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Fran is the Founder of the Cancer Schmancer Movement and was “The Nanny” on the hit television show.

In this episode from the All About Change vault, Jay Ruderman sits down with iconic actor and activist Fran Drescher. Fran tells Jay the story of getting The Nanny off the ground, and what it took to make sure that Fran Fein made it to air as a Jewish woman.

In the years since The Nanny, Fran has battled uterine cancer, and founded the Cancer Schmancer Movement to encourage women to advocate for themselves in the doctor’s office. Fran and Jay talk about all of this, and more.

Listen to the latest episode of All About Change as Fran discusses her life as the The Nanny, to her battle with uterine cancer, and how she founded the Cancer Schmancer Movement to encourage women to advocate for themselves in the doctor’s office.

To learn more about the Cancer Schmancer Movement, click here.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Jay Ruderman, Host:

Hey, this is Jay. I’m so excited to share that we’ve recently doubled our audience. This is an incredible milestone, and I’m so grateful to all of you for listening and sharing the show. We’re a growing community of people who are passionate about activism, and this growth has us trending at the top of the Apple Podcast charts. I feel incredibly proud of this achievement, especially considering we’re a small, independent production. If you’re one of the many listeners to our show, first of all, welcome. I encourage you to check out our back catalog. Here are a few of my favorite episodes.

Episode 24. Filmmaker Olivier Bernier fights for his son’s enrollment in the regular school system and shows us how everyone, especially the “regular students” stands to gain from such inclusion.

Episode 20. Lise Deguire, a psychologist and burn survivor, shares her inspiring resilience journey and commitment to helping others to find their own strength.

Episode 27. Evon Benson-Idahosa, a leading expert on modern day slavery, discusses her efforts to heal survivors and advocate for change.

And lastly, Episode 19. Jason Docton is a gamer who’s on a mission to increase awareness and provide aid to a mental health pandemic that’s hitting the gaming community especially hard.

I love hearing from listeners and I’m always looking for new ideas and topics to cover on the show. I’m curious to hear about what activism you’re involved in. Are you working on any projects or campaigns that you’re passionate about? Please feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts and suggestions by filling out our listener feedback form linked in our show notes.

Lastly, as the old podcasting trope goes, if you’re enjoying the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It’s one of the most effective ways to help new people find our show and learn about activism. Thank you for being part of the All About Change community. Your support means the world to us. May we all grow together from strength to strength. And now, onto our show.

Montage:

This is all wrong.

I say put mental health first because if you don’t-

This generation of America has already had enough.

Fran Drescher, Guest:

I stand before you not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen.

Jay Ruderman:

Hi, it’s Jay here. Today we’re re-releasing one of the most memorable conversations I’ve had from the All About Change catalog. A few years back I had the privilege of talking to Fran Drescher, an icon known for her transformative role in The Nanny. At the time, Fran was deeply immersed in her campaign for the presidency of SAG-AFTRA, the Guild representing actors, broadcasters, and media professionals. Revisiting our talk, I’m struck by Fran’s passion for advocacy, her unwavering commitment to fair compensation, equitable rights, and inclusive representation is a testament to her unwavering spirit. Recently, Fran played a crucial role in leading her fellow industry members to a landmark agreement.

Fran Drescher:

We are fortunate enough to be in a country right now that happens to be labor-friendly, and yet we were facing opposition that was so labor-unfriendly, so tone deaf to what we are saying. You cannot change the business model as much as it has changed and not expect the contract to change, too. We’re not going to keep doing incremental changes on a contract that no longer honors what is happening right now with this business model that was foisted upon us. What are we doing? Moving around furniture on the Titanic? It’s crazy. So the jig is up, AMPTP, we stand tall. You have to wake up and smell the coffee. We are labor and we stand tall and we demand respect and to be honored for our contribution. You share the wealth because you cannot exist without us. Thank you.

Jay Ruderman:

As we bid farewell to this year, let Fran’s words be our guiding light for what is to come. We’ll be back in the new year with fresh episodes featuring inspiring guests who I’m sure will ignite your imagination and fuel your passion for change. Stay safe, cherish your loved ones, and embrace the spirit of the season.

