Rita Rudner: “She’s going to have to support us, so she’d better start writing songs now.”

Courtesy Jonas Public Relations

Comedian and writer Rita Rudner is bracing for daughter Molly’s immersion into the terrible teenhood.

It’s a couple years off — Molly is only 11 — but Rudner already sees the signs.

“She thinks she’s 14. I just go day by day. Martin and I look at each other and say it’s part of life’s rich pageant,” she says.

Martin Bergman is her husband and partner in this parental journey and its joyous ups and downs.

We chatted with Rudner, a longtime Las Vegas regular, about parenthood, and particularly parenthood at 60, on the eve of her show at Centennial Hall today as part of the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation benefit concert.

Preparing for the teen years: “No one’s ready. No one is ever ready. You just go in and start slugging.”

Will it require drinking? “I didn’t say it wasn’t going to require drinking. We’re going to have a little wine cellar soon.”

Keeping up with their world: “Oh my gosh — I wake up every day and there’s something new I don’t understand. Now I’ve got to play Flappy Birds. I don’t know what’s going on. Trying to understand this generation is interesting.”

The biggest hurdle lies within: “I’m a pushy person. And I was a driven person. She’s not driven. She’s more of a surfer. She likes the surfboard. She likes the skateboard. She likes the trampoline. I like toe shoes. Everybody’s different, so we’re letting everybody be different.”

Nothing in life is easy, especially raising a teen: “It’s very hard. I’m a Type Triple A personality, as is my husband, but we were very loners. He sat in his room and he wrote, and I went to ballet class. And my daughter has loads of friends. She’s the party girl; everybody likes her. She’s never still. Even when she’s asleep. I come in her room in the morning and her sheets are on the floor. I don’t know what’s going on in there. She even jumps in her sleep. I got a jumper. But it’s fun, because I never know what is going to happen next.”

Following in Mom and Dad’s footsteps … sort of: “Molly plays the piano and the guitar and she writes original songs. She’s very good, and I’m delighted with that. So I’m stepping back. … I like creativity in any form. Martin writes; he’s written novels and screenplays. I write jokes and books. If she wants to write songs, I just think that’s fantastic, especially because we’re going to retire any minute. (Not really any minute), but eventually. She’s going to have to support us, so she’d better start writing songs now. … I’m going to take her out of school right now, get her in her room to start writing.”

Rudner’s No. 1 rule for raising a successful teen: “She doesn’t have time to do anything. She is either working, playing tennis, practicing piano or guitar, or reading. I make sure she has as little fun as possible.”

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.