Billy Gardell, best known for co-starring in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, brings an extensive stand up and television resumé to his standup show at Minglewood Hall next Saturday, July 2, for a special one-night only event. He’s in town filming for CMT’s Million Dollar Quartet and took a minute to chat with Memphis is Funny.
MIF: Thanks for talking to us! You’ve been in Memphis for a minute now, how do you find the city?
BG: I love it; the city is incredibly welcoming. You can throw a rock and hit a BBQ spot, and it been great to film in the authentic places where Rock ‘n’ Roll was born.
MIF: Can you tell us anything about Million Dollar Quartet? How is filming going? Are you excited for the show?
BG: I think its going got be a really great piece. We have a great director in Roland Joffé, it’s expertly written, we have a great cast that I like working with, and it’s going got look very authentic. It’s a really interesting look at some of those artists [Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis] at the beginning of their careers.
MIF: I really enjoyed Halftime (his 2011 Comedy Central Special), especially the story about your dad kicking all the kids out of the living room.
BG: Thanks, man. I’ve never been able to write anything funnier than the things my father says. My shows are always about life. I think that’s the funniest stuff and that’s how you always connect with your audience.
MIF: How do you balance working on standup or other projects with such a heavy TV schedule?
BG: To continue to be a good standup and to do it at a quality level you can’t ever stop. If I have a week off, I try to go to shows and even open mics. And it’s still the thing I love the most. It’s the thing that brought me to the dance and the thing I stick with.
MIF: Mike and Molly was able to thrive for six years(!) during a time when every think piece was arguing that multi-cam was dead or dying. Can you pinpoint anything about the show that made it work so well?
BG: I think it was the heart of the show. It was having a cast that never ever disrespected or took each other for granted. That and a great writers room. That show battled The Voice, Monday Night Football and Dancing with the Stars and still survived. I think there was a care on that show that really came through on the screen. Everybody on that cast loved each other.
MIF: We’re real excited to see your standup next week, what can people expect from the show?
BG: The reason my humor works well with Mike & Molly fans is because it’s a working class style of humor. I come from a working class kind of town. My humor is about not taking yourself too seriously, and about being a father and a husband and not being a hypocrite about it.
Billy Gardell will be at Minglewood Hall next Saturday, July 2 at 8pm. Tickets are available here.
Gardell has appeared in movies (Bad Santa, You, Me, and Dupree), television dramas (Heist, The Practice, Bones, Desperate Housewives) and of course comedies (Yes, Dear, My Name is Earl, Monk, The King of Queens) and that list doesn’t even include Mike & Molly. Gardell has two standup albums, Throwback (2006) and Halftime (2011), the latter of which was aired as a special on Comedy Central.