Craig Shoemaker, KLN '82, wears many hats. He has a successful standup comedy career, has appeared in the TV shows "Matlock" and "Parks and Recreation," had small roles in the films "Witness" and "Blowout," and has written books including the best-selling "LoveMaster'd."
At Temple University, Shoemaker studied in the Department of Radio-Television-Film (known as Media Studies and Production today). Shoemaker's work experiences reflected the diversity of his class at Temple.
"I was never very specific like my friend Billy [Goldenberg] who went on to be a film editor," Shoemaker said. "I just showed up for everything that I could and learned from each."
Shoemaker performed standup comedy through Temple's Leisure Programs Department, which hired comedians and speakers. He was responsible for distributing posters and flyers for events.
"It was a different world where you actually had to have scotch tape on a pole," Shoemaker said.
From a young age, Shoemaker started hosting his own morning radio show at a college station outside of Pittsburgh. He worked for the PRISM network in Philadelphia and won the network its first Emmys in 1986 by producing comedy shorts that aired between movies. He later moved to Los Angeles and got an acting deal with NBC, at which point he was cast in a recurring role in "Matlock" and wrote for the TV show "Just the Ten of Us." The first feature film he wrote, "The LoveMaster," was produced and distributed by Universal.
"I never accept 'No' or 'I can't,' and just go for it," Shoemaker said. "I think we put so much into these negative thoughts. If you stay out of the fear and the worry, then you see what manifests."
Shoemaker also connected with Philadelphia-based film director Michael Goldberg, who directed "Cool Runnings" and "Little Giants." Goldberg helped Shoemaker write "The LoveMaster." Following the news of Goldberg's diagnosis of cancer, Shoemaker created the nonprofit organization Laughter Heals in 2003. It is devoted to using laughter as a healing mechanism.
"I kept him alive for another 15 years past his prognosis of three months," Shoemaker said.
"He just passed away not too long ago. We kept him laughing the entire way."
Currently, Shoemaker is working on a full-length film about Karl Marx called "Breakfast with Charly." He is also working on several unscripted reality series including a collaboration with restaurateur Tony Luke, called "Funny Food."
"If I were to give a message to students, it would be stay connected, take action, stay open and flexible and keep listening to your inspiration," Shoemaker said. "Clear away your show, the bells, the whistles and all the deflections, and then see where you are and what resonates with you."
Shoemaker will perform standup at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J. on July 21.