By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 22, 2001 at 6:05 AM

There are an amazing number of married couples active in the Milwaukee Theater community. I decided to investigate this phenomena and sent some theater couples a brief questionnaire in hopes that the answers will inspire singles to consider making a radical change in their lives.

Obviously, we haven't offered any real advice here, but our overall message is: if you can keep your sense of humor about yourself and life, you can do anything.

In this installment, we talk with Jennifer Rupp Chudnow and Dick Chudnow.

Jennifer Rupp Chudnow has served as Business Manager for ComedySportz for the last 12 years. She is also a Co-Founder and Producer for Renaissance Theaterworks and is a veteran of stages in Milwaukee and Madison.

Dick Chudnow was co-owner of, and performer at, Kentucky Fried Theater in Madison and Los Angeles from 1968-'72. He founded ComedySportz in 1984 and remains co-owner and performer there. He has written and acted in a variety of films, including "Spy Hard" and "Kentucky Fried Movie."

OMC: Has your marriage enriched your art?

Jen: I think any kind of suffering enriches one's art.

Dick: I keep it in check. I don't want my art to get too rich for the masses.

OMC: Do you discuss your work with your spouse?

Jen: If you mean, does he listen to my whining? Yes. Patiently.

Dick: Did you say "cuss" my work?

OMC: Does your spouse offer you constructive criticism?

Jen: We can't be objective enough to offer criticism. I think he's absolutely the most hilarious person on the face of the earth and he thinks I'm amazing because I can remember all those lines.

Dick: It's an offer I cannot refuse.

OMC: As a casting director, what kind of roles would you suggest for your spouse?

Jen: Casting Dick Chudnow as Hamlet would make for a very new and interesting evening of entertainment. Or Willy Loman. He'd really take the curse off "Death of a Salesman," you know.

Dick: Pumpernickel, Kaiser or a nice Dutch twist.

OMC: What qualities do you admire most in your spouse?

Jen: The quality that I admire most is his sense of humor. Even when I return home and find that he has accidentally set the dining room table on fire, he can still make me laugh.

Dick: There are so many good qualities it would take a paragraph ... no a book ... no a 24 volume set. Happy Valentine's Day, honey.

OMC: Given the ephemeral nature of theater, how do you plan to keep your relationship together?

Jen: We've found that having a child takes the ephemeral nature out of theater and everything else. So, we don't have to worry about that anymore.

Dick: What's ephemeral mean? I forget so quickly.

OMC: Some show-business marriages seem to flounder when one spouse's career takes off while the other's languishes. Does this worry you?

Jen: When Dick was off in Hollywood making a movie, I felt a little neglected. But when he brought home his paycheck, I got over it.

Dick: I worry about everything.

OMC: What do you do to recharge your collective batteries?

Jen: We go out to dinner or we go to a movie. Or sometimes we just set the dining room table on fire.

Dick: Heroin.

OMC: Curtain time is magic but how do you handle the day-to-day grind that wears all of us down?

Jen: We play this marvelous little game. It's called, "Yes, Master." Our 12-year-old son comes home from school and pretends he's Czar Nicholas and we run around taking care of his every need like loyal subjects. It's fun. You should come over and try it.

Dick: We cover each other in various magic marker colors and run through the neighborhood with chickens on our heads screaming, "Who's a monkey?!!!"

Jen: Oh Yeah. I forgot about the magic marker thing.

OMC: What advice do you have for theater artists who want to have a career in show business?

Jen: Marry someone rich.

Dick: Buy my book: "How to Have a Career in Show Business."

OMC: What advice do you have for theater artists who want to have careers and a marriage in show business?

Jen: Get a divorce and marry someone rich. Actually, I think theater people should only be allowed to marry other theater people. It's way too cruel to subject a non-theater person to the underbelly of the theater world. Your spouse must sometimes watch you kiss other people in public. The only night you can take your spouse out is Monday night and all the restaurants are closed. Your spouse has to go to all those awful opening night parties where people ONLY talk about theater. It's just not right.

Dick: Are you crazy? It's not possible. No one could possibly do that.