you to my book? "You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom"

danmalo822 karma

My wife and I love your show! We first heard about it through your appearance on Never Not Funny with Jimmy Pardo. You were great on there, so we decided to watch your documentary on Netflix. We loved that too! Now, we've been watching your show on PBS.com and can't wait for more! Will there be a second season? South America, Germany/Austria, Canada, Africa await you!

philrosenthal3 karma

Can't wait to do more and visit all those places. It's a big world, somebody's got to eat it.

danmalo822 karma

You are getting shirts with that printed on it, aren't you?

philrosenthal2 karma

Hadn't thought of it. Want to start that business?

sparklypuppies2 karma

During the intro to "I'll Have What Phil's Having," you reference that your parents' cooking was...bland. What was the most disastrous dish they have ever made? Phil's parents -- feel free to answer as well!

philrosenthal4 karma

See above

notamustache2 karma

Do you think Twitter would've affected your writing process or writer hiring process at all had it been around when you were working on Everybody Loves Raymond?

philrosenthal5 karma

I doubt it. Gotta write scripts, not tweets.

suzinrva2 karma

Mr. Rosenthal, you are a delight! My question is this: There are a lot of food / travel shows out there. How is your approach different?

philrosenthal7 karma

I guess it's different because it's me and my take on the world. Like I've been saying, "I'm exactly like Anthony Bourdain, if he was afraid of everything".

suaveitguy2 karma

Did you do any work inside Worldwide Pants? What was that relationship like? I got the feeling Letterman was a huge supporter of Amy Sedaris and Norm Macdonald. Any sense why there was no equivalent for them?

philrosenthal2 karma

Didn't work at WWP at all. We did the show in LA, they were in NY.

natty41582 karma

Phil- I love love the show and so do my 8 yr old daughter and 4 yr old son. What do you think is the most important take away from your show for my kids? Do you have any great places you have been that are an absolutely "must go" for a family?

philrosenthal3 karma

I'm so happy kids like the show. Would love to inspire everyone, including kids, to travel, to experience a little bit of someone else's experience.

Professor_pranks1 karma

I absolutely love Everybody Loves Raymond! It reminds me of my relationship with my wife. Is Ray as funny off camera as he is in the show? Thanks!

philrosenthal1 karma


nlightened11 karma

Phil, are you worried your brother's appetite will put the show's production budget in the red?

philrosenthal1 karma


irregularcog1 karma

Why is the Neilson rating system so outdated and archaic if it's what determines the fate of shows , production teams and investment? Any insight?

philrosenthal1 karma

It must be serving someone's purpose or it would be gone.

philckd1 karma

What has been your favorite Japanese food from the show? Which character is like you from Raymond? (Parents can answer that question too!)

philrosenthal1 karma

That ramen at Kikanbo is calling me back.

nlightened11 karma

In your new show, was there anything you ate that was just god awful?

philrosenthal1 karma

May I introduce you to a 100 yr old egg?

peebo_sanchez1 karma

I liked Raymond but I didn't love him. Can you explain why everyone loves him? It in all actuality he's a great comedian.

philrosenthal5 karma

You're asking the wrong guy. I happened to love him. Still do. One of the funniest people in the world.

lvoutour1 karma

Have you tried Ethiopian food? Would you consider going to Ethiopia? They have a beautiful coffee ceremony, an the presentation of the meal is quite lovely.

philrosenthal1 karma

Yes. I like it and would love to go. Ethiopia coffee is my favorite.

100cupsocoffee1 karma

Hi Phil! Do you choose where to travel for each episode or are your destinations chosen and you go along for the ride (and food)?

P.S. My family and I love your show and make time to watch it together each week; we love your sense of humor and genuine excitement for food!

philrosenthal2 karma

I get to pick where we go but I'm very open to suggestions. Thanks.

suaveitguy1 karma

How much work were you putting in on ELR during the first season vs the final season?

philrosenthal1 karma

Worked full time there all 9 seasons. Loved it.

suaveitguy1 karma

What residuals does someone like you receive on an ELR? Is it negotiated by the individuals, or is there a standard rate?

philrosenthal1 karma

It varies from deal to deal.

FadingShadowz1 karma

Hi Phil!

I enjoyed your book, "You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom" and wanted to know if you had any plans to write another novel?

Thanks! My wife and I will be certain to tune in for your new show.

philrosenthal1 karma

That wasn't a novel, but kind of a how-to book/memoir.

