Anthony Anderson and Charlie Grandy took the time to chat about their new show on NBC, Guys with Kids. Guys with Kids premieres on Wednesday, September 26, at 8:30 and NBC is having a special preview on Wednesday, September 12, at 10:00 following America’s Got Talent. Anthony plays Gary and Charlie serves as one of the show’s executive producers, along with Jimmy Fallon. The show also stars Zach Cregger, Jesse Bradford, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Tempestt Bledsoe. Anthony has been in some of my favorite shows and films like Me, Myself & Irene, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Raising Hope, The Shield, Psych, and Law & Order. I could go on for hours talking about how much I miss Anthony and Jeremy Sisto in Law & Order. Why NBC? Why did you cancel such a wonderful show? At least we have Law & