‘Mike & Molly’ star Billy Gardell brings stand-up show to Ridgefield
When it comes to Connecticut, Billy Gardell is aiming to go “three for three” — as in three very successful visits to the Nutmeg state.
“Connecticut has been very good to me over the last year,” he said, referring to a University of Connecticut stand-up performance and the filming of a Lifetime movie, “A Very Merry Toy Store,” in the Hartford area that debuted in November (with Melissa Joan Hart and Brian Dennehy).
His third visit is coming up soon, a stand-up gig at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Saturday, Feb. 17.
The Emmy Award-nominated actor and stand-up comic starred from 2010-16 in the CBS television series, “Mike & Molly” as police officer Mike Biggs. He’s pleased the series is still seen by millions as it continues in syndication, he said in a recent telephone chat from Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife Patty and 14-year-old son Will.
In the past two years, he was busy with the CMT series “Sun Records” as Colonel Tom Parker, the “infamous manager” of Elvis Presley, and as the Daytime Emmy-nominated Outstanding Game Show Host for “Monopoly Millionaires Club.”
Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 E. Ridge. Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m. $60. An additional $25 ticket includes priority parking and free house wine and beer from 6:30-7 p.m. 203-438-5795, ridgefieldplayhouse.org
“After eight years (doing series work), I’m a free agent so it’s good to have the time to check out some of the possibilities that the future might offer,” said the Pittsburgh native (who says he still pledges his fidelity to the Steelers football team).
“But I really love being on a series — working in front of a live audience. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and I would like to do more. I miss the camaraderie that develops” among cast members. “It’s phenomenal to work with talented people who root for each other,” he said.
Gardell’s bio notes he has performed in several feature films, including “Bad Santa,” with Billy Bob Thornton, and “You, Me, and Dupree,” with Owen Wilson, as well as having recurring television roles in “Lucky,” “The King of Queens” and “My Name is Earl.” With two comedy specials to his credit, “Billy Gardell: Halftime,” on Comedy Central, and “Billy Gardell Presents Road Dogs,” on Showtime, he is working on a third.
As a stand-up comic, Gardell said he “took the long road to Hollywood, stopping at every small-town lounge, military base and comedy club along the way,” which subsequently molded his “grounded, down-to-earth” view of the world.
“I speak about the stuff of my life. I’m ... a veteran of 15 years of marriage, I have a great son ... and I spend a lot of time traveling.” It’s all fodder for his act.
He credits his grandmother for introducing him to stand-up and the brilliance of Johnny Carson’s late-night television show. “I remember thinking — I was about 9 at the time — this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
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