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Aww Shift

Sep 22, 2021

In today's episode, our guest is Michael Fishman, an actor, and producer. He is known for playing D.J. Conner on the long-running series Roseanne and its spin-off show The Conners.

[4:27] Why should we listen to you?

The first thing I'm probably going to do is ask you a question because I want to know about you. I'd probably ask you not the thing everybody else is going to ask you like How are you? How's your day all that kind of stuff? I want to know what your dream is. I want to know what is it that you what lights you up? What is the thing that brings your world to life? And that's where I started.

[5:49] Dream

I guess the dream is to write, create and produce visceral experiences for audiences. I want to see families that look like ours on TV and I want to show stories from the kind of underrepresented perspectives where we offer inclusion, and you can realize how much we have in common. And then how much we need to learn to listen to each other and grow.

[8:56] Experiences being the parents of an African American child

They came into me later in life. I got them, and they were matured in their way. It's disturbing the way some people's minds can't quite get around to that. Here's all you need to know if you can't tell us is the kids loved. You're never going to understand everybody else's life unless you listen to them and then learn because it's so complex. All you need to know is the children are loved and have a support structure, and then how are all of us behaving and acting.

[11:25] Handling anger issue with my children

You don't have to be together for very long to experience them. Because unfortunately, there's a lot of ignorant people in the world, and hopefully, what I'm doing is trying to come from a place of love, support, and teaching. Kids are kids, and they're all different. There's no owner's manual with any of them; they all got their own thing. Society does something and it's frustrating at times, but I think what you said about your mom is, hopefully, what I was trying to do is help and teach them. I never want them to get to the point where they define themselves based on somebody else's ignorance.

[16:51] What are your wishes for your kids?

So with my oldest daughter, what I would say is, as an actor, director, I would love for her to be able to do the project. I want to see that become more of the norm instead of obscuring things I say of opportunities for young women of color. I'm fascinated to see what transition in 10 years. Hopefully, when the time is right with the right person, there'll be a grandchild.

[19:32] Marriage

I was married for 20 years. We ended up getting divorced as we kind of went in different directions. My wife wanted to live a very different life. It wasn't her thing. And so she's remarried. She has a family, and everything is excellent.

[23:13] What are some things you're excited about that maybe you learned, or were some nuances that made you more present to you over this last period that now you're eager to move into?

I feel like we're kind of in an interesting, almost like a new Renaissance. The first thing I want to do with our crew was to make sure we didn't lose our humanity. I made pins for everybody to start the year. It's our way of acknowledging the humanity and each other from across space. I have this vast documentary that's about refugees. And it's about people who have come to this country. My dad's an immigrant. To tell the story of why people go and the benefits of this country because I feel there are some undertones in the country now where a lot of people, we have a very complex history.

[27:06] What promise did God make to the world when He created you?

The promise that I have to embrace every day is to take every opportunity that I've been given. I uplift and promote other people and help people grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I bring people together that that's my purpose. That's my goal. And I have a real sense that anything short of that is just not enough of my work.

Key Quotes

[7:52 - 7:58] “If we don’t do something positive with that opportunity, then we really kind of wasted our time here on Earth.”

[8:19 - 8:21] “You're writing your legacy every day, whether you realize it or not.”

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