Brad Garrett on 'How to Live With Your Parents': 'There Aren't Many Shows With Jewish People, Let Alone 7-foot Jews'
It's no secret that Brad Garrett likes to gamble. And at this point in his life -- with another new comedy, "How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life," featuring leading ladies Sarah Chalke and Elizabeth Perkins -- he should be hitting the tables a lot. It's true. This. Boy. Is on fire.
But then, what else is new? He was cracking us up as Robert Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Eddie Stark on "'Til Death," and way back in the '80s as a contestant on "Win, Lose or Draw." Garrett talked to Yahoo! TV about his game-show-induced struggle with Burt Reynolds hair envy (tissue alert), the new episode of "How to Live With Your Parents," and how to not screw up your kid. That's a tall order for anyone, even this guy.
You and Elizabeth Perkins have terrific chemistry. Did you meet with a lot of potential wives for this show?
You know, to be honest it was kind of the other way around. Elizabeth was set and they were looking for Max and I really had to go for it because they were thinking another way for my character. So, I got in touch with the people. And they were gracious, like, "Oh Brad, that's sweet; we love ya we just don't see ya as Max. Will you do a screen test with Elizabeth?" And I said, "Absolutely." That's how much I believed in the pilot. And I ended up doing a screen test, and there was an automatic chemistry. I had never met Elizabeth, and I was a huge fan, and even in the screen test, doing the dialogue, we ended up over talking each other, finishing each other's sentences, and acting like a couple who were married, who really dug each other. So I got lucky.
The social commentary about modern parenting is spot on. Did you have strong feelings about that going into this?
I really did. I love how it took the family dynamic and put it in more of a real, kooky context. There are people who are married, who have been married for a number of years, and have accepted where they're at and like their empty nest. These people aren't the greatest parents in the world, but they don't have any guilt for it, and they don't try to defend it. They're, like, "We'd love to help ya, how long do ya think you'll be here?" I love that aspect of it, especially now that more and more older children are moving back home, be it economic or whatever. So I thought that was really timely, and I loved how it wasn't a bickering, middle-aged couple that needed to be saved by their kids moving back. They say when you're raised by eccentric hippie parents, you become usually very strict conservative. I thought it was a great take that (series creator) Claudia Lonow had on this.
Watch a clip of Garrett and Perkins on the show:
Did you ever move home with your parents?
You know, I really didn't. I moved out very early, left the driveway doing about 90 miles per hour. I was on a mission. I had to get out of Dodge.
Was that before or after you won "Star Search"?
Exactly. I was on my own way before that, believe it or not. My parents were divorced. When I was 15, I moved in with my dad. And I moved out right after high school.
See Garrett on an episode of "Star Search" from 1984:
Were they supportive?