best known for his role as "Big Pete" on the TV show The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
Comments: 1712 • Responses: 46 • Date: 2011-12-09 19:43:47 UTCsource
TheSeeker00314 karma2011-12-09 19:56:16 UTC
"Kevin, you are such a disease."
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Michaelcmaronna232 karma2011-12-09 20:01:55 UTC
Yes, I think that was supposed to be someone else's line at first.
working_right_now183 karma2011-12-09 20:34:42 UTC
I was checking out the Pete & Pete cast on imdb a while ago and I came across this gem. "Was suspended from high school during senior year for setting his guitar on fire in the halls." Is this true and why did you do it?
Michaelcmaronna301 karma2011-12-09 20:58:51 UTC
It's true. I was playing guitar, everyone was into Jimi hendrix, we were also teenage troublemakers, I think I used hairspray so it didn't quite flame on but just smoldered. The disciplinary report at the time (I recall) read "...a guitar that was smoldering..."
[deleted]159 karma2011-12-09 19:50:24 UTC
Michaelcmaronna280 karma2011-12-09 19:53:10 UTC
Toby Huss who played Artie was the coolest. He had lots of stories about growing up in Iowa and stories about living on the Lower East Side, and he was pretty much born to tell stories.
TheRedditPope133 karma2011-12-09 19:57:16 UTC
Your role was amazing and you knocked it out of the park. When people ask me to cite examples about good shows they just don't make anything like these days I point to Pete & Pete.
Did you have a good relationship with the other Pete? There was a bit of comedic hostility on the show, I assume though that the other Pete was fun to work with.
Michaelcmaronna169 karma2011-12-09 20:03:22 UTC
Thanks, it seems to hold up very well, doesn't it?
Dan and I didn't always get a chance to hang out with the shooting schedules and living in different states, but we stayed in touch and still hang out these days. On the set we had a lot of fun.
sharph123 karma2011-12-09 20:30:36 UTC
Can you talk about the general culture of Nickelodeon during that show? Is it really a bunch of art school weirdos given free reign over scripts, music, props, etc like I imagine?
Michaelcmaronna150 karma2011-12-09 21:29:20 UTC
There was that, but we were always working with an independent production company, the producers then turned a finished show over to Nickelodeon, and the network people did their thing from there. At the time there were plenty of young crazy types and plenty of corporate TV types, not homogeneous.
MeleeIslandTM112 karma2011-12-09 20:42:33 UTC
I used to watch this show back before I really understood the world so I feel like you guys and Ren and Stimpy basically made me into who I am today.
But anyway, Do people ever recognize you? Was it hard getting back into the industry as a child star? Also you had super cred back in the 90's, were you able to take advantage of it?
Michaelcmaronna225 karma2011-12-09 20:48:46 UTC
People do sometimes recognize me. It's only hard getting back into the industry if you leave for a while. I guess I left and went to college instead of acting full time, so, yes, it was hard. Didn't really constitute stardom, though.
taking advantage = girls? if so, then no. taking advantage = juicy film roles? not that either.
[deleted]90 karma2011-12-09 19:56:03 UTC
How difficult was it to keep a straight face, particularly when Toby Huss was in full Artie Mode?
Michaelcmaronna139 karma2011-12-09 20:01:14 UTC
That would be the stuff that I would come to set to watch even if I wasn't in the scene. There was a lot of laugh-stifling at the director's video monitor as well...
NoSleepLurker88 karma2011-12-09 19:53:17 UTC
Were you guys all friends as close as they portrayed you throughout Nick? I just remember you guys always seemed to be having a great time in commercials and everything.
This show was the one thing that united our whole elementary/middle school :p
Michaelcmaronna211 karma2011-12-09 19:55:34 UTC
Pretty much, we got along on set pretty well, we were from New Jersey(Tamberelli), Brooklyn(Maronna), and Long Island(Fanelli), we all had accents, we were all Italian, now that I think about it, we should have had a gang!
Tailas86 karma2011-12-09 21:20:14 UTC
I remember Iggy pop being on that show. Did you get to talk to Iggy much? How was it working with him?