Fran, let’s begin by talking about the cultural moment that The Nanny is having right now on HBO Max. Why do you think 28 years after the first airing that it’s resonating with new generations?

Fran Drescher:

Well, timing is everything, and I think that The Nanny happened at a particular time when the internet was just beginning to happen and the kids that grew up watching it who are now the millennials were the ones that kind of drove the beginnings of social media. They had a lot of nostalgia in lots of the show. So as they got older, they began to appreciate some of the jokes that went over their heads. They began to appreciate the costumes that I’m sure they enjoyed seeing, but didn’t really grasp what a truly stylish show it was. And they probably didn’t grasp the sexual tension between The Nanny and her boss, Mr. Sheffield. I think the millennials and their addiction to social media and the fact that the show has never been off the air since 1993, and now that it’s finally streaming on HBO Max so they could binge it, watch it whenever they want commercial free, they’re sharing it with their kids now, and it’s just an incredible phenomenon that I’m extremely grateful for and very proud to have been the creator and producer of. So it’s wonderful.

Jay Ruderman:

Well, it’s a really funny show and you are wonderful in it. I want to talk about when you co-created it with your then husband, Peter Marc Jacobson. How did the idea come about for the show?

Fran Drescher:

I was on a trip to Europe, and on the flight over was the president of CBS and I kind of started chewing his ear off about how he should listen to ideas for shows for me that Peter and I had, because I have a very unique brand of comedy and I don’t think just waiting for the right script or audition is quite going to do it. And nine and a half hours later, he threw up his arms and said, “Okay, when we all get back to LA, you’ll call my office and I’ll set you up a meeting with the head of comedy development.” And then I ended up walking around the streets of London with my girlfriend Twiggy’s daughter, who was just a proper little British school girl at the time, maybe 11 or 12. At some point she said, “Fran, my new shoes are hurting me.”

And I thought, “What the hell was she telling me for?” And then I thought, I didn’t feel like going back yet. So I told her, “Just step on the backs of them.” And she says innocently, “Won’t that break them?” And I said, “Break them in.” And I thought, this is a very funny relationship because I’m not being the typical caregiver. I’m not telling her what’s good for her. I’m telling her what’s good for me. And I couldn’t get that idea out of my head. And in the middle of the night, I called Peter because it was like nine hours earlier in LA and I said, “I think I got the idea for us to pitch to CBS when I return.” And I said, “What do you think about a spin on The Sound of Music, only instead of Julie Andrews, I come to the door?” And he thought for a moment and said, “That’s it. That’s the show we’ll develop as soon as you get back, and then we’ll pitch it to CBS.” And the rest is TV history.

Jay Ruderman:

I remember you saying about seizing the day. Can you talk a little bit about your philosophy about going for it in life?

Fran Drescher:

From a very young age, I started to appreciate the life lessons that experience was teaching me. When I was still a teenager living at home with my parents, I had a commercial audition to go up on. And from where we lived in Queens, I had to take two buses and a train to get to this audition. I spent a great deal of time putting on my makeup perfectly and blowing my hair out like Farrah Fawcett and all this. But when I got there, I didn’t feel confident. They wanted me to sing and dance with a paper bag over my head because I think it was for a Jack in the Box commercial.

So I kind of got in my own way and I didn’t really give 100 percent because I was embarrassed a little bit. On the train ride and two buses to get back home, I was beating myself up. Why did I do that? Why did I go to all this trouble just to end up getting in my way? When I was finally at the audition and I said, “This feeling of regret is profoundly worse, and if I had just dived in and did it,” and I said, “I’m never going to do that again.” So I recall that 17 or 18-year-old girl still living at home with my parents when I saw the president of CBS walk on the plane. I thought to myself, “Carpe diem. Seize the day.” Because this is divine intervention, and if I don’t take advantage of this moment now, I will have profound regrets. I already know I hate feeling regretful, so I’m just going to dive in the deep end and convince this man that I know my brand of comedy better than any writer he’s going to be working with.

