Looking for a bit of a laugh tonight? Disappointed that SUBURGATORY just wrapped up their second season and tonight’s episode of THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY are repeats? Well, turn that frown upside… because ABC is still serving funny tonight with the mid-season single-camera comedy HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE). Starring SCRUBS’ Sarah Chalke as Polly, a single mom that — as the show’s somewhat lengthy title suggests — has to live with her parents following her recent divorce played by the hilarious Elizabeth Perkins (WEEDS) and Brad Garrett (EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND). theTVaddict.com recently caught up with one such parent, Brad Garrett, to discuss his latest project, reflect on his most popular one and reveal his glitzy extracurricular hobby. See for yourself after the jump.
As a late come to the laugh out loud genius that was EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND I’m always curious as to what goes into choosing roles after such a remarkable experience?
Brad Garrett: When get on a show like RAYMOND, you’re grateful, you know it’s lightening in a bottle, and because of that success you can be more picky. People often say to me, “Well, gosh, it must be tough being typecast!?” But you know what, it’s our job to recreate ourselves as actors. Being typecast means you were on something successful that America got behind, related to and you know it’s a very high class problem as I call it. And as an actor, you just get to a point where you say “I’m a hired gun.” What I was attracted to about this new show is that my character Max is very different from Robert. He’s very happy in his own skin, he’s courageous, outspoken holds onto his dreams and believes he can be an actor even though he’s not a very good one. That’s what really attracted me to the part, being able to play something very different then audiences have expected from me.
Was part of that appeal working with costars Elizabeth Perkins and Sarah Chalke?
Absolutely! When you sign onto a pilot that could potentially last six or seven years, you don’t know how it’s going to develop and come together, you don’t know anything. So knowing that I was going to be working with Elizabeth Perkins and Sarah Chalke was almost all of it. They were set before I got the job. I was a huge fan of both of theirs and to be candid, I went after the role. It wasn’t like they came after me and asked me to do this. I screen tested for the pilot, opposite Elizabeth — who I had never worked with but I loved — and it just flowed. We were finishing eachother’s sentences, interrupting the way married couples do. She’s so generous to other actors, she made me feel so comfortable and there was just a chemistry which is undeniable. That’s nothing you can write or plan, it was just there and I got lucky.
What did you inject into Max from your own life that wasn’t there when you first read for the role?
Well I felt that he had to have this real reckless abandon even though he was middle aged. Max had to believe he could really become this actor that he dreamed of being. And what’s really funny is that most comedy club owners are either frustrated comics or performers. So when I learned he was a guy who owned a comedy club, I wanted to make sure he was still this guy who held onto this crazy dream. I needed him to have this vulnerability, but unlike Robert [EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND] whose insecurities came out of being the lesser loved son, his vulnerability came out of his childhood belief that anything is still possible.
Between Max or Robert, which character is closer to the real Brad Garrett?
Definitely Max. It took a lot of years but I’m pretty comfortable where I am with my life. I wasn’t able to do a twenty-five year marriage successfully [Editor’s Note: Taking a bit from his comedy act, Garrett had this to say about marriage, “The only way you look at a couple that has made it 20 or 40 years or what have you is that they both have to give up simultaneously! They have to both sit down and say, they’re not going anywhere! “Who else would live with us, let’s go get a yogurt!”] But I do own my own comedy club which is ironic, because that was in the pilot way before I came on board.
Full disclosure: We had absolutely no idea you actually owned a comedy club! How did that come about?
I’m speaking to you from there right now in Vegas, I have my own comedy club at the MGM Grand, Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club and we just celebrated our one year anniversary. It was a dream of mine to build a really great comedy club that would cater to the comedians so they would give the best show of their lives. I know it sounds kind of trite, but after so many years as a stand up playing so many dives at the beginning I always said to myself, “Gosh, if I ever make it, I’m going to build a club where comics can’t wait to perform there.” And that’s what I did! I’m on the strip at the MGM Grand and we go seven nights a week. I work here one week a month and all the other days we have comics come in from all over the country and give a good show. I wanted to have a venue where up and comers that weren’t huge names got their shot. Dangerfield, Cosby, these guys helped me when I first started out and very few people are doing that anymore and i just felt like I owed it. When I see people kill on Letterman or Comedy Central I reach out to them, they come to Vegas, get an amazing review and start to get a tour. That’s what we’re trying to do. And it’s a really cool club that kind of dates back to the old type of Vegas showroom. Big booths, low ceilings, red curtain and an old bar with that vintage feel. I wanted to build something that harkened back to the older better days of Vegas. We’re in the basement of the hotel, an underground little thing and it’s great. We’re probably telling jokes surrounded by all the people that Sinatra had whacked!
HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE) airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM on ABC (City in Canada). More info on Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club can be found at bradgarrettcomedy.com