Michaelcmaronna65 karma2011-12-10 01:20:32 UTC
Didn't get to talk to him that much. People still always freaked out that he was there. It was cool working with him, we didn't have too many scenes together as he was LP's friend's dad.
BillMurrayLives84 karma2011-12-09 21:45:36 UTC
Not really a question but I loved the show as a kid. The band Tera Melos covered Hey Sandy and did a shot for shot remake of the intro (more or less) and would love to hear what you think about it.
Michaelcmaronna85 karma2011-12-09 22:21:43 UTC
I think it is a very faithful remake, I like that the guy who plays me also plays mom, and he got my dead stare pretty well.
HoustonRH779 karma2011-12-09 20:01:00 UTC
A bunch of questions for you:
Michaelcmaronna144 karma2011-12-09 20:44:25 UTC
TheSeeker0077 karma2011-12-09 19:52:56 UTC
Slackers got the shaft man. I thought that was a hilarious movie! That movie gets quoted often by me and my friends. "I'll probably give you a nickname."
iamtearingyouapart39 karma2011-12-09 21:37:46 UTC
I'm going to have to agree. Slackers is a weird-ass, silly, awesome movie. You, Jason Segel and Schwartzman were born to be ridiculous.
Also, did you REALLY whip it out for the penis scene? Bravo, good sir.
Michaelcmaronna40 karma2011-12-10 01:45:01 UTC
Nope. A guy came up and introduced himself to me at the premiere party, saying "A lot of people have mistaken me for you this week". An actual penis puppeteer.
thegingeruprising71 karma2011-12-09 21:50:08 UTC
The revolution will start soon and we need high profile gingers to lead us in the revolt, You in?
P.S. You gave me confidence as a Carrot Top
Michaelcmaronna135 karma2011-12-09 22:14:55 UTC
I am in. take heart, flamehead.
WaywardWayfarer58 karma2011-12-09 20:37:32 UTC
Why did it always seem like the neighborhood was removed from America while being the Norman Rockwell believable America at the same time? The set and setting always balanced it out well, was it the set design or was it the writers? I mean wow, the episode about Ellen and Big Pete (edit: you) being hydrogen atoms...
Sometimes watching that show today, as a 25 year old, I realize the genius of the show in ways I hadn't when I was a kid.
Michaelcmaronna65 karma2011-12-09 20:53:32 UTC
It's true - we were lucky to have great writers, directors, designers, producers, etc.
picodroid48 karma2011-12-09 20:43:15 UTC
Holy balls dude. You are awesome. Loved that shows, and you were great in Slackers. Don't really have a question... um... did you ever eat that presidential cereal your "brother" stuck up his nose? Who got to keep the Excaliber? How was the open face sandwich?
Michaelcmaronna61 karma2011-12-09 20:46:32 UTC
Never ate that marshmallow.
Probably the prop master.
Couldn't eat it, it was the calling card of my nemesis.
IMSOEXCITED11111147 karma2011-12-09 21:42:53 UTC
I love you. Can we meet up somewhere for a hug?
Michaelcmaronna71 karma2011-12-09 22:22:08 UTC
Sure, I'm in brooklyn.
trippysmurf41 karma2011-12-09 21:54:18 UTC
If they did A Pete and Pete reunion show, would you do it?
Michaelcmaronna67 karma2011-12-09 22:10:11 UTC
already did it in LA last month, check out "cinefamily"
Oh you mean a television show? For Nickelodeon? Doubtful.
jadis8736 karma2011-12-09 20:36:37 UTC
How did you get the role of big Pete?
Michaelcmaronna78 karma2011-12-09 20:54:52 UTC
I auditioned at Nickelodeon in July or August of 1989. I think they might have been looking for redheads, so I had a built-in advantage.
[deleted]35 karma2011-12-09 20:56:11 UTC
My mom gets pretty teary eyed whenever I bring up Pete and Pete.
Thank you for being a part of my childhood.
Michaelcmaronna36 karma2011-12-10 01:46:26 UTC
Sure thing. That parents were into it as well is the part that pays off cause then they let you watch it.
0mggames33 karma2011-12-09 20:33:18 UTC
Are there any rolls these days you're hoping to get a shot at?
