One Last Laugh
"It was a creative decision," says Ray Romano who plays the title character. The show is very loosely based on his real life—along with the lives of the other writers on the show.
"We just thought, 'We have run out of stories.' You know, we're in the writers' room. We know how hard it is to come up with new and fresh ideas," Ray says. "It's not money. I have money…I don't have Oprah money, but I have money! So that was it. It was just we love the show. The show is our heart and soul. It's our legacy, if you will, and we want to leave at the top of our game."
Ray says he never dreamed the show would be so successful.
"I mean, I'm here," Ray says. "I'm on The Oprah Show! I've gained the world. The audience and everybody there has given me the world."
Ray: Yeah, I don't know what that means, because have you seen [the show]? I mean, if you've seen the show…
Oprah: What do you think of that, though? They're basing it on the fact that all of us who watch that show…it's like watching yourself in real life. It's like watching what goes on in your own family.
Ray: That's the comment I get…when I meet the public on the street; is, "How do you know that that's my husband?" "That's my wife!" And it's a sad commentary I say!
Ray: They have a lot in common.
Anna: We feel the same way.
Ray: I don't sleep with either of them!
"This is a perfect example," Patricia explains. "In the final episode, Ray and I have to do a scene together where I'm very loving toward him. I was preparing offstage. I just let all these feelings of affection kind of come up…and right before I went on, Ray said, 'Don't walk on on my laugh. Hold for my laugh.' I was like, nine years, two Emmys and you're giving me a note on acting on the last episode?' I said, 'You know what? You just screwed up my preparation because I'm back here trying to love you, and now I hate you.'"
What will Patricia miss about Ray? "I'll miss the sex," she jokes. "Anna's not here today, is she?"
Oprah: I think it's great you're so honest about it.
Patricia: I think people make such a big deal about hiding it, and I also think that tabloids are going to discover everything about it and tell it anyway. So I'd rather be the one delivering the news and be in control of it.
Oprah: How has [the fame] affected you?
Brad: My butler told me at lunch, he said, "Sire, why must I wear a corset?"
Ray: If I knew you were this funny, we could do another year.
"Uh-oh," Ray moans. "You opened the can up."
After Brad does Dustin Hoffman, Dr. Phil and Doug Henning, the cast members and Oprah are in stitches.
"This is what we got to do,” says Patricia. "We got paid to…have so much fun. That's what I'm going to miss."
Oprah: I heard you have a little prayer that you think sums up [your feelings about the show].
Peter: I found this little thing in a book. It said, "I do a wonderful job in a wonderful way with wonderful people for wonderful pay." And this came true! I visualized it!
But she says nothing can replace her experience on Everybody Loves Raymond. "It's the best gig I've ever had in my lifetime," she says. And although the show is ending, she's looking forward to another 50 years in acting. "My motto is: I don't give in, I don't give up and I don't take no for an answer."
Monica's husband, Phil Rosenthal, created the show. The show "was already such a part of our lives" Monica says, "to be able to able to jump in and be part of it—wow."
Oprah: This is really an incredible cast that feels like a family.
Phil: It started to be a show about a family for families, and now it's written and performed by a family.
Ray: Dysfunctional family.
Phil: To the audience, I speak for everybody when we say, "Thank you." We have a tremendous respect and affection for you and it's one of the reasons we want to stop before we get lousy.
And the cast members have their own messages for Ray:
Patricia: What can I say? I love Ray and I never once from the pilot got the sense that he was a standup trying to be an actor. He's a wonderful actor and he's a great guy.
Brad: I want to thank you for the greatest time of my life, career-wise. And I want to thank you for your generosity as a human, as an actor, as a comedian.
Doris: I have just enjoyed this journey. Nine wonderful years with my friends, my family.
Peter: We love you, Ray!