Thus far, the ruse has been successful. He's regularly made the two-hour trip to San Diego since he first arrived in Los Angeles, a stand-up comic from Forest Hills, New York. It was in 1995, after a performance on Late Show with David Letterman, that the acerbic host commissioned his Worldwide Pants production company to de­velop a TV series based on Ray's comedy. Fame and Emmys soon followed. Romano made his feature film debut as the voice of a woolly mammoth in the animated film Ice Age, but this month stars in the flesh in Welcome To Mooseport, as a handyman who suddenly finds himself in a race for mayor against a former U.S. president, played by Gene Hackman.

Of course, when the cameras aren't rolling, Ray would rather be here, playing golf while his wife hits the spas and shops of sunny San Diego.
Tell us about the golf courses in San Diego.
"I play in The Celebrity Classic every May. It's a celebrity players' tour event, and you play with all these other celebrities, most of them sports celebrities. So I go there once a year and stay at the Morgan Run Resort & Club, which has a 27-hole course and a spa. I also play Torrey Pines, which is outside of San Diego in La Jolla. It's one of the greatest public courses anywhere. You've got the holes on the ocean, and they play one of the Buick Opens there. I actually got to play with Tiger Woods there the day before the tournament started. You can get on Torrey Pines for $40. In this day and age, it's like $200 to get on one of these high-end courses, or it's private and you can't get on. So it's pretty neat that there are still these great public courses around. Torrey Pines reminds you a little of being at Pebble Beach, and they have a great restaurant at The Lodge at Torrey Pines called A.R. Valentien. You can sit outside, look at the ocean, and eat some great food. I just played in a tournament and stayed at a resort called Rancho Valencia in Rancho Santa Fe. The resort is right next to three golf courses - the Farms in Rancho Santa Fe, The Meadows in Del Mar, and Aviara in Carlsbad - which you can play if you're a guest of the hotel. They also have one of the best tennis programs in the U.S."