Jay Ruderman:

There’s a lot of talk about The Nanny being ahead of its time. In fact, there have been several articles that have written that have lauded The Nanny about being sexually liberated. Was your intention when creating character of Fran Fine to have her as a sexually liberated woman, as a feminist?

Fran Drescher:

We write what we know. I happen to come from a family of mostly women, and they’re all very comfortable with their sexuality and sensuality starting with my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother. I have a sister. My mother has a sister. We’re a bunch of women that are comfortable in our own skin and comfortable being women. We don’t take no shit, but on the other-

Fran Drescher:

We don’t take no shit. But on the other hand, we’re comfortable with our sensuality. So when we wrote it, both Sylvia and Yada were very comfortable in their own skin, in their womanliness. It was what it was. So I don’t think we were particularly thinking in terms of, “Oh, we’re going to create a character who’s a feminist or who’s sexually liberated.” We just wrote what we knew and what was truthful to us.

Jay Ruderman:

You also mentioned about Fran’s wardrobe, and what were you trying to convey about the iconic wardrobe that Fran Fine wore on the show?

Fran Drescher:

Well, Peter and I understood very clearly that this was a star vehicle for me, and that I’m a woman with a great deal of style, that wears clothes really well, and that television is a visual media. So we wanted the character to put on a fashion show in every episode. We knew that going in. We even designed that circular staircase to accommodate her entrances. And so this was by design, but I had just finished a CBS series that was very short-lived with Twiggy and Julie Hagerty, which was where I met Twiggy and how we became friends. That was called Princesses.

And on that show, there was a woman second in command to the lead designer who I found to be extremely impressive. Her name was Brenda Cooper. I said to Peter, “She really understands how to dress a woman from the undergarments out, so she looks her best.” And if we ever do get a TV show up and running, because I had already put that out to the universe and I was manifesting it, I knew that I really needed to be in charge. I was more talented than some of the people I was working for, and it wasn’t that satisfying. I really needed to manifest getting on the inside in a big way. And so I was already collecting people in my head anticipating it happening, and she was one of them. As was Ann Hampton Callaway, who wrote the famous theme song.

Jay Ruderman:

Yeah, I was going to ask you about the theme song because it’s one of the most famous in the history of sitcoms.

Fran Drescher:

I went to a cabaret in the theater district of Manhattan, and she was performing. It was a friend of mine, Todd Graff, who’s a writer and director, who took me to this cabaret show that she was headlining. And I was blown away by her. I thought she’s singing songs that she wrote, and I’m not used to hearing original music in cabarets that I really think are great. She’s writing songs for Barbara Streisand. So I thought, “Wow, if ever we need someone to write music, I’m going to get her.” And I started to just collect people that impressed me, including the company that animated a commercial that ended up being the company that did the animated opening titles.

Jay Ruderman:

It’s like a very holistic view to life. Everything adds on itself.

Fran Drescher:

Yes, exactly. And when you want to manifest something, you start living it, and eventually the pieces come together to create a whole picture. But you can’t get in your way ever. Opportunity is constantly knocking at your door. You have to have the tenacity to not only recognize it, but then carpe diem, seize the day.

Jay Ruderman:

One of the great things about The Nanny is how unapologetically Jewish you are in the show. And in light of antisemitism on the rise today, can you talk about your efforts to keep Fran Fine as Jewish on the show?

Fran Drescher:

The character was always written as Jewish because it was created for me. And then CBS called when we were writing the pilot script and said that they have an opportunity to pre-sell the entire series to Proctor & Gamble. The only thing is they want the character to be Italian, not Jewish. Now again, here’s this concern about feeling regret because I know myself, and although this was my big break, I knew it was going to be my big break, if I didn’t stand firm on how this character must be written and the show failed, I would have a very difficult time living with the fact that I didn’t do it my way. Whereas if I do it my way and I fail, I think that would be easier for me to live with because I did my vision and I felt in my heart it was right. But to do it for no good reason, just to get it on the air and not stand firm to the vision was not an option.

