Mike & Molly's Billy Gardell on Fatherhood, the Steelers, and Acting Versus Stand-up

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New Times: What can we expect at your stand up show down here next month?

Billy Gardell: Hopefully, stuff that makes you laugh. I do a working class show about trying to be a good dad and a good husband and being a lunatic in my youth.

Do you see a little bit of that quality in your son?

It's like someone put him in a coffee filter because I think he's a good version of me. I think that has a lot to do with my wife, to be honest with you.

Do you need to have a certain sense of mischief to be a comic?

I think comics have a good way of deflating stress with comedy, anger with comedy and that's the way I go for. But yeah, I think there's a little bit of "What if we did this?" in every comic. What if we kicked that over? What would happen?

So what's the funniest thing you've kicked over?

I don't know man. I've been doing this for 25 years. I try to talk about trying to be a grown up, that's the hardest thing for me. At some point, you have to be the responsible example for your kid, which is tough when you know you were nuts as a kid. So you hear yourself saying something your father would. You hear yourself giving advice maybe you wouldn't listen to.

When did you first decide to be a comic?

I wanted to do comedy when I was nine years old. I asked my grandmother if she thought I could do it. She said, "If you work hard enough you can do whatever you want, but you got to work." I trusted her more than anyone else on the planet, so I never looked back.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland