Billy Gardell from 'Mike & Molly" chats about choosing a side in Chicago sports and more
You know Billy Gardell as half of the dynamic headlining duo on Mike & Molly. However, this Pittsburgh-bred comic has plenty of laughs to offer on the show Funny You Should Ask, and in his stand-up performances at the Improv. Check out our interview with Billy Gardell.
What was your favorite moment of Mike & Molly?
All of it. It was such a great experience. I have a couple of favorite episodes. I like the one when I climbed up and got stuck in the window — it was a crazy Romeo and Juliet. The wedding episode was great, and any of the Christmas ones seemed to be extra special. If I had to pick one, it would be the pilot. The night of the pilot, we all felt like this may be something special. I am a Lou Malnati’s guy. I lived out here for a couple of years, and I knew Chicago. My brother lived here for many years, and I would come here and visit quite a bit. I have always loved this town. It is a great city and great heart. The humor here, I love it. It is the centerpiece of the Midwest humor, which is sarcasm with a little love underneath. I believe our show represented that well.
How long were you in Chicago?
I lived here about two years before moving to L.A., around '93 or '94. I lived outside of the city in an area called Westmont. I had a buddy who lived around 17th and Jefferson. It was an area where a group of artists had taken up the block.
What do you find unique about the Chicago comedy scene?
There was a great camaraderie amongst the comics here. There seemed to be so many places to work back then.
There was Barrel of Laughs, Zanies, The Funny Firm, and there were so many places in the surrounding outside areas. Of course, now I work at the Improv, which is my favorite spot here. What was great was that all the comics at the end of the night and then all the improv guys from Second City or ImprovOlympic [iO] would all end up at a bar called Burton Place. There was kind of an end of the night, meeting like, "Hey, we survived it."
I know you are a Pittsburgh fan, but did you go to Bears games while you were here?
No, I am a Pittsburgh guy. My hometown teased me horribly when I had to wear, as Mike, Cubs, Bears and Blackhawks apparel on TV. I kept telling them, "I’m acting, I’m acting," but it is a great city to represent. There is a funny story about that one year they were doing Mike’s birthday, and they brought in Cubs paper plates with White Sox paper cups. I told them, "You have to pick one side or the other." They eventually made Mike a Cubs fan.