After years spent on such shows as “Friends” and “Related,” Marta Kauffman knows that idle hands are not conducive to her productivity. Her corner office on the Paramount lot, down the hall from the writers room for Howard J. Morris and her Netflix series “Grace and Frankie,” is filled with lots of fun stuff: snacks, drawers of Silly Putty and adult coloring books, comfy furniture, a bar, and even a broken exercise bike that she swears she’ll start using after her upcoming knee replacement surgery. “When you keep your hands busy doing something like this, I find it fuels your brain,” says Kauffman, who knitted 14 hats during her final two weeks on “Friends” — gifts she bestowed to those writers.
Home Away from Home
Plenty of people bring their work home with them, but Kauffman also did the opposite. The beach house that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s titular heroines use in her show is modeled after Kauffman’s own Malibu retreat, except the fictional one is 15-percent bigger. A blueprint of the set is framed and hangs over her office’s couch. “Whenever I go home, I wonder why my house feels so small,” she jokes.
That’s no Phall-acy
The sketch isn’t the only “Grace and Frankie” memento in the room. There’s also a clapboard from the third season premiere, which celebrates Kauffman’s first time in the director’s chair. But the piece de resistance? An anatomical-themed ceramic fountain by artist Robb Bold that audiences may recall appearing in that same episode. “If someone makes this, you’ve got to have it,” Kauffman says. “This is not something that should go into some storage center.”
Finch and Twitch
An enormous framed poster for the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” hangs behind Kauffman’s desk. Originally a bat mitzvah gift for her daughter, Kauffman laid claim to it after the girl moved out. “’To Kill a Mockingbird’ is probably my favorite book of all time,” she says. “And, as far as movies made from books, I think it’s one of the better versions of that — if not one of the best.” Below the poster is another prized possession: a signed headshot of “So You Think You Can Dance” star tWitch. During a major bout of depression, one of Kauffman’s writers brought him to her dance class for a birthday surprise.
Gnome, Gnome, Gnome
Plastic gnomes with their middle fingers extended periodically float around the production offices. All were gifts and Kauffman says that she feels “they express about two-thirds of every day. So I like to have them around.”
Barack the Vote
Kauffman, a vocal Democrat, is proud that she hosted a fundraiser for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign at her Hancock Park-area house. Photos of the two of them from that night are displayed on her office’s desk and wall. Kauffman is also needle-pointing a sign for her home’s bathroom that reads “POTUS peed here.”
It’s 5 p.m. Somewhere
Underneath the Obama pictures on the wall is a cocktail area that Kauffman says production uses “for what we call Scotch o’clock” (i.e. whenever the workday is done). Kauffman is a fan of Sheep Dip Whisky, but the bar also includes a brand called Writers Tears. “It tastes like the deepest, darkest parts of you [have been] poured over ice,” she deadpans.