And I really dug in my heels and said, “I’m sorry, but the character of Fran Fine must be Jewish. It’s an extremely fast medium. Writing, performing, it’s all very fast, and there’s no time for us to do it with an Italian character because I’m not Italian and we can’t write Italian with the richness of specificity that is our brand of comedy.”

Jay Ruderman:

Well, Fran, you’re a very strong person. I want to talk a little bit about your activism and your journey in founding Cancer Schmancer. I understand it took eight doctors in two years to finally determine that you had uterine cancer. Can you talk about that journey?

Fran Drescher:

This kind of plays into the set that I challenge the status quo constantly. I am a visionary. I like to be in the leadership role. I’m not afraid to reinvent the wheel. I’m not afraid to walk away from something that does not feel right to me. So that personality within me saved my life, frankly, because we are living in a time where doctors are bludgeoned by big business health insurance to go the least expensive route of diagnostic testing. So many doctors, and certainly the eight that I saw, subscribe to the philosophy, if you hear hooves galloping, don’t look for zebra. It’s probably a horse. But if you happen to be a zebra, you’re going to be screwed.

And I slipped through the cracks every step of the way because I was too young and too thin to be a candidate for uterine cancer. Even though one in four women or 25% of the women who get uterine cancer are young and thin, that to me warrants ruling it out before you start treating them for the more benign possibility, which for me was perimenopause is what they assumed it must be.

And doctor number one said, “Oh, well, you’re too young for an endometrial biopsy.” And at the time I didn’t say, “Why? What would that prove or disprove?” I was just thrilled to be too young for anything. I was 40 at the time, and by the time I was 42, doctor number eight gave me one because after trying over the course of those two years, four different hormone replacement therapies for a condition that I did not have, the last one gave me a hormone that had estrogen in it, which is literally like taking poison if you have uterine cancer. And I started immediately bleeding 24/7.

And when I called her up, I said, “This cannot be right for me.” She said, “Well, I’ll give you an endometrial biopsy, but it’s probably just not the right hormone combination.” While she’s giving me this endometrial biopsy, which is a very uncomfortable but very brief test, she was saying to me, still convinced I was perimenopausal and I had like five minutes of fertility left, that I should definitely free some embryos if I ever want to have a biologic child.

And three days later, she called me and said, “I’m very surprised, but you have adenocarcinoma.” And I said, “What’s that?” And she said, “Uterine cancer.” And I literally dropped to my knees and wept. I knew something was wrong with me. I hoped it wasn’t cancer. But I’ve had this a long time and I may be at an advanced stage, but you have to be lucky with even the kind of cancer you get. And I was because unlike ovarian cancer, which is very aggressive and spreads its seeds, uterine cancer grows very slowly and keeps building on itself. The tumor gets bigger and bigger until it starts to penetrate the endometrial wall and eventually reaching a lymph node where it might spread, but that wasn’t the case with me even after two years and eight doctors, I was still in stage one, which means the tumor was just resting on the uterus and not penetrating the endometrial wall.

Jay Ruderman:

So I know that you have a statement that I’ve heard you say a few times, “Get it on arrival…”

Fran Drescher:

95% survival.

Jay Ruderman:

“95% survival.” The women who are listening to this show, what should they look out for? Why do you think people ignore early warning signs of cancer?

Fran Drescher:

Women tend to put their families before their own needs. This is classic of certainly my generation. Many women work and still, they are the principal caregiver to the spouse, the elder and the children in every home nationwide. So at the earliest and most curable stage, which I call the whisper stage, you may feel something seems unusual, irregular, abnormal…

Fran Drescher:

… seems unusual, irregular, abnormal, but you can dismiss it because it’s not that bad, and you have a lot on your plate already, and maybe it’ll just correct itself and go away. Unfortunately, in most cases, that is not what happens. And so we at Cancer Schmancer have been trying to pivot women’s thinking to realize that they have to put their health and wellbeing first, because they’re useless to their family if they’re six feet under. So you can say to yourself, “Oh, it’s probably nothing, and I got to get the kids off to school and I got to get to work,” and everything like that.

You could say that to yourself and keep your head in the sand, but really what you have to say is, “This may be nothing, but God forbid it’s something. I have to catch it at the whisper stage, so I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment. I am going to go and check this out. And I’m also going to be my own patient advocate. I’m going to transform from being a patient,” which already the word implies passivity, “to a medical consumer. I’m going to go online and do a little research and see what this might be and what tests that are available because all too often they’re not even on the menu at the doctor’s office.” There are things that we encourage women to ask for when they go for their gynecologic exam that is not part of a normal gynecologic exam, and that is completely predicated on big business health insurance and has nothing to do with what the actual patients’ needs are for a thorough exam.

Jay Ruderman:

And what would be your advice to doctors or health professionals in terms of how can they better listen to their patients?

Fran Drescher:

First of all, you need time. You need to know that the patient actually knows more than you’re giving them credit for. You need to ask more questions, and you need to look at the whole body as a complete system, and not just the end symptom. You must pivot towards causation, which is rare to find a doctor that does that, and why I tend to go to functional medical doctors because they have that extra layer of training where they know if, for example, you have chronic acne or seborrhea psoriasis or any kind of skin condition, it behooves them to look at your liver because skin is liver. It behooves them to look at your hormones, particularly in women, because a hormone imbalance will show up on your face. So that didn’t happen with me, and this is all stuff that I’ve learned the hard way, but the body is a system.

If you’re having emotional problems, mental issues, anything that has to do with your brain, it behooves you to look at your gut and see what kind of microbiome you have in your gut, because gut is brain. Likewise, if you’re getting sick a lot, even two colds a year would be considered too much, you need to check out your gut because gut is also immune system. And at Cancer Schmancer, we have a very progressive radical program called Detox Your Home. Most people don’t know that the home is the most toxic place you spend the most time in, more toxic than living across the street from an oil refinery. And ironically, the place we have the most control of, but we’re so brainwashed by advertising and big business manufacturers that compromise our health and the health of the planet for the almighty dollar, that we have to become more mindful consumers because what we buy is our vote and what we don’t buy becomes our protest. And we have the capability to clean up everybody’s acts because money talks, and the only language big business understands is the bottom line.

Jay Ruderman:

So what would be your advice to the consumer? What are they looking for and how do they educate themselves to rid more toxic items from their home?

Fran Drescher:

I would only eat organic food, number one, because otherwise you are what you eat. And if you’re eating an animal or a plant that has tons of chemicals or antibiotics in it, if the animal is living a Dickensian life of misery and enslavement and being fed GMO grain, when that’s not even natural to the animal’s diet, or they’re full antibiotics or growth hormones, you’re eating that. That’s what’s going into your body. Don’t do it. We have to have an end to industrial farming. We need the Farm Bill to pivot towards encouraging these farmers that drank the Kool-Aid in the 20th century to get out of the agrochemical industry and to start learning regenerative farming. That’s what our tax paying dollars should go to because everything else is a downward spiral towards destroying our health and the health of the planet and the water beneath the soil.

Jay Ruderman:

Very powerful and really important, and I hope people take that. In 2002, you wrote your bestselling book, Cancer Schmancer. How did it come from being a bestselling book to being a movement and then a foundation?

Fran Drescher:

I started the book because I in earnest didn’t want what happened to me to happen to other people, and it was a very cathartic process for me. I actually wrote four versions of it longhand until I finally struck a chord where it was useful information delivered in the more familial voice that my audience has become accustomed to. And it did become a New York Times bestseller and helped more people than I can count. People said to me that they made Cancer Schmancer of their mantra when they were going through their own bouts with cancer. And it was a fast read and an informative and empowering one that made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. So when you’re a celebrity and a cancer survivor who has a New York Times bestselling book, you’re invited to go speak publicly at many major events, and I did that.

