Yes, Everybody Loves Raymond was a popular show. Yes, Brad Garrett was a pivotal part of that show. And yes, to Raymond fans it's sad it's not on the air any more. But take heart. Brad Garrett is returning to series television alongside Joley Fisher in the new sitcom 'Til Death. The series pits one middle-aged couple (Garrett and Fisher) against newlyweds (Eddie Kaye Thomas of American Pie fame, and Kat Foster) in a cute and funny show that will have audiences laughing week after week.
Garrett says he is more similar to this character than any other he's played. Audiences will notice the big guy is not quite as big as they remember him to be. He had to drop more than a few pounds for a film he recently completed. "It's a movie with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore called Music and Lyrics. I play Hugh's manager." The film opens Valentine's Day. The six foot eight -and - a - half inch tall actor jokes, "I tend to lose weight when I'm hired, because I'm too nervous to eat."
Returning to a sitcom wasn't on Brad's radar and he says, "I wasn't looking to run back into something. The pilot wasn't written for me. I read the pilot and I just loved the writing." He continues, "I knew that if I wanted to go back into television, I would want to do a character that was very far removed from Robert on Raymond, which I felt this character was."
Audiences might make the mistake of comparing 'Til Death with the old The Honeymooners series, and Garrett with Gleason, but that's as far as the similarities go, although Garrett thinks there is a little more to the comparison than that. "I'm a large, bombastic type of windbag," he says with a chuckle. "... what I think is comparative to The Honeymooners is [my character is] a flawed guy who loves his wife and doesn't really know how to show it, [and he] is really a big kid who won't grow up." Garrett played Jackie Gleason in the 2002 TV movie. "I'm not looking to do a Gleason impression." His new character will stand on his own.
The new sitcom focuses on the two different marriages, both of which will change as the season progresses. "I don't think you really want to watch a marriage that works on television. I don't know how funny that would be. I think there are different degrees of dysfunctional marriage. A marriage is a blending of neuroses," he comments with a straight face.
In the old Raymond show, Brad Garrett was a secondary character, but in this one he is the main man. "I'm looking forward to having a lot more creative input, if you will, than I did on Raymond. It's an exciting opportunity." The old series ran for nine years and as Garrett confesses, "It's tough to come off a show like Raymond and really into anything, but you go with your gut, you go with what you think feels right, and it's exciting that I have this type of an opportunity to do it."
Besides making movies and working on television series', Garrett is a stand-up comedian, and takes his act on the road quite often. "I work at the Mirage in Las Vegas all the time. I do a lot of theaters around the country. Ray [Romano] and I, believe it or not, just finished a 10-city tour." He says stand-up is his roots and feels comfortable performing on stage. "I've been doing that my whole life. And the last year and a half, I've kind of been out and about in the country doing that." Garrett worked in Las Vegas many years ago, even opening for Sinatra himself. He observes about the city, "It's changed a lot...it doesn't have that headliner type of panache, that Rat Pack feel that it had. There are a lot more variety shows... I was fortunate to tour with Sinatra and Sammy Davis. When these guys would come to town, it was an event."
'Til Death airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
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