Kelsey Grammer on What Sitcoms Should Be

Will Lerner

You could make the case that Kelsey Grammer is the most successful sitcom actor of all time. He played Dr. Frasier Crane for 20 years on Cheers, Frasier, and Wings, and the role earned him eight Golden Globe nominations, with two wins, and 13 Emmy nominations, four of them wins. And that’s not even covering his memorable appearances on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob and on 30 Rock as … Kelsey Grammer.

When Yahoo Superfan had the chance to sit down with Grammer to discuss his 2016 animated film, Storks, we thought we’d ask him how he feels about the state of sitcoms today. He told us he feels that blue humor shouldn’t be used on sitcoms. “This sort of improvisatorial, sort of a little bit R-rating kind of stuff is not suitable for a sitcom,” Grammer said. “If you try to do that, it’s not going to work. Sitcom, honestly, is a little bit more like an animated movie, that platform, at least, where it’s a G. And I really like that.”

He said that Frasier, a show he also executive produced, was deft in its handling of adult themes. “For instance, we never said the word erection in all of Frasier, except by default,” Grammer noted. “But we never actually named a man’s member. It was only implied. Those are the things that make it artful and fun.”

Saying that a sitcom’s strengths rely on a team of writers and actors who can sell jokes, Grammer also said that physical humor, something Frasier used surprisingly often, given its intellectual characters, should be used carefully. “I think sitcom has to be elevated comedy on some level,” he said. “You can go to slapstick, you can, which is sort of the lowest form of comedic expression, but you have to earn that.”

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