411mania Interview: Jeremy Sisto
Posted by Al Norton on 03.20.2013
411's Al Norton sits down for a quick chat with Suburgatory star Jeremy Sisto.
While Jeremy Sisto has been working on film and in TV since the mid-90's, it was his role as Billy Chenowith on HBO's Six Feet Under that brought him to most people's attention. Since then he has starred in the critically acclaimed movie Waitress as well as the NBC series Kidnapped and Law & Order. He can currently be seen starring as George Altman in the ABC comedy Suburgatory.
Al Norton: I hope you hear this all the time I was a really big fan of Kidnapped.
Jeremy Sisto: Thank you so much. I don't hear that enough; I really liked that show, too.
Al Norton: I feel like if it came on now, when shorter seasons are much more envogue, it might have had legs.
Jeremy Sisto: NBC had a bunch of cool shows that year; they had Studio 60, they had Black Donnellys, they had Heroes, and they can only advertise a certain amount of shows and we just got thrown under the bus as soon the opening ratings came in. You don't do well on the first episode, that's it. It's hard to keep a network show on the air and it's made me very grateful to be in the situation I'm in. I've never been here before; last season, when we got good ratings the first episode it was a new thing for me. On cable it doesn't matter. With Six Feet Under it wasn't about getting insane ratings, it was how good the show was and how people were responding to it. It's a whole different thing on network; people are always looking at the numbers like it's a sport (laughing). No matter how good things were going on Kidnapped, as soon as we got those numbers I heard pity in people's voices. "Oh, how you guys doing?" and I was like, "wait a minute; just because we didn't get enough advertising doesn't mean it was failure" But apparently it was a failure, so there you go (laughing). It's nice to be on something people are watching, that's for sure.
Al Norton: I've talked with Jane (Levy) and Alan (Tudyk) and they're both on board for a full on musical episode; how do you feel about it?
Jeremy Sisto: There's different versions of the show, and I think that's why it's a unique show; it can be goofy and ridiculous and wacky and then it's also a show that can be quite grounded and heartfelt. I imagine a musical version would be one of the goofier ones (laughing). My personal taste is that I lean more towards the grounded ones but I'll do it, though. The next episode I sing R Kelly's Bump and Grind and the week after that I take my clothes off to pose with a bunch of sausages so I am not one to deny anything. That's the fun part of a comedy that's got such an amazing and creative set of writers; you have to be open to whatever's going to come your way.
Al Norton: How much "poppin n lockin" rehearsing did you do for that episode?
Jeremy Sisto: Not enough (laughing). It was funny and I enjoyed it. It was one of those wacky episodes and I thought it was really funny. I like when they like things for George where he kind of gets caught up in stuff. He's usually grounded and cool and then has these times where he loses himself in the heat of the moment and sometimes those moments can last a long time. It puts him in some pretty absurd situations at times.
Al Norton: My favorite episode was from last season where the three guys go to Vegas.
Jeremy Sisto: Yeah, that was a good one. The Dad Band episode was another good one. Anytime the three of us are on our own is a great time. In a couple of weeks we are all posing for a men's calendar. I'm laughing the whole time when we're together.
Al Norton: On the more grounded side of things, are we going to see George interact with Tessa's boyfriend Ryan?
Jeremy Sisto: George has been pretty committed to staying out of her business. I think things happen like that sometimes, where the buildup is worse than the reality. He was so obsessed with her not growing up and getting a boyfriend and sort of blew his fuse on the whole thing. She went away for the summer and when she came back and he's kind of a different mind of it. He's also been pretty caught up in his relationship with Dallas. He's been more of a good roommate with his daughter this year.
Al Norton: How much fun is Cheryl Hines as a scene partner?
Jeremy Sisto: She's great, just so much fun. Everybody is. I guess there's a few shows that have that dynamic I hear Parks and Rec is like that, where everyone is just so nice and fun to work with but a lot of shows have one or two people who can make life difficult and we don't have any of those so we are blessed.
I've known Cheryl longer than anyone else because we did Waitress together so she's a close friend. We both think the show is genuinely funny. And she's a great actress, too; we've had some emotional scenes and she fills those scenes with very real feelings and that's hard to do when you're playing something so wacky.
Al Norton: Can you preview the next episode a little more?
Jeremy Sisto: It's George's birthday and Dallas tries really hard to give him a gift that I'll really like so she gets me a guitar, which he would like but it's this brand new, horrible looking guitar, and it's signed by some guy he's never heard of from some new rock band. He thinks it's endearing but Tessa gives him a framed blueprint he made years ago when he was married and it moves him and that makes Dallas insecure so he has to prove how much he loves her by singing her favorite song, which is R Kelly's Bump and Grind.
Al Norton: Which you obviously already knew by heart.
Jeremy Sisto: Obviously.
Don't miss Suburgatory, Wednesdays at 9:30 pm on ABC