Brad Garrett to Michael Richards: Stay Off the Stage
Brad Garrett has advice for Michael Richards: Stay off the stand-up stage. The star of Fox's "'Til Death" sitcom is, as he puts it, "An actor second, a standup comic first," and, referring to Richards' tirade in which he hurled racial epithets at hecklers in a club.
Brad notes, "A real standup would have never gotten to that point. It's inconceivable. Comics always get heckled. It's part of the job. I welcome it because it gives me a chance to work an audience. Michael is a brilliant actor, and my heart goes out to him, but when you are on stage there are good audiences and bad audiences. All of them paid their money, and if you try to blame the audience when things get out of hand, as they did with Richards, well, standup is not the craft for you. What happened with him turned out to be a scary racial situation. He's obviously got an anger issue, a rage issue -- and I hope he gets help."
The "Everyone Loves Raymond" alum, whose "'Til Death" sitcom has gotten a full-season pickup, says he loves doing the frosh show and feels, now with 13 episodes in the can, "I feel it's getting better. I'm finding out who the guy is." He's also excited about his co-starring stint with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant in the upcoming movie "Music and Lyrics By." But his first love remains stand-up, where "There are no directors, no second takes. It's just you and the audience. You can't cancel yourself in the middle of a show -- though I have tried."
MEANWHILE: John O'Hurley, who portrayed J. Peterman on "Seinfeld," also still has the recent racial rant of his former co-star Michael Richards on his mind. "It's uncharacteristic of Michael. He's a very quiet, introspective, and artistic performer. I think he caught himself by surprise," says O'Hurley, who believes Richards will be given a chance to redeem himself. "He'll go on from here. We live in a very redemptive society. After the media lets things go, people tend to let it go in their minds as well. Everybody has said things in their lives that they regret, and this is just another one of those. It's just unfortunate that we live in a YouTube generation now where things get recorded."
As for O'Hurley, things couldn't be better for the actor, who is currently hosting "Family Feud" and "TV's Funniest Bloopers," and who just authored the book "It's OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump: And Other Life Lessons Learned from Dogs." "We've already hit the New York Times' Best-Seller list. This is the first time I've written a book, so it's an enjoyable surprise," he says about his latest venture. Let's not forget the fact that O'Hurley is also soon to have a baby boy with his wife, Lisa. "We're expecting the first week in December. It's my first child. I'm a little bit nervous and I know it's going to be a life-changing event, but there's nobody more excited than me -- well, except for my wife."
STILL IN DEMAND: Legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller says she's happily feeding her other creative passions since retiring a few years ago. "I'm painting, painting, painting," says Diller, whose last performance and amazing career are chronicled in the Image Entertainment DVD "Goodnight, We Love You: The Life and Legend of Phyllis Diller" due out today (12/5). "I have a very private clientele, and my art shows are here at the house."
Diller happily reports that "Goodnight, We Love You," which features her full farewell stand-up concert and behind-the-scenes looks at the comic's life, "won two film festivals." She says there are those urging her to do an occasional gig here and there, but "you can't do that. What I do is a matter of timing. It's a little bit like being a concert pianist. You gotta do it every day. It was [in] 2002 I did my last show. That's four years of rust. I wouldn't want to risk it." And besides, she adds, "I am enjoying retirement very much. I'm not one of those people that misses it (being on the circuit), or wants to be doing it, and physically I wouldn't be able to. I worked till I was 85, and I enjoyed it right up till the last minute. Now I paint, I have time to read books, and I'm out to dinner every night with fun people and having a ball."
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: "The Hottie and the Nottie," which was originally expected to roll in September with Paris Hilton as star, is now slated for a beginning-of-January production start -- apparently with some retooling of the script. Early reports had it that Paris's character in the Tom Putnam film refused to marry until her not-so-pretty best friend also found a mate. Now, according to casting sources, her would-be suitor can't even get a date with her 'til he lines up a boyfriend for Ms. Undesirable. Does this mean she'll be less visible on the club circuit for a few weeks? Probably not.
(With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster)
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