You just canít
overlook Brad Garrett. The 6í 8ĹĒ comic with the deep booming voice and
the hangdog face may cut a striking figure, but he has been making us
laugh for twenty years now.
Though he is best
known as Ray Romanoís dour sibling-rivalry-obsessed brother Robert
Barone in the long-lived sitcom Everyone Loves Raymond, Garrettís
mug has graced many other distinctive roles before and since.
He started as a
respected stand-up, which led to a series of appearances on The
Tonight Show. He had his share of sit-com experience even before
Raymond, playing a legendary guest role on Seinfeld (as
Jerryís over-protective auto mechanic) as well as appearing on series such as
Mad About You, Monk, Roseanne and The Fresh Prince of Bel
Air. Garrett has done supporting roles in films like Music &
Lyrics, Sweet & Lowdown and Suicide Kings. He has also done
voiceover work in the popular films Ratatouille, A Night at the
Museum, Underdog and Finding Nemo.
followed up his popular Raymond role with the FOX sitcom Ďtil
Death, which is entering its third season. Garrett and Joely Fisher
(Ellen) play a long-married Philadelphia-area school principal
and his wife who try to keep the love strong even after the novelty is
past. The third season of the series has a
bunch of changes ahead Ė
the younger married neighbors of the first two seasons (Eddie Kaye
Thomas and Kat Foster) have left the scene, while breakout recurring
guest star J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm) has become a
As the third
season of Ďtil Death is reaching TV screens, Garrett also is
taking on a brand-new world with his internet-only comic reality series
Dating Brad Garrett. The series is just what the title makes it
seem Ė the recently-divorced celebrity dipping his toes back into the
dating scene with camera crew in tow. The series will air on
Recently Garrett sat down with us and some other websites in a conference
call to discuss his experiences on 'til
Death and Dating Brad Garrett.
You have both these
projects going, and they both have to do with relationships and
marriage, and you looking for a new relationship. In regards to
Ďtil Death, do you think Eddie
and Joy will always be together? Is there going to be any exploring of
them maybe splitting up and doing a little single life with both of
I donít really know if thatís what we want to do on the show. Iím sure
weíre going to address how a marriage can evolve or doesnít evolve, and
I think we may have a bump or two along the way. I donít know if weíre
really going to get to where weíre exploring single life, per se,
but you never knowÖ They do have a lot of interesting stories coming up,
and I think maybe one of us may, but I donít know if it would be where
weíre both out and about. I think we have more of a kind of
relationship with that. Weíre very vocal about it, weíre very
expressive, and even though we seem to be yapping and nipping at each
otherís heels a lot, we do express it and get it out. Itís the couples
that donít do that, that really have the biggest risk of looking outside
As far as the dating
show, can you just talk about how that came about and howÖ
Yes. We have one spot available. Actually, itís important for people
to understand that this isnít Brad Garrett looking for love; this is
Brad Garrett really making a window around what itís like when a guy
going through a semi-midlife crisis is out there in the playing field of
the single world, thatís really what this is. These are real
participants. It has been a very humbling process. The Website has
been up and running for a couple months and out of all the women in the
country who felt they might possibly want to go out with me, only 27
women uploaded their video. One was a guy, and one was a bear. This is
very true; you can go to the Website and see it. It has not only been
humbling, but it kind of gives you an idea of what hurdles I have in
real life dating. What it really is Ė itís just me going out with
various women, with various ideas and attitudes and wishes and dreams,
like all single people have and how I either berate them or try to get
to know them or vice versa. Itís really just the anti-Bachelor,
is really what it is, itís the realistic take of a bachelor.
I saw you on
yesterday. I know itís a little off topic, but sometimes people, when
youíre on talk shows, because youíre always on the edge, youíre always
going on the edge, they look a little scared sometimes. How do you
decide how far youíre going to go when youíre on something like that?
A lot of that boils down to the medication. What it really is, I also
did Howard Stern yesterday, and I can pretty much do whatever I want.
When Iím surrounded by four ladies like I am on The View, I try
to be a little bit more tempered. People really know that when I come
on, it could get a little edgy, and folks have to understand, itís
really part of my personality. Itís a huge part of my stand-up; itís
really just what I do. I try to curtail it, sometimes it gets a little
out there, but most of the time I try to Ė I donít have a filter, thatís
one of my problems, so I just have to try to put things through the
little pea brain before they come out. Whoopi is very familiar with how
I work, as is Joy, and I think all in all, there wasnít much collateral
I wanted to ask you
about the new season of Ďtil
Death. I love you and Joely together. Is there anything we should
know? I hear your neighbors are not going to be around.
