‘Mike & Molly’ Success = New Life for Billy Gardell

“Mike & Molly” star Billy Gardell shows off his standup chops with his own Comedy Central special Feb. 5, a show he tells us was 20 years in the making.  That’s 20 years as in acquiring skills, 20 years of being out on the road, 20 years of collecting tales of comedy calamities.

“I’ve been chased in my car a couple of times.  Police asked me to leave the county a couple of times.  I’ve done my act when nobody was there, and when people were there and didn’t listen,” he recalls.  “And then are the nights when you kill it.”

Gardell is still doing standup, but his gigs are far different with the  success of his CBS series.  “The same jokes are now $10 more,” he dead pans.   “It’s a beautiful thing when you do standup all those years, to have a monster show.  It puts you in front of a whole new audience.”

The personable funny man has been gratified, he says, to find fellow comics first to cheer him on.  “We live in a world where if you win a contest you can be a celebrity.  People are very supportive when they see a guy who has actually done the time out there making it.  I’ve really felt that support from the  standup community,” he tells us.

Most important, he now has a whole different kind of homelife — being able to remain in town with wife Patty, and their two-year-old son, Will.  “I think my wife is regretting it, but the kid’s happy,” he jokes.

“No, we’re doing great.  It’s nice, you know, to go to work and then be able to come home to my family.  The boy loves it.  We play army men and Legos, watch cartoons, go out to the car and check the oil — do things a dad and son should do.”

He’d love his TV alter ego to have such familial bliss — but not for at least a couple of years.  “I would like to see it work out for Mike and Molly eventually, for them to have a big wedding and a baby.  But first I want to see them struggle, because that’s where the real comedy is,” says Gardell.

The rotund comic, who last fall stood up to a magazine blogger who declared her aversion to watching fat people in love on TV, believes that “Mike & Molly’s” strength lies in its character’s flaws.  “There’s not a bunch of beautiful people running around having things work out on our show,” he says, adding that such an everyday people’s sitcom hasn’t been around for awhile.  “Not since ‘Roseanne.’  And it’s not just me and Melissa (McCarthy).  Yeah, these are people who met at Overeaters Anonymous, and they have their issues, but there’s also the sister who is a hot mess (Katie Mixon), the best friend who gives bad advice (Reno Wilson) and the mother (Swoosie Kurtz), who has her own problems.”

Gardell says he is so happy, “I skip to work.  I think that’s the difference between getting [success] in your 40s and your twenties.  At my age, it’s like, ‘Wow!  I got a job and free coffee, too!’  I’m so proud of the show.  We’ve got three people who are over 40 with kids and spouses, and the attitude on the set is, ‘Hey, let’s be humble and thankful and work really hard.  I try remind everybody, eventually this is all going to come to an end, so make the most of it while it’s here.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

3 thoughts on “‘Mike & Molly’ Success = New Life for Billy Gardell

  1. Bill Beers

    Congrats Billy!! Your a good man doing great things and helping others along the way 😉 proud to call you a friend!! B Well and stay in touch..

    Don’t forget your friend at Life is Nutz are always in your corner!!

    B Well-

    Bill Beers

  2. Joey Carroll

    I’m so happy to see Billy’s success. He is a very funny stand up and a great guy as well. It’s great to see that nice guys don’t always finish last.

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