And in my speaking and on my book tours, I realized that I was not unique. I was one of millions of Americans who are misdiagnosed and mistreated. And as an unfortunate consequence for many, though thank God not me, late-stage cancer diagnosis is the price they pay for a medical community that does not delve deep enough, that does not give the patient enough time, that does not look for causation. So I realized that the book was not the end, but just the beginning of what has become a life mission. And I said, “I’m going to start a movement, a nonprofit called the Cancer Schmancer Movement.” But we’re a three-prong organization. It’s, we’re advocates, activists, it’s prevention, it’s early detection, and it’s advocacy. The organization divided into what’s a 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) which means that we can go to Washington, we can lobby, we can make laws, and then also we can get donations for our programs that are tax-deductible dollars, so that’s the just subtle difference between the movement and the foundation.

But I always refer to us as the Cancer Schmancer Movement because we’re all about waking, shaking, and educating you to change the way you are. And let’s shift this paradigm from a sick care system to a truly healthcare system. And that’s one of the very sad, unfortunate, missed opportunities with this whole pandemic, that no one on the national broadcasts or in the high levels of government is really trying to use this as an opportunity to educate the public on how to not compromise your immune system by living an unhealthy life and buying unhealthy cleaning products, personal care items, and gardening products that are constantly eroding our immune system and making us more vulnerable to all kinds of disease.

But you see, because that would cut into someone’s profit margin and because big business really pulls the strings on many of our elected officials, it’s nearly impossible to break this cycle, this unhealthy paradigm. And it’s only organizations slide Cancer Schmancer Movement and the partners that we align with, who are mostly, frankly, environmental groups, because if you are in an unhealthy environment, you will eventually be unhealthy. And so there’s no wiggle room with how you live equals how you feel.

Jay Ruderman:

What’s the best way for people to get in touch with Cancer Schmancer? To go onto the website if they’re interested in getting involved?

Fran Drescher:

Yes, info@cancerschmancer.org. Everything gets looked at. Everything gets read. It’s an excellent way to reach us, and we’re always interested in anything that are fighting the good fight, because it’s really about grassroots movements and reaching people, and waking them up to realize that-

Fran Drescher:

… Breaking them up to realize that they wield a lot of power. And it can be very overwhelming when you think about how many things are wrong in this world. And I would say every single thing at its core is driven by greed. So that is a very deep rabbit hole. But who’s fueling that fire? Who’s fanning that flame? Mindless consumerism. Who’s supporting big business, who’s ruining so many things from our health and the health of our families to the planet, the water, the air, everything.

Listen, I’m not against making money, but making money at the expense of all things of true value is a [inaudible 00:37:02]. It’s completely maniacal. What kind of a fool ruins the microbiome in the soil, where the food comes from or the water below that because they’re using glyphosate that is water-soluble and pollutes everything all the way down to the very watershed in our urn or ruins the ocean. We have to stop using single use plastic and we have to do it now. Everybody can start altering their lives by reading labels. And if you don’t understand something on the ingredients list, don’t buy it because we should dial it back to a time when it’s whatever we eat or buy should have nothing more than what might’ve grown in your grandma’s garden period, end.

Jay Ruderman:

Fran, you’re very passionate and you’ve had a tremendous amount of success as an activist. You’ve talked in the past about the fact that you’ve identified or you have always identified with marginalized communities, how have these experiences shaped you as an actor and an activist? I mean, was this from a very young age? Did you always feel this way?

Fran Drescher:

I do think that I have a gift to articulate on behalf of those who are marginalized, to fight on the side of what’s correct and good. I have the tools to do it. That was a gift from God and I don’t want to waste them. By the same token, I feel like I got famous, I got cancer and I lived to talk about it. So I’m talking.

Jay Ruderman:

I want to talk about briefly your activism through Art. The Nanny is cherished by the LBGTQ community. There’s talk about the show being ahead of its time. How did you use the show to uplift that community?

Fran Drescher:

In the 90s I think that many of the humor was at the expense of people, we never did that on The Nanny. We celebrated people over and over and over again. We were always very accepting, or the characters were very accepting of the diversity within the human experience. That was unusual for that decade, quite frankly. But Peter and I always wanted to do… I like being self-deprecating. I don’t like humor that puts other people down. And so we never did that. It’s an easy potshot and we had to always corral our writers to not go there, and we really never did, even in the regard that I thought that the show was actually too white. And so we gave Grandma Yetta a boyfriend, and that boyfriend was Ray Charles.