Daktariian1 karma

Hi Phil. I just discovered IHWPH. The Barcelona episode aired here last night. I'm now recommending the show to everyone! I love the way you explore cities and find I tend to let my nose lead me from one place to the next. Do you intend to explore any major American cities? What other international locations are in the pipeline? Also, you should let your brother try ALL the stuff!

philrosenthal1 karma

The whole world. (Should keep us on for awhile.)

philrosenthal1 karma

And I do let Richard try almost everything. We just don't show everything. Gotta keep your producer happy.

suaveitguy1 karma

Would creating a show for the web be fundamentally different than for TV? How?

philrosenthal2 karma

It wouldn't be different for us making it- just the way we watch it. But the phone, computer and TV are all becoming one thing- may not matter very soon...

JayBeeHanna1 karma

Hi Phil! I saw your appearance on Never Not Funny and was so delighted I immediately sought out Exporting Raymond and I'll Have What Phil's Having. My girlfriend and I are now big fans. Forgive me for not remembering the name of the restaurant, but the meal in Tokyo with the live-mic of the forest, the bread that cooked at the table...watching that meal completely blew my mind and indeed brought a tear to my eye. Is there anything about that meal you didn't get to say on the show, or any comments you wouldn't mind expanding on?

Another question: where would you like to go for season two?

Thank you for your time and for the show(s)!

philrosenthal2 karma

Narisawa! Awesome. I think I said everything. Thanks for being nice. I do want to go everywhere.

heavyraines171 karma

My wife and I love your PBS show! How did you go about picking which cities you'd visit in the first season and how likely are we to get a second season?

Huge fan, loved 'Exporting Raymond' and your appearance on Never Not Funny.

philrosenthal2 karma

My goal is to get you to travel, so I wanted to start with Earth's Greatest Hits.

kristabelle7771 karma

Hi Phil! Love you and all you do. When will you come to Seattle to do your show? I'd love to hear what you think of our City! EDIT: Can I come to one of your movie parties? Pleassseeee?

philrosenthal2 karma

Been to Seattle once and love it and would love to do an episode. Do I have to catch a fish in my arms?

_korbendallas_1 karma

Which Pixar character are you?

philrosenthal3 karma


daintyflower1 karma

Hi Phil. My fiancé and I caught your new PBS show by chance in the wee hours of the morning and we instantly loved it. The Tokyo episode was fantastic, but the Italy episode and your reactions alone to their food sold us for our honeymoon. It's really wonderful to be able to relate to somebody who feels so compassionate about food. Do you ever try to find any food that's comparable to what you've had on your travels, or do you not bother because of the high expectations?

philrosenthal2 karma

I love to try to find authentic versions of food I've enjoyed elsewhere. A lot of stuff comes close because we have such wonderful diversity here and the people come with their recipes.

DowagerCountess1 karma

The documentary about bringing ELR to Russia was fascinating, and a bit disturbing. Can you share anything interesting about that experience that didn't make it into the film?

philrosenthal3 karma

I said to my driver/ bodyguard Eldar- "I feel safe with you Eldar. Thank you". And he said, "Mr. Rosenthal, I must tell you, Sony do not go for the gun package".

RamsesThePigeon1 karma

Hey there, Phil! I'd love the chance to pick your brain!

I'm an accomplished writer, but that I'm currently employed in an industry with little call for my talents. I'd like to make a transition to writing for television, which means - unless I'm mistaken - that I need to make the right connections to help me in that endeavor.

Other writers have encouraged me to get noticed in any way that I can, and while I've been attempting that, I can't help but feel that I'm overlooking some trick or tactic that might help me along.

So, in short: Do you have any recommendations for getting noticed, or any other avenues that a would-be television writer might benefit from?

Thanks again for taking the time to offer your insight!

philrosenthal2 karma

His being a very popular profession, it's very difficult. But- take a class. In addition to learning by doing, you'll make connections. You never know...

bozodeluxe1 karma

Hi Phil! The ending of the Italy episode with the Dario Checchini, quoting Dante from memory, and the ecstatic way you embraced that moment brought my wife and I to tears. It was a lovely, transcendent moment of television. Phil, It did appear that everyone was pretty buzzed by the end of that episode. Do you have to regulate your intake just to maintain a grip on the narrative or do you just go with the moment and hope it works out in post? Max and Helen, what were your initial thoughts as you saw your Son, throwing giant steaks in the air on TV?