Michaelcmaronna61 karma2011-12-09 21:00:13 UTC
I think I would do really well as David Boring - the Daniel Clowes book. Maybe Terry Zwigoff will direct it, though, I don't know if he liked me the last time I read for him on "Art School Confidential"
ZeroKiel32 karma2011-12-09 22:02:13 UTC
I foresee this to be one of the greatest reedit IAMAs.
Michaelcmaronna46 karma2011-12-09 22:05:12 UTC
Thanks, I'm digging it so far and I hope you are too.
kurysu28 karma2011-12-09 21:34:46 UTC
Hi there! Thanks for doing this AMA, it brings back a lot of childhood memories. On to the question:
My uncle has been an actor for 30 or 40 years, and one of his gigs included a brief stint on Pete & Pete. He played the shop teacher-turned driving instructor with a hook for a hand. His name is Don Creech (he lived in NYC at the time, but lives in LA now).
I think the role was played by two actors over time - my uncle would have been the second one.
Are there any things in particular you remember about the episode that ended with you beating him in a go-kart race? I will see him during the holidays and he would get a real kick out of hearing that I was able to ask you this.
Thanks again! (p.s. my wife thinks you are awesome! "your show represented the golden age of nickelodeon" )
Michaelcmaronna28 karma2011-12-10 01:49:46 UTC
Yeah. The first slurm was Jude Ciccolella, Don creech was the second one. The Driving episode was pretty active, but a similar theme - threats of bodily damage with powerful tools. I just remember thinking his actual name was so perfect, why did he have to play a character not named Creech?
ishyaboy28 karma2011-12-09 22:01:13 UTC
Loved the show as a kid and as a 22 year old I can probably say I'm about as young as they come as far as remembering P&P. How does it make you feel that a mere 15 years later Nick has shows like iCarly, PetPet Park, and some fairy club? Do you miss the old Nick as much as I do or have you put that stuff in the past?
Michaelcmaronna109 karma2011-12-09 22:06:33 UTC
I don't miss that stuff to death, but I can say - stuff we watched when we were growing up is always going to seem better than the stuff "kids these days" are watching.
Gimpeh27 karma2011-12-09 21:53:23 UTC
How hard did you have to try to get into character? Anyone difficult to work with? That show really just felt fluid and real most of the time.
Michaelcmaronna38 karma2011-12-09 22:12:40 UTC
I tried to never blink while delivering lines, nobody was that tough to work with, but of course I wouldn't say even if they were. To sum up, everyone was easy to work with.
adeft25 karma2011-12-09 20:38:03 UTC
I'm a ginger and have an older brother who is as well. I really related to the show.
I know I got picked on in grade school, but don't hear much about it now that I'm pushing 30. Has being a ginger ever been difficult for you?
Michaelcmaronna44 karma2011-12-09 20:52:44 UTC
Sure, when you are in the school yard, it's easy to pick out the redhead.
silent_soliloquy24 karma2011-12-09 21:42:27 UTC
How was it hanging out with all those musicians and indie bands on the set? I got into bands like Drop Nineteens, Iggy Pop, REM, the Magnetic Fields, and Miracle Legion from the show. What kind of music are you into nowadays?
Michaelcmaronna33 karma2011-12-09 22:23:55 UTC
It was cool, it must have been cooler to all the adults running the show who were actually going to see those bands play and stuff. Nowadays I will listen to anything except progressive deep house/trance. Most recent live show was watching Bettie Serveert play their whole album Palomine in Amsterdam in September.
Roxxoredizorz22 karma2011-12-09 21:45:43 UTC
You are like a hero to me. To this day I still watch old episodes, just to relive the memories of what good children's shows were like.
I guess since most of the obvious questions have been asked, I'll ask what it was like to work with Steve Buscemi and Iggy Pop?
Michaelcmaronna41 karma2011-12-09 22:18:46 UTC
Buscemi - I had no idea at the time. I saw him years later and I don't think he remembers me at all, not a surprise. I work on Boardwalk Empire sometimes and I don't really need to press him on it. But it was cool.
Iggy - I hadn't listened to the Stooges at the time I met him but I got a tutorial real quick and was a fan by the end of the show. He was always doing something.
