VIDEO - Comedian Billy Gardell will headline on Feb. 16.
Actor Billy Gardell has enjoyed success in movies and TV, most recently as a guest on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” spinoff “Young Sheldon.”
But don’t get it twisted. Gardell isn’t a one-trick pony. His roots are stepped in stand-up comedy, where he kills on stage — delivering jokes in cleverly poignant, unapologetic fashion.
Gardell, 48, will show of his stand-up skills at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino on Feb. 16. The performance will mark his Dover debut.
The comedian is best known for starring on the romantic comedy “Mike & Molly,” which ended in 2016 after six seasons.
What attracted you to your role on “Young Sheldon?”
My friend Chuck Lorre did “Mike & Molly.” Of course, he’s like the Norman Lear of this generation. I got a text from him about three months ago. We keep in touch all the time, and he texted me: “Do you want to play a semi-creepy redneck?” I said, “Yeah, man!” So it was just a joy to go back and work with him again. The cast of “Young Sheldon” is just lovely and very talented. It was fun to be apart of that and they invited me back in February.
Lately, what themes have you tackled in your stand-up?
What I’ve been talking about is usually what’s going on in my life. Right now my 14-year-old son is now at that age where he wants some independence. So he’s going to his friend’s house on the weekends, which means he’s left me and my wife at home alone, just circling each other like two gun fighters in “Westworld.”
What’s one of your most memorable moments from “Mike & Molly?”
The night we shot the pilot. We all kind of looked at each other and felt like we’d been working together for five years. I think everybody thought that night, “Wow, we might be on to something special right here.” It turns out we were.
How does the cast of “Young Sheldon” compare to the one from “Mike & Molly?”
Not to hurt anybody’s feelings, but the cast of “Mike & Molly” is family. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything that will be that special again. We all kind of hit [it big] together, which was a beautiful thing to be apart of. Of course, Melissa [McCarthy] not only hit, but she ended up in the stratosphere. I think she stayed safe and grounded, which was impressive to watch.
I still talk to talk to that group of people all the time, especially the woman who played my mother, Rondi [Reed], my father-in-law, Lou [Mustillo], and my brother from another mother, Reno [Wilson]. Me and Reno were actually friends for 10 years before that show started. We got on a show 10 years together that got canceled after six episodes.
What’s on your bucketlist of roles to play?
You know, man, I’ve always enjoyed character acting because I think one of the things you have to be realistic with yourself about Hollywood is: what parts are you capable of playing? For example, ain’t nobody calling me for a love scene. And ain’t nobody calling for me to jump out of a plane with a machine gun. But with that being said, I’ve always loved the character actors like Jack Lemmon, Ed Asner, John Candy, and Jackie Gleason was a role model.
I’d love to get some character-acting pieces in some quality films. But I’m also at the point in my life where I’m about to set up retirement. So if they need an apple for the Fruit of the Loom commercials, I’m going to do that, too.
How did you get into stand-up?
I knew I wanted to be a comic when I was 9 years old. My grandmother told me I could and I didn’t think anyone’s opinion was more important that hers, so I didn’t ask anybody else. When I was about 17 I was working in a warehouse and I was talking about doing an open-mic night; and the guys on the line got tired of hearing me talk and bet me I wouldn’t do it. I was 17 with a big mouth and I said, “I’ll take that bet.” I had to go do it or my little paycheck wouldn’t have covered the bet.
What’s on the horizon for 2018?
I’m working on a new hour of comedy. I’m either going to do that at Netflix or Showtime. But I have a movie part and it won’t be for sure until the end of March. I don’t want to say anything to jinx it, but I’d get to work with an idol of mine and I’m very excited about that.