Great show! Thank you so much!

philrosenthal2 karma

Go with the flow! (Within reason)

irregularcog1 karma

I'm liking your new show, it fits perfectly into watching late night with colbert. You mentioned in the Tokyo episode that you love sushi and eat it regularly, have you had Poke from Hawaii and on that point ant chance of a hawaii episode?

philrosenthal1 karma

First- I love Colbert. The genius of the medium. Yes I know Poke and yes would love a Hawaii episode, even though that sounds like a really tough gig.

connerysbeard1 karma

Hey Phil! My girlfriend and I love the show! Your little anecdote about taking your wife to Paris for the first time was beautiful, and inspirational.

My questions is: What's the coolest "spontaneous" event you've seen while traveling (aside from a roller-blade army screaming through the streets of Paris at night)?

philrosenthal1 karma

When I was in Frankfurt once, I wanted to buy some theater posters but the theater was closed. The ticket lady left the box office, went outside and opened a few glass cases containing huge versions of the posters and gave me three of them for free. We call this "vacation magic". The wonderful things that can happen if you put yourself out there.

RastaMcDouble1 karma

Since it's been said that "Everybody hates chris" Parodies your show, what did you think of that show?

philrosenthal2 karma

Never saw it as a parody- although flattered at the title use- thought it was a good show on its own.

Stankshadow1 karma

How does Fozzie bear feel about Ray stealing his act?

philrosenthal2 karma


Pmcandew1 karma

Can I come watch a movie and eat pizza at your house with Adam Carolla? I loved Exporting Raymond and every time you are on the Carolla podcast. And also Road Hard! Haha I don't really have a question. I just really ea t to watch movies and eat pizza.

philrosenthal1 karma

I wish I could invite everybody.

marilou871 karma

The age-old question: New York or Los Angeles? And why?

(Also, can you really believe it's not butter?)

philrosenthal1 karma

Don't need to choose. I live mostly in LA and come home to NY all the time.

suaveitguy1 karma

Ever work directly with Robert Mitchum?

philrosenthal2 karma

Yes I did. The first sitcom I worked on when I got to LA starred, yes, Robert Mitchum. Loved him, but probably wasn't right for a sitcom.

suaveitguy2 karma

Thanks. Could you share a story about him?

philrosenthal3 karma

I asked him why he wanted to do a sitcom and he said, "I'm a plumber. I show up, do my job, get paid, and go home".

betty2dogs1 karma

How many days do you spend at each location when you are filming the show? There must be so many times that you would want to linger, like in Italy.

philrosenthal1 karma

8 days per location

liamquane1 karma

Do you have any producing advice? negotiating?

philrosenthal1 karma

Best advice I ever got, about anything: Do the show you want to do, because in the end they're going to cancel you anyway.

liamquane1 karma

Hi Mr. Rosenthal How did you pitch Everybody Loves Raymond? :~)

philrosenthal1 karma

Wasn't a great pitch- i walked into cbs with Ray and said "it's basically him and his life".

sparklypuppies1 karma

Are your parents or your wife's parents anything like the in-laws in Everybody Loves Raymond?

philrosenthal2 karma

I don't want to answer that question. (Call me later).

fakename3111 karma

Helen, Do you still cook much? What was your best dish then or now?

BTW Phil loved you on Never Not Funny. It's how I found out the show which I love and have recommended to others.

MaxAndHelen2 karma

yes, i still cook every night. and hammelfleisch mit kohl (german irish stew) is my favorite dish - i also like branzino - helen

philrosenthal4 karma

That hammelfleich mit kohl has such an appealing ring to it, doesn't it?

Edigran81 karma

Hi Phil, I LOVE YOUR SHOW! I've seen several episodes on WTTW Chicago. Not only do I enjoy the places you've been to so far, as well as seeing you explore all the variety of foods in each culture...but I ADORE your folks. You obviously have a very special relationship with them. Do you visit with them often?... And did your beautiful mom get her new phone?

philrosenthal1 karma

I'm glad you love my folks. I rent them out to people on occasion. Make me an offer. I love them too. Owe them my whole life and of course, career. Mom found her phone on the nightstand.

Tucana661 karma

Phil, righteous of you to do an AMA! Welcome!

Any Peter Boyle stories you'd like to share?

philrosenthal2 karma

See above

irregularcog1 karma

How much did Brad Garrett's size and deep voice change the character from initial inception?

philrosenthal3 karma

The original idea was to have someone shorter than Ray play his older brother (as in his real life). And then this talking tree walked in the room. Then he opened his mouth. Better than real life.

legosexual-1 karma

No one's asking so... how is the egg? What's the story with that?

philrosenthal3 karma

How IS the egg? Like its living inside me?

legosexual-2 karma

Well you said you're EATING a 100-year old egg so I figured I'd speak in the same tense :)

philrosenthal1 karma

But I'm not still eating it. I think you saw what I thought of it.