The best part of fall is not leaves changing and throwing on your favorite wool sweater. Let's be honest -- we are still having Sunday Fundays at the beach way into December. For us, autumn is all about the end of summer reruns and the return of NBC Thursdays; it warms our heart like we hear fireplaces do up north.
But last September, one show was missing, and that was 30 Rock. We'd been missing it up until Thursday, when it returned better than ever. We chatted with one of the stars, Grizz Chapman, the day of the premiere.
Just in case you have never caught an episode (be ashamed of yourself for that), Grizz is one half of Tracy Morgan's character's hilarious entourage in the Emmy awarding winning show. He is big, always ready to have Tracy's back, once had sexual relations with Liz Lemon, and from what we learned from our interview, quite delightful.
New Times: I have to tell you that I am a huge fan of your show.
Grizz Chapman: Well, thank you. Thank you for watching.
Are you excited for 30 Rock to be back?
For sure. I couldn't wait. It's been a long awaited hiatus. We have been locked away for so long; it was time to let us out.
So, why did you guys come back midseason?
Well, Tina Fey was with child (Laughs.) She was pregnant, and we usually start shooting in August, but that is when she had her baby. We didn't even start shooting till October.
What can fans expect this season from 30 Rock?
It's quite the tangled web when it comes to Liz Lemon and her boyfriends. She will run into many boyfriends this year. Then there is Alec Baldwin, well, Jack and his situation with his baby and his wife. There will be Tracy and his usual crazy antics. And Tracy's wonderful entourage, of course.
It kind of seems like you have the best job in the world.
I love it. The best part is being around a bunch of people you can learn from. Coming from the security world and making the transition into acting, learning from the best, is just unbelievable. I get to learn from Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin , Tracy Morgan -- I mean, everyone on that show inspires me.
Having Tina Fey as your boss has to be pretty sick.
She brought the show and my character to life. She saw Grizz before Grizz was Grizz, you know what I mean?
How did the entourage come to life?
I actually brought the idea of Grizz to the show. Grizz and Dot Com had such a ring to it. At first, it was Tracy and the posse. Kevin (Dot Com) and I came to Tina and introduced the idea of just Grizz and Dot Com and it was catchy, so it worked. Were both pretty tall too, so our characters are true to life.
Did you guys know each other before? You seem like a real entourage.
I didn't know Kevin, but I have known Tracy for a long, long time. I met him about 12 years ago during my bouncing days. Let's just say he used to frequent my world.
*Fun Fact: According to Wikipedia, He met Tracy while bouncing at a strip club*
Favorite episode you have ever done?
My favorite episode has to be "Midnight Train to Georgia." We got to show a different side of what we do. It wasn't just acting. It was acting, singing, and dancing all in one. I got my two-step on. They literally came to us two hours before and were like, "Ok guys, here are the steps. Go!" If you watch the episode, you can see me counting the steps.
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Have you ever been starstruck on set?
I have a few. Oprah, for sure. Steve Martin. Oh, and definitely Steve Buscemi. I have always been a big fan of Buscemi's work and then to have the chance to be in scenes with him and have him direct a few episodes was amazing. I have watched him for so long, I mean, it was epic.
I know you had a kidney transplant in 2010. How are you feeling?
I am feeling much better. I am back to working and not having to be stuck to a dialysis machine anymore. That in itself is like a jail; you need to do what you need to day-to-day but having to be stuck to a machine for four hours a day is just tough.
So, how do you get to have the ultimate Tracy Jordan-like entourage?
1. You definitely need some shiny jewelry.
2. You need an assortment of good music.
3. You need at least one bro with a lot of money
4. The ultimate number of members for a great entourage is four. You need someone who's directly next to the artist. Then you need someone to deal with press. And then you need someone to run to Duane Reid if needed.
5. Stay single. Being in a good entourage makes dating hard... very hard.
6. If you can, live in New York. It really does never sleep.