The neighbors have moved on to different projects, to be honest, and
sometimes when you start a television show, you really donít know what
itís about until you get into it. We have discovered the strength of
the show really seems to be the chemistry that Joely and I, fortunately,
have been able to captivate over the last couple of years. Joely
and I had never worked together; we didnít really know each other. When
she came in to read for the part, it was really, really instant, and
weíre just trying to focus on that marriage, and then have characters
that kind of come in and out of our lives, like J.B. Smoove, who has
been a wonderful addition who is back for a full season this year as
well. Our daughter has just been cast as Lauren Storm who is terrific;
Tim Sharp is coming back as her boyfriend. Weíre doing a lot of
exploring, but at the end of last season, as the end of year two, I
think we really started to kind of get our momentum and weíre really
trying to see what the showís about.
What was the genesis
of the web series? Did you ever picture yourself doing such a thing,
even only a few years ago?
I have a really great relationship with Sony. Theyíre obviously the
peopleÖ the studio who is behind Ďtil DeathÖ and their comedy
creative team is just a very inventive people who seem to kind of be in
the wheelhouse, as I am, as far as what is funny and whatís off the
wall. It actually started one day, I had a meeting regarding Ďtil
Death and I went in there, and the night before, I had a disastrous
date, and I started talking about it to a couple of executives over
there. We just started laughing and talking about what itís really like
to be a semi-celebrity, if you will, living in a single world with
30-something to 40-something year old women. It was really just a very
odd date and we started laughing about it. I said, you know, because
Iím not big on reality shows because most of them arenít realistic. My
thing was I would like to just take a camera, go out on a date, go to a
restaurant, have totally every single date was non-scripted, and just
show what itís like, as much as we can. To be on a date on this day and
time, with a sense of reality of what it really is. A lot of itís
really my humor, my cynicism, my take on marriage, and we throw these
poor innocent women in the middle of it. Some of them are really funny
and some of them couldnít get out of there fast enough, and a couple
followed me home and not in a good way, kind of in a stalker way.
Nothing happened with
the bear, Iím guessing.
Nothing happened with the bear, no. He was intimidated by my size,
I think J.B. Smoove
has been a really great addition to the show. How did it work out that
you were lucky enough to get him? What do you think of him as an actor,
as a comic, and as a person?
Lucky is the word. We all fell in love with him on Curb [Your
Enthusiasm], and we thought he would be a great foil for my
character, Eddie. When we saw him, we just thought, boy, how could we
incorporate him in the show? It was a bit of a real tactical move to
really land him here, and Sony aggressively went after him and we were
very excited about it. Then, one of our head writers came up with idea
of the Big Brother, this guy was caught in the Big Brother program and
never got his brother, we thought, what a funny way to get into it. The
minute J.B. showed up, he hit it out of the park from the get go, and
heís been doing it ever since. He has an amazing likeability about him
and he still has that edge, which is the kind of edge thatís such a
great counterpoint to these white folks growing up in Philly. He was
just a great friend for Eddie because heís a schemer and a dreamer like
Eddie Stark, so it was just a great fit. We got very lucky. As far as
offstage, heís just a terrific guy; heís a stand-up like me and like a
lot of the writers on the show, so we can very easily get to the funny.
I was just wondering
youíve been on two successful scripted shows in your career. How did
you find the leap to the unscripted reality, and was it easier or harder
than you were thinking it was going to be? How did that go for you?
Well, my stand-up act Ė Iíve been doing stand-up for literally 30 years,
and the majority of my stand-up in unscripted. I come from the world of
Improv; I love any show or any vehicle that gives me an opportunity to
be in the moment. A lot of times when weíre rehearsing on this show, we
just sometimes go on a tangent on Ďtil Death and try little
things and experiment. Itís kind of like what Iíve said before, the
majority of reality shows are not reality, even though they call them
non-scripted, there is an A, B, and C plot, and away they go. These are
totally a poor, helpless date and me in a room together. To me, the
unscripted part of it was what really made it exciting, and made it
experimental and hopefully gave it a feeling of reality. I welcome
Speaking quickly of
reality, what are you looking for, ideally, in a woman if youíre not
going to find it an online show?
Someone who wonít run to the authorities, someone who understands that
Iím just a big kid who has trouble growing up. Itís a sweat, Iím not
going to lie to you, Iím a strong cup of coffee, at least thatís what
the shrink keeps telling me. Iím open, we have one slot left, I donít
know what youíre looking for, but if you donít have much pride and
dignity, I could be the guy for you. Oh, she hung up, thatís not a good
I was wondering if
you could share your most memorable moment youíve had from various
In real life?
No, from the show.
From the show, I have to tell you, gosh, I know this sounds like a
debacle, it was kind of like a dream date for me. What happened is
there was one lady; actually, she was the last date we filmed.
