What, aside from the chance to work with your MY NAME IS EARL creator Greg Garcia attracted you to tonight’s guest spot on RAISING HOPE?
Jason Lee: Well certainly MEMPHIS BEAT has been a little bit more dramatic, so it was nice to kind of go from that, put a wig on and some make-up and just act kind of a mess. But really, It was just amazing to kind of just be done with MEMPHIS BEAT for a bit and reunite with [creator] Greg Garcia and a lot of the writers and crew members and just go and have fun and improvise and just kind of goof off. It was like kind of going back to camp and getting to play and have fun for a few days. That, and I get to make a complete ass of myself, and am actually quite proudly heavily disguised behind some pretty awesome makeup and hair. You could say its Jeff Bebe, my character from Almost Famous, in a very bizarre comedy world as seen through the eyes of somebody on acid, you might say.
What was it like working with one of the funniest ensembles on television?
They are all extremely talented. The thing that I can say the most is just how strange it was to go to a set that felt like I was on the set of EARL because so many of the crew members were the same, Greg Garcia was there everything, but it wasn’t my show. It was very strange. I’m looking around and I’m looking at the actors and it was their own well-oiled machine. It was sort of their own and to have a show that felt very much like EARL in that everybody got along. It was just good solid people, really talented actors. Everybody was very light hearted and genuinely just having a great time on set. It made me miss EARL a lot, and just really talented people and Lucas Neff, the main kid, it’s his first gig and he was very humbled by it. I just got a really good vibe. Greg surrounds himself with really good people, and I think, no pun intended, but I think RAISING HOPE has a lot of good karma.
On tonight’s episode, you play Burt’s musical idol Smokey Floyd, how would you describe the character?
He’s just one of those guys … but thinks he’s really something special. As a result you kind of feel for him more than you hate him, but he’s certainly very obnoxious and annoying and completely full of himself. But I tend to like to play characters that have some like-ability even if they are just jerks. It allowed me to be really silly with him and just the way I carried myself and the wardrobe and the hair. I mean it was sort of like doing an SNL skit, but with any kind of acting you try to ground it in some degree of humanity. I like that the episode is very redeeming with this jerk who comes along and kind of screws things up. I like that like with all of Greg Garcia’s work it’s very redeeming.
Earlier you talked about the good vibe you felt from going on the set RAISING HOPE. Do you see yourself giving another half-hour comedy a go in the future?
It certainly made me miss what I had on EARL, which was a very hectic schedule. It was a lot of work. Being away from it you miss things when you don’t have them anymore certainly. I’m coming back and seeing all these people, Greg Garcia, and seeing all this EARL memorabilia in his office and this new world that he’s created but it feels very much like EARL its got the same kind of heart to it and it certainly made me miss it in a big, big way. I said to Greg “If you do this again, I want back in.” I would do it again yes.
Were you a fan of the show prior to filming the guest spot?
Yes I’ve seen every episode, and I really, really like it a lot. I like that all of Greg’s characters so far have a real accessibility, an identifiably, and you just liked them at the end of the day, good people … up and trying to do good things. I love seeing that. I love that there’s a redeeming quality to it and it allows, just like with EARL, Greg to kind of get a little silly and a little wacky and a little out there and a little obnoxious. He always brings it back around with redemption, and ultimately good people trying to do good things. I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think that’s a big part of why the audience responds the way they do to it.
RAISING HOPE airs Tuesday nights at 9PM on FOX.