FOX comedy ‘Til Death: Season One comes out on DVD today; the series has been renewed for its second season for 2007-08. Series star Brad Garrett is best known for playing Ray Romano’s brother, policeman “Robert Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond. He’s also the voice of “Gusteau” in the current Pixar feature Ratatouille. Brad Garrett sat down with the Archive of American Television on April 26, 2007 where he talked about starring in ‘Til Death.
Describe the character you play.
Eddie, I think is 90% of your married men out there that have made it to 20 years. I was close to make it to 20 years, I was just 13 years shy. You know how, [people say] “I married my best friend.” If I’d married my best friend I’d be bass fishing right now. You don’t marry your best friend, what you hopefully try to do is marry someone who is a wonderful blending of your neuroses– that’s really where the marriage is. And then you get to the point where you’re too tired to leave or you’re too tired to break up and you realize later in life you’re just going to need someone to change you, not emotionally, your diaper. So when you look at 80 year olds, they’re not still in love, they hold hands– it’s balance, they can’t walk without, that’s why they’re holding hands, they’re not in love after 60 years, no matter what they tell you.
Talk about the casting of Joely Fisher.
So Eddie is a guy who has met his match in Joely Fisher who plays Joy. She was the last woman to audition for the part and I didn’t have a wife for the show, literally 12 hours before our first table read, she came in at the last minute and just blew our doors off because what I loved about her is what she is in real life– as well as this character– she’s courageous and she’s strong and she pushes the envelope and she’s incredibly instinctive and I knew it was important kind of like The Honeymooner dynamic of Ralph and Alice. If I’m going to be a blowhard and be an in-your-face type of husband, I need a woman that could stand toe to toe and not you know be blown over by my wind if you will. And she was just there, to stand right there and be Joy and still be feminine and still be sexy and still be strong and… people aren’t supposed to look at the show and say oh my God look, they’re happy 20 yeas later, I want them to go oh my wow that is like me, boy a marriage is work, boy it is the little things that piss you off, boy it is the little things that keep you together.
You have a catchphrase with “Fantastic”…
Oh “fantastic.” Yes. Which came out, sadly enough, is out of my own life, that’s what I sometimes say when I don’t know what to say, someone will say I’m thinking about getting this lanced you want to look at it? And I’ll go “fantastic,” said I’ll be happy to look at anything on you that you think should be removed.
So that came from you?
It did come from me. I called Raymond cubby as Robert [on "Everybody Loves Raymond"], I’d go ‘come here cubby,’ that came out of an ad-lib. Again it’s those little things, the layers, it’s all about layers that we try to find. That’s what’s fun about acting or creating a show or being involved with a show and I’m also a producer on “’Til Death,” which only means I have parking, that’s really all it means, that and I can say we need more sherbet, it’s really nothing more than that.
Do you have a favorite episode so far?
I loved the dream getaway, I loved the episode where we go on a small vacation with the newlyweds and uh, it ends up that um, Kat Foster that plays the, the young ingenue on our show, who, one of the newlyweds ends up having a sex dream about me, and ends up telling Eddie Kay Thomas, the Jeff character about it, and I get wind of it and I am reveling in it, that this young hot woman would, and I really, it gives Eddie uh, you know a feeling of being wanted again, which guys that have been married 20 years. So, it gives Eddie a color we’ve really never seen and he starts you know dressing better and feeling better. What happens of course Eddie takes it overboard as he usually does and you know rubs it in Joy’s face a little bit, and she calls him on it and says come on you got to be kidding it was a dream and, and then we end up seeing the dynamic of a couple that has 20 years under their belt and how it’s two people that are really feeling insecure you know, and nothing more than that you now. There’s two things in a 20 year relationship, you’re either feeling insecure or you’re hungry.
And the show has a new time slot and how is it doing?
Well they put us after “American Idol” and you know to be honest my Bar Mitzvah video after “American Idol” could probably get a 12 share. We’re trying not to get, too high up on that, but Fox believes in the show, and they wanted to get more eyes on it and since they moved us after “Idol” not only have people been coming, but people have been staying with it. Now what’s the fate for season two? We’re still waiting to hear, if you hear or anybody at home hears, I’m usually the last to hear, please contact me, I’ll be at the primate clinic donating my plasma for the new Gibbon survey.
Brad Garrett’s entire Archive interview can be seen at the Archive’s offices at the Television Academy Headquarters in North Hollywood and will be available online in the future.
Interview description: Garrett spoke about his early comedy influences and his own break into the stand-up comedy world as a teenager. He talked about his first appearance on television on Norm Crosby’s Comedy Shop and his contest-winning turn on Star Search. He described two short-lived sitcoms he appeared on, before he landed the role for which he is most known, “Robert Barone” on Everybody Loves Raymond. He spoke in great detail about Raymond: describing his character, talking about the ensemble and series creator Phil Rosenthal, and mentioning notable episodes. He then talked about his next sitcom success as twenty-years-married “Eddie Stark” on ‘Til Death, a series he also produces. Additionally, he spoke about playing comic icon Jackie Gleason in the 2002 made-for-television movie Gleason. The 2 hour interview was conducted by Gary Rutkowski.