Ironically, she was picked by my Mother, on the panel, to be a good date
for me, and she was a very attractive gal. A little Hollywood as far as
her various parts, I felt, had a lot of work done. Do you know what Iím
saying, which is totally fine. I, personally, believe in evolution and
I welcome it, hence the way I look. We started talking about why women
feel that augmentation is so important, and how I felt it was very sexy
and attractive for a woman to really be who she is. I found that
acceptance of someone to not change their body was kind of cool and the
whole thing and we started talking about her attributes, if you will.
It kind of got a little defensive in one way and she ended up exposing
her blouse clowns. That was kind of off the wall, even for a guy like
me, I was quite taken aback, and weíre engaged. No, Iím kidding, weíre
not engaged, thereís a paternity suit and a restraining order. That was
kind of off the wall, nobody expected that.
Thank you very much
for your answer and for being candid, too.
Iím sorry, I have to be candid. Most of them decided, boy, I really
donít want to be here, after they were there with me for a while, which
you canít blame them, look at my life.
Did any of them get
to meet your children?
Oh, God no! Oh no, no; no one meets the kids unless I think itís a
woman that Iím going to spend some real time with. See, again, people
have to understand, this is more of a comedy take on me being single
than it was looking for the love of my life. I mean, Iím not that
naive, just like The Bachelor, the mannequin who stands in the
castle with the rose in his hand, these are glorified dates. What I did
was take the glory out of it, and just made them real dates. I didnít
expect to find the love of my life; again, I just wanted to show people
how scary dating can be.
I thought the panel
on the online show was very interesting. I was wondering if you could
tell us a little bit about how you decided, or who decided, on the
experts that would appear with you.
Well, those are my decisions; I figured theyíre the people in my life
who Iím closest with. My ex-wife Jill, and my Mom, who has strange
taste in people, my urologist, because he knows me maybe too intimately
Ė probably better than my ex-wife, if you know what Iím saying. And, my
exterminator, who Iíve literally known for fifteen years. Iím a bit of
a recluse; Iím a bit of a hermit. I knew if I had friends do it, there
would be some agenda or ulterior motive. I figured my exterminator who
really doesnít like me, to be honest with you, would kind of add a
different hue to the whole scenario. Itís interesting to watch Ė my
ex-wife, I think, really just picked someone who Ė she wanted to hurt
me, because this person had an Adamís apple, thatís all I can tell you.
It was a little strange.
Any chance of this
thing going on television at some point?
I donít believe so, no. I donít believe so. It was a lot to do this
simultaneously with Ďtil Death and it just become a lot of work
for everyone involved. I think it was fun, it was great, I enjoyed it,
but I think Iím going to focus right now on our show Wednesdayís at
Iím calling from
Philly, actually Ė your characterís hometown.
Yeah, thatís where my Dad was born, actually.
Would you ever
consider doing some shooting in Philadelphia? I know itís kind of
You know, we talked about it. We would love to. Itís a matter of the
dollar, but we always talked about doing some type of road or location
show there. I donít think itís an impossibility at all. I think all of
that depends on the almighty buck.
Most actors go their
entire career looking for a single long-running series, and now youíre
on your second. How gratifying is it to know that youíve been able to
play a part of two shows that lasted for so long?
I feel very, very grateful. Iím a lucky guy. You need a lot of luck.
Then when the cameras roll, you have to have this group of writers,
directors, and actors that just gel. It seems to literally be happening
more and more. Iím blessed to be surrounded by the people Iím
surrounded by, thereís so much strength and talent and that has a lot to
do with it. I feel very grateful, there are folks with a lot more
talent than I that are not on the air, so itís a crap shoot, but what
was exciting for me was to take on a role that was very different than
my Robert Barone role. This guyís a lot like me and itís fun to play
someone close to yourself, so Iím having a ball.
played a pretty legendary sitcom character as the mechanic on
Seinfeld. What was that like to be a part of that show?
Coming up in stand-up, Jerry was really one of my heroes. It was just
great to be part of it. It was their second-to-last season. I went in
and auditioned and read for Jerry, and thought, this would be great.
Itís just amazing the amount of people that remember that role. Iím a
bit of a car guy myself, so I am burdened with the personalities of
mechanics all the time, and I just kind of took one of a guy that I
knew. It was a lot of fun just to be involved with anything on
Seinfeld. [It] was really a treat.
Youíre doing dating,
Brad, obviously and you exposed yourself, pretty much, last Friday, with
to Cancer, with the prostate exam. How do you feel about, as a
person, doing the role, youíre really putting Brad Garrett out there.
As far as the prostate thing, I have to tell you, when Laura Ziskin
called, first of all, you take Lauraís call, thatís for sure. I knew
how passionate she was about this. Phil Rosenthal, who was the creator
of Raymond, wrote the bit and they both called me and said,
ďlook, there are very few people that can get away with this on a humor
level and there are probably very few people who would even do this.Ē
They said ďwe want to bring up awareness through humor; a prostate exam
is obviously something that is not the greatest four minutes of your
life.Ē They said ďis there a way we could gingerly do it, push the
envelope, and make some awareness?Ē The exciting thing about it is
when it aired there was a company that manufactures prostate drugs for
rehabilitation, and they wrote Laura a check for $10 million after the
spot. They said itís the first time anyone has taken this to a place
where itís accessible, where itís humorous, where itís real, and then
there was a message. At the end of the day, thatís what itís all
about. Unfortunately, cancer has touched my life. I lost my Father to
it last November. He had battled it on an off, various cancers, for
twenty years, and Iím involved with Childrenís Charities. Actually, I
have my own charity that I started that helps supplement families with
terminal children. Iím very, very passionate about the battle against
it, as millions of people are, and it showed that night with raising
over $100 million. Even though I am a guy, even with my crazy rhetoric
and whatever I do, at the end of the day, Iím pretty darn shy, so it was
not easy, I will tell you that. I had to just put myself out there. I
was hoping they would go down there and find my career.
To stay on the rectal
examination subject here for a moment, were you sure of the doctor?
Was he a real doctor?
Yes, it was a doctor I was able to see, meet and greet. I was going to
use my guy, but he wanted too much money, which isnít a joke. I think
only in Hollywood would that happen.
I can understand
that. How did you feel afterwards? I knowÖ
Well, weíve been dating ever since.
Maybe he could take
that empty slot on yourÖ
Very good. Look, thank goodness, Iím healthy and Iím okay, and I have
three friends that are getting an exam this week on a dare. They said
if you do that, Iíll do that. I joke about it, but I mean, my gosh,
Were you confident
that you would pass it?
Yes, actually I did because I had an intense physical literally ten days
prior to that, out of coincidence. This thing with the cancer benefit
happened very last minute because they were worried about the sensors,
they were worried about getting it past, they were worried about
everything and it ended up Ė the publicity it got alone just generated
so many eyes to it. Look, Iím not going to call it a shining moment in
my life, but hey, if a few people called in a pledge, you have to love
I was just curious,
in between seasons, is there anything you do to get to know Eddie a
little more, or by the end of the first season, do you know him inside
I have to tell you, it took me a couple seasons to really get to know
Eddie. How I played him early on, I wasnít in love with it, I felt he
had to be tempered a little bit, and I felt he had to be a little more
vulnerable and a little more open, so Iím always tweaking him. Itís
funny, heís closest to myself as anything Iíve ever played and if I
could just keep that into it and spice him with a little bit of
humanity. I feel that the last part of season two, the last part of
last year where I had that swimming episode where I learned to swim
because I wanted to do something great for Joy, take her to Hawaii where
she always wanted to go, thatís really where the guy lives. Heís really
just a big kid with crazy ideas and schemes to get to that next place in
his life where he thinks he belongs, where he can make a better life for
Joy. Thatís the wheelhouse where I want to keep Eddie, and I think itís
Ė Joely hit this role when she was playing Joy, she hit it out of the
gate, immediately. She knew who she was and I came from playing such a
very different part for nine years that it was important that this one
was as different as it could be from Robert, but still had the quality
of believability and who I was.
Okay, and from your
early days of stand-up and appearing on Carson, is there anything that
stayed with you that helps you on
Sitcoms are great for people with stand-up roots because youíre in front
of that live audience. I think the fear I had when I was on The
Tonight Show at 24, you get through a night like that, regardless of
how the set goes, and the set was okay, you get this feeling of, wow, I
could almost do anything. I walked out on Carson, I did this, and itís
all a matter of Ė to this day, I have anxiety, to this day, I get
worried or nervous, it never, ever leaves you, but you just get better
at it. Thatís what I learned. I look at what I did on Carson when I
was 24 and I thought, oh my God, I couldnít do those jokes if there was
a gun to my head today. The key is to always grow and always get
better, always risk and do things that scare you, like the prostate
thing. I know it sounds crazy, I was scared, nervous to death, but you
know, you get away from something like that, and itís literally about
conquering the fear, which makes you just a better performer, whether
youíre a painter, a singer, or an actor, really.
Why do you think
people keep tuning in to watch
I think because, hopefully, they see themselves in this relationship.
The majority of people that are married, or in a relationship, are
trying to make it work, the majority, Iím going to say 90% of people
that are involved with someone. It takes a certain amount of work, and
I think when viewers can see themselves in a relationship or different
colors that their relationship has, I think itís a feeling of comfort.
Itís a feeling of, yeah, this is okay, this is what Iím going through.
Oh my gosh, my husband just did what Eddie did, or my wife did
something that Joy did. Thatís why we keep Ė the mantra I learned from
the Raymond people, which Iíve tried to bring over here is can
this really happen, and if we keep the writing and the performances
within the realm of everyday reality with relationships then whether
something is funny or not, if itís real and believable, weíre halfway
home. Iím hoping people find themselves in these characters.
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