Jay Ruderman:

I remember that.

Fran Drescher:

And he had a whole family that was Bryant Gumbel and Coolio and Whoopi Goldberg, and nobody was doing that either in the 90s. You had casts that were predominantly black, and then you had casts that were white, but you very rarely saw interracial relationships. I don’t think you ever did actually, except on our show. And he, even though it was an 8:00 show, much like Mr. Rogers, we in a very kind and unchallenging way, normalized what was really not being normalized in that decade.

Jay Ruderman:

There was an episode of The Nanny where Mr. Sheffield hires a PR person. Everyone thinks the two of them are going to get together, but it turns out that she’s gay. And this episode was truly ahead of its time. Do you remember the response that you got to that episode?

Fran Drescher:

Well, I remember the scene when she’s hugging me and she doesn’t let go and she’s stroking my hair. And I said, “I’m letting go, but you are not. Why?” I mean, look, we were very aware that very early on in the series, the gay bars were having Nanny viewing parties on the night that we aired and the bars were making big business just by putting that on their TVs. And everybody was enjoying watching the show together. And then in the Pride Parades and Wigstock and Halloween, the character of the Nanny was constantly being copied by drag queens. That made us extremely happy because Peter and I always know, I mean have always known that where the gays go, the rest follow in style, in attitude and enlightened thinking, I mean everything. And so when they embraced the show, we thought, oh my God, we’ve hit the bullseye.

Jay Ruderman:

Do you feel that you and Peter, when you wrote the shows, that there was a deeper message, even though it was comedy, there was a deeper message behind your shows, like when you-

Fran Drescher:

Definitely, definitely. Every single show that I do has what I call a global message. The global message of The Nanny that we pounded, not only to every episode, but in our writer’s room, was it doesn’t matter what you look like or what you sound like, it’s what’s in your heart that counts. Now, when Peter and I did Happily Divorced, the global message for that show was everybody has a right to live an authentic life. And that was exemplified episode after episode because we remained in love as Peter and I continue to be, even though he’s gay and I’m not.

Jay Ruderman:

It’s a great life lesson. And Fran, I just want to say this past June, you celebrated 21 years being cancer free. What are some of the most important lessons that you learned through that journey that you could leave with our audience?

Fran Drescher:

Certainly to honor your body. Never dishonor your body because it’s going to come back to buy you on the ass. So just honor your body. If you’re tired, lay down, if you’re stressed, meditate, or take a brisk walk or start looking in the moment to notice leaves on a tree or a bird or cloud floating through the sky. And that’ll take you out of your stress faster than anything because the most important thing is understand how to bolster your immune system and understand what compromises it.

Your immune system is the most perfect operation. It’s a system in your body designed to keep you healthy, to kill cancer cells, to attack viruses, to clean up bad bacteria, overload, all of it, but you have to help it. We live in very toxic times, so please go to cancerschmancer.org. Sign up, it’s free, you’ll get my emails, and they’re all informative and motivating, and it’s a very optimistic, empowering organization that’s going to open your eyes up to how you can live more healthfully for you, for your family, for your pets, for the very planet on which we live that feeds and supports all life.

Jay Ruderman:

Today’s episode was produced by Rebecca Chassen, with story editing by Yochai Maital and Mijon Zulu. To check out more episodes, to learn more about the show, you can visit our website Allaboutchangepodcast.com. If you like our show, spread the word, tell a friend or family member, or leave us a review on your favorite podcasting app. We would really appreciate it. All About Change is produced by the Ruderman Family Foundation. Special thanks to our production team at Pod people, Lindsey Ploussard, Grace Pina, Morgane Fouse, Bryan Rivers and Aimee Machado. That’s all for now. I’m Jay Ruderman and we’ll see you next time on All About Change.

You can still listen to all of our previous podcast episodes on our old ‘all inclusive’ website – CLICK HERE