FrequentSea22 karma2011-12-09 22:02:48 UTC
Was the soundtrack that Polaris did for the show bespoke or did they have all the material already? I love the show, still do! The soundtrack is an instant nostalgia trip, listening to it now =D
Michaelcmaronna31 karma2011-12-09 22:03:44 UTC
I don't know - you could ask Mark Mulcahy, but I don't know.
stubbornyouth22 karma2011-12-09 21:50:39 UTC
Michaelcmaronna51 karma2011-12-09 22:14:31 UTC
Magnetic Fields for sure. Polaris - I'm still not sure they ever existed.
jaynus21 karma2011-12-09 20:30:37 UTC
I've always wanted to ask.
Did doing the show basically set you up to be a lot more (financially) comfortable since then? I have no idea how they paid back then or anything for shows; like paid crap, or if they basically set you up for life.
I know you still do work - but are you mostly doing it for the enjoyment, or is it also "I need to pay the rent"?
Michaelcmaronna70 karma2011-12-09 21:26:53 UTC
It set me up in that it gave me a chance to meet people and work more. But no, I didn't get rich working for Nickelodeon. MTV Networks didn't get rich by writing a bunch of checks.
craigtheotter21 karma2011-12-09 21:56:53 UTC
what was Purchase like in the 90's?
Michaelcmaronna35 karma2011-12-09 22:08:19 UTC
My freshman year was the most fun. Started sucking after that. Purchase started expanding while I was there, admitted a lot more patients (i mean students) but didn't build any more housing right away. The film program was fun, but always like the ugly stepsister hidden in the basement.
Colemaj21 karma2011-12-09 23:27:46 UTC
It's gonna seem a little weird but two years ago (almost to the day) I invited this girl I knew to watch Pete and Pete. I had spent the day before at my a friends' watching it and eating buffalo wings. The friend never picked up their phone and so the girl and I wound up going to the movies on a pseudo date. Our first kiss was a few days later when I eventually did get the Pete and Pete DVD's back... I wound up marrying that girl in October of this year and we're extremely happy. I thought you might be interested to hear the weird ways in which the show you were in played a role in others' lives.
Also, please pull whatever strings you have to get the rest of the episodes out on DVD. It would be wonderful.
tl;dr My wife and I started dating while watching Pete and Pete.
Michaelcmaronna28 karma2011-12-10 04:22:56 UTC
Whoa!!! I know what to name them if you have twin boys!
solidcurrency19 karma2011-12-09 21:52:32 UTC
At the time, did you have any idea that Pete & Pete would become such a beloved cult classic?
Michaelcmaronna37 karma2011-12-09 22:13:53 UTC
nope. don't think I knew what that meant at the time.
QuaileMan8217 karma2011-12-09 20:36:10 UTC
What were the creators/ writers like to work with and to you keep in touch with former cast members. Pete and Pete ahead of its time.
Michaelcmaronna28 karma2011-12-09 20:56:10 UTC
They were awesome. I still talk to Dan Tamberelli.
very_nice_how_much17 karma2011-12-09 20:03:26 UTC
Who was easier to get along with - Pete or Pete?
Michaelcmaronna54 karma2011-12-09 20:05:34 UTC
Equally easy, or equally as hard, depending upon how you look at it.
sharph15 karma2011-12-09 20:18:30 UTC
What does being an electrician on film sets entail and how did you decide to do it? How does an actor go about becoming an electrician?
Thanks for the IAMA!
Michaelcmaronna24 karma2011-12-10 02:23:39 UTC
Dragging heavy cable around stages and locations, lighting and running power. I just thought the electricians were the coolest people I had ever seen when I was working on the show. I just kept doing it until people hired me.
AgentTripleZero14 karma2011-12-09 20:27:18 UTC
What's your opinion of the content/shows that have been run on Nick since Pete & Pete was canceled? And of the shows they have now?
I'm fully aware of what Reddit's opinion will be, but I was curious to know if you had strong opinions one way or another about the network's programming.
Michaelcmaronna45 karma2011-12-09 21:31:03 UTC
Haven't really kept up, I mean stuff from back in the day, Doug, Rugrats, that type of stuff is always sacred in people's memories, you can't mess with those shows. The shows today...I don't watch nick so I really can't comment.
AbaddonSF14 karma2011-12-09 19:58:59 UTC
Loved the show as a kid, Did you take any propt from the show as a keepsake?
Michaelcmaronna54 karma2011-12-09 20:03:46 UTC
I don't think so, but I'll have to check if I have any Krebstar things.
Michaelcmaronna33 karma2011-12-10 01:54:48 UTC
I had an orange Lazarus cup for the longest time but I think it eventually melted in my mom's dishwasher. Maybe she still has it.
djolliebaba13 karma2011-12-09 22:21:06 UTC
I have a weird small world story. I met you once in Greenpoint. My friend, Ken Larkin, went to college with you at Purchase... and I think you guys were roommates. My roommate at college lived in Cranford, NJ, where I believe a majority of the show was filmed. And I went to high school with Alison Fanelli.
Michaelcmaronna12 karma2011-12-10 02:18:08 UTC
That's crazy. I heard ken is married, has a kid. We lived in the same apartment.
marviemundullo11 karma2011-12-09 22:02:16 UTC
Saw you in that Nada Surf video, that was cool.
Heard a story about you once (friend of a friend, possibly of another friend), which may or may not be true. Goes like this:
This guy is at a party, in a dark room. Everybody else leaves the room. Guy goes to leave but somebody blocks the entrance as they walk in. Fella that just walked in goes "you know who I am". Guy gets confused, new guy repeats "you know who I am" and then turns on the light. It's you, with a very serious face.
Although, from reading your responses, it doesn't seem like you would ever assume that somebody recognized you.
Michaelcmaronna18 karma2011-12-09 22:04:54 UTC
That sounds tough to place, I don't think it was me, but I have done silly things in life.
[deleted]11 karma2011-12-10 03:16:50 UTC
I am pretty sure that you were the reason for my unwavering love of gingers. When was the first time a fan professed their undying devotion to you?
Michaelcmaronna17 karma2011-12-10 05:29:57 UTC
Today. From you.
chrissielol10 karma2011-12-09 20:05:14 UTC
I never put it together that you were also in Home Alone. Yay 90's.
How often did you get stopped on the street by fans in the 90's?
How about now?
Michaelcmaronna5 karma2011-12-10 02:19:11 UTC
1- not much, seldom
2- not much, sometimes
rambogizmo9 karma2011-12-09 21:53:50 UTC
When you sing to your penis in slackers I lose it every time. Thank you for that, slackers will go down in my top 10 comedies.
Can you describe your experience working with Jason Schwartzman? I hear random stories about him being a pain in the ass to work with...
Michaelcmaronna22 karma2011-12-09 22:11:41 UTC
Nah Jason was really cool. A young guy. We had similar attention-hungry personalities, I felt we got along well. He gave me an awesome studded punk bracelet as a wrap gift.
RufusMcCoot6 karma2011-12-09 23:42:27 UTC
Michael, you should know...
Once there was an episode where you had a band aid on your face. I think it was winter and you were outside. Open Face was giving you a hard time or something and you started crying. Between the crying, the dorky winter clothes, the band aid on your face, and Open Face making fun of you, it was the saddest thing I had seen up to that point in my decade-old life. It was really brutal and made me feel horrible.
Today when I see someone cry it's absolutely brutal. I'm nice to people very much on purpose because I hate seeing someone upset, and the scene of you crying with that pathetic band aid on your face always pops into my head. I don't want to see that look on anyone's face as long as I live, so I make sure to treat people well.
Thanks, it was oddly the most impactful thing I've ever seen on Nickelodeon.
I guess I should ask a question: Do you know the scene I'm referring to?
TL;DR I'm nice to people because of a scene you acted in.
Michaelcmaronna4 karma2011-12-10 04:34:01 UTC
Sure, it was freezing out and i was on my butt in the mud in Bayonne, NJ. It didn't take a lot of acting to look sad. Whatever it takes to make you a nice person - I'm proud we had an effect.
Instant_Awesome4 karma2011-12-10 06:38:49 UTC
I played softball with you in Queens. My question is: do you remember that?
Michaelcmaronna9 karma2011-12-10 06:51:29 UTC
Of course. We finished in 5th place and won the championship with Mister Kenny. The next year we finished 4th and lost in the playoffs.
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