Billy Gardell is a funny fat guy from Pittsburgh, and the star of Mike and Molly, one of TV's most popular shows in which he plays a cop who meets his future wife at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
You might also know him from bit roles on King of Queens, Judging Amy, and My Name Is Earl. But before his TV success, Gardell was grinding across the stages of America as a touring standup comic.
And he still is. You can check him out live on April 27th at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. But don't expect to see the character "Mike" on stage. We talked to Gardell about sex, getting high, and using bad words.
New TImes: How do you film the sex scenes on Mike & Molly? Stunt doubles?
Billy Gardell: We don't have sex on TV. They never write it into the show. Nobody ever says, "Get Billy in here, and get his shirt off."
What's your favorite bad word?
Shit. It just seems to express everything you need. And there's so many ways you can use it, like:
The bad one: "Aah shit, I'm in trouble."
To express wonder: "No shit?
When somebody lies: "Shiiiiiiit"
During sports: "Oooooh shiiit"
When someone lies to you: "Don't give me that shit."
What about fuck?
Fuck is overrated. It's been used to death.
What about in Spanish?
Culo, mierda, that works. I know puta madre, you don't wanna say those to anyone. I learned 'em in Florida.
Why did you stop smoking weed?
It's just...you gotta leave the house.
What's your set about?
I come from a workin' class neighborhood, not takin' life too seriously.
Is it true everybody from Pittsburgh has stolen at least one car by the time they're 18?
I might've took a joyride, unauthorized.
What is some Pittsburgh slang?
They run words together. Like, "Did you eat yet?" is pronounced
"Djeetyet?" And, "No, did you?" becomes "Nah. Djoo?" It's a planet into
When was the first time you performed Miami?
I think it was Coconuts, in Coconut Grove, way back in probably 1989. I was about 19 years old.
You started young with the standup right?
I started at 17, and I was out on the road at 19.
How was Miami looking to you then?
A lot of people prettier than me down there. It was hoppin'. You couldn't even walk down the street. It was hot. Everyone had a tan, and then there was me.
What's your best memory from here?
Cuban sandwiches, and that coffee -- you got that coffee that could run a car. I just love it down there. I enjoy the heat. The older you get, the hotter you want it.
How did you get started?
I was workin' in a warehouse in Pittsburgh, loading trucks. I was joking around with the guys and they bet me I wouldn't do a local open mic. I snuck in, got on the list, loved it, and never looked back.
What was the first live comedy show you saw?
My first experience was with comedy records, Richard Pryor and George Carlin. I'd sneak down and listen to em' in the basement.
What do you think about Trayvon Martin case?
It's tragic, y'know? I don't know all the facts, but the cops told that
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guy to quit following that kid. I think that's the case. It's extremely