Owen Benjamin talks about new show on TBS “Sullivan & Son”

Owen Benjamin is currently co-starring in TBS’ comedy series “Sullivan & Son”.  He is co-starring along with Steve Byrne, Dan Lauria and Brian Doyle-Murray, just to name of few of this amazing cast.  Media Mikes got a chance to chat with Owen about this show and what we can expect from the first season.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “Sullivan & Son”?
Owen Benjamin: I have been friends with Steve Byrne for awhile. We used to do shows together and make stupid internet videos. He and Vince Vaughn had been friends and Steve recommended me to tour with those guys. We did a national tour together on 2010 and we just all clicked. When they were putting the show together they wrote me in. I will be playing pretty much a version of myself and they knew they liked me and wanted to hang out with me.

MG: Did you take the role so you didn’t have to remember your characters name?

OB: Yeah we just kind of did that as a lot of comedians have done the same thing. It’s kind of weird. (Laughs)

MG: What has been a highlight for you from working on the show?
OB: Everyday doesn’t feel like work. We all got there early and went to the gym and had breakfast together. The writing staff, producers and studio are all so positive. They just want a good product. It’s really great working in an environment like that. As a comic I am a joke control freak so I thought it was going to be a little weird having someone else write for me. The writers did such a good job that I felt really relaxed and didn’t want to try and pitch any of my jokes. It was a huge weight off my shoulders which allowed me to just focus on my acting.

MG: Was Vince involved on set at all during the shows shooting?
OB: Yeah! He does this because he loves it. He just loves comedy. He got in to producing because his is doing it with his friends Peter Billingsly and Steve Byrnes. Vince gets to be a part of his friend’s careers. He would be on set pitching jokes and checking things out. It’s been an honor working with that dude.

MG: What can we expect from the first season?
OB: The thing that I really like about this show is I am a bar guy. I have been a bar guy all my life. I worked at one when I was growing up and I love drinking and partying. This show is a local bar. I think a lot of sitcoms will land flat because they are missing that authenticity of real life. As touring comics we have a really good sense of what is funny in America and not just in Silver Lake California. The characters can be over the top but there is a good base of love, family and respect that it allows the characters to do some pretty insane stuff.

Gary Owen talks about his new film “Think Like a Man” and his comedy tour

Gary Owen is an actor/comedian who is currently filming the Screen Gems comedy “Think Like A Man” based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. He is one of the headliners on the upcoming “Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Jam” which begins this September. He is taping his own one-hour comedy special on Sept. 2nd at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Besides movies and stand-up, Gary also co-stars as “Zach” the barber on Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” TV series.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Gary about his comedy and also his films.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on your current tour?
Gary Owen: I just finished shooting a movie titled “Think Like a Man” with Michael Ealy and Jerry Ferrara, so I have been off the road for about six weeks. I am in Miami this weekend then during the first week in September I will be shooting my hour long special from Mandalay Bay. For the rest of the fall, I am on the “Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Jam” which puts us in a different city every Friday and Saturday. I will be working through the rest of the year…so it’s good.

MG: What can you tell us about working on “Think Like a Man”?
GO: The film is a romantic comedy about six friends who are all at different stages in their relationships. I play the happily married guy. What happens is the girlfriends/wives of these six guys get a hold of a book title “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man”. In the book are all these different tests to put a guy through to find if their guy is the right one for them. One night while hanging out the guys start talking and realize that their ladies are putting them all through the same tests. We find a way to get the book and we jump the gun and start doing what they think they want us to do.  However we aren’t actually doing the things and that’s when chaos ensues. It’s a really funny film and I can’t wait for it to come out.

MG: How did you land the spot as a headliner on “Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Jam”?
GO: About a year ago I did the Mike Epps comedy special which aired on Showtime. Cole Black who puts on all the “Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Jam” saw that and put me on the tour. However prior to the tour starting, they have me doing my own hour long special.. then it’s on to the tour. I am very excited!

MG: What can we expect to hear about in your set?
GO: A lot of my comedy is about my life. I am married to a black girl and I married real black! I didn’t go Hillary Banks. My wife is from Oakland and went to public school. I couldn’t break up with her if I wanted to because I am sort of scared of her [laughs]. I said if I was going to this and marry a black woman I was going to be in it to win it.  I wanted one that was inner city black! [laughs]

MG: You are filming the special on Sept. 2 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, do you know when and where it will be airing?
GO: We don’t just yet. I know they are going to be doing some creative cross promotions as they want the special to air about a month before the movie comes. By doing that out it allows them to promote the movie while my special is airing. I can’t say right now but we have received word that one of the networks is interested in buying the special.

MG: How does if feel to be named by Ebony magazine “Black America’s Favorite White Comedian”?
GO: That’s unreal and it was like Dirk Nowitzki in the finals! Who knew? When I first got on television I was on BET and couldn’t get on another network. BET liked me and kept airing me and they were the ones who gave me my first job. Most of the stuff I have been on like “House of Payne” and the films I have appeared in have black lead actors. I love black people and they love me back!

MG: How do you feel doing stand-up differs from when you are acting?
GO: It’s a natural transition. When you’re doing stand-up you hope it leads to doing sitcoms and then onto movies and in the same token with sitcoms and movies you are trying to build you stand-up base. The more people you can reach the better. I am always going to do stand-up. It’s my drug!


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