Brian Doyle-Murray is the older brother of actor Bill Murray. He is also a “Saturday Night Live” veteran and has appeared in many films including “Groundhog Dog”, “Wayne’s World & “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Brian took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about co-starring as Hank in TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son” and what we can expect from the first season.
Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to work on TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son”?
Brian Doyle-Murray: I had worked with Rob Long, one of the executive producers, on the TV show “Love and Money”. I really like him and thought he was a sharp guy. He is really good at what he does. when I read the script, I thought it was time for a show like this. I worked with TBS before also and I really liked them as a network as well. They give shows a chance and also willing to take a chance on shows. Once I did the pilot, I knew it was going to be great. The chemistry was just so fantastic.
MG: Tell us about working with this amazing cast?
MG: Steve Byrne is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Dan Lauria is just so great. I had no idea how hysterical Jodi Long was. She has some of the funniest lines. Dan and her both are theater mavens, they got the chops. Christine Ebersole and I worked together on “Saturday Night Live” doing the news, many years ago. She is such a classy chantoose. She has two Tony’s and here she is playing this cougar tramp and is just hilarious. Vivian Bang and Valerie Azlynn are beautiful and also really knock it out of the park. We also have more stand up’s per square inch for any show on television [laughs]. Besides Steve, we have Owen Benjamin, Steve Wood Jr., Ahmed Ahmed and Brian Scolaro. Brian is so subtle, it is like he is not even there and then he just kills it. Owen has some of the most amazing energy…for a slacker [laughs]. Roy does these great prank calls, which are very funny. He is real understated but very powerful and when he hits it, he does it right on the head. Ahmed has been all over the world and is a great addition to the cast. We have also had some great guest cast as well. Billy Gardell pops up in the show. I worked with him on “Yes, Dear”. So I believe we are really lucky to have such a great round cast.
MG: Being a veteran actor on the show, you find you are able to fit in among all the young cast?
MG: They were very kind to an old man. I enjoyed working with them. What settles it for me is “Am I having a good time doing this?” and “Do I like who I am working with?”. There is a lot of laughter on the set. People really enjoy coming to work. Believe me I have been on some when they don’t [laughs].
MG: What do you feel that your character Hank brings to the show? What do you like most?
MG: He is like somebody we all know I think like an Uncle or something. He is kind of unaware that he is offensive. His bias is so ingrained though that even when the people he offends are his friends, he doesn’t get it. He will use a term for his friends ethnicity affectionately so the friend instead of punching him out just kind of sigha and saya “That’s Hank”. I think there are a lot of people out there like that. They just kind don’t get it.
MG: What do you like most about working in front of a live audience?
MG: Well that is instant gratification for something that is funny. I have a pretty good idea what is funny but if you do it twice in one day in front of a live audience. They will let you know if they like it or not. We honed it in by the time we do it finally. So it works well.
MG: Sticking with TV, tell us what you like most about doing voice work like on shows like “Motorcity and “Spongebob Squarepants”?
MG: You don’t have to shave [laughs]. You don’t even have to take a bath. The mic doesn’t know if you stink or not. You just show up and don’t even have to memorize anything [laughs]. No, it is really fun work. I really enjoy voice work.
MG: Starting with “Saturday Night Live” to iconic roles in “Groundhog Dog”, “Wayne’s World and “Christmas Vacation”, what do you enjoy most about comedy?
MG: Well nothing compares to getting a laugh. You have to assume it on something like voice work. On “Sullivan & Son”, you know you are getting the laughs. It is very rewarding and very satisfying. Working with these people, the process is more enjoyable than the result even. Just the act of doing it. Cracking each other up is fun.
MG: What else do you have in the cards upcoming?
BDM: Besides this? Well, we just wrapped. I am trying now to match the circadian rhythms of my cats. That is I am trying to sleep 22 hours a day [laughs]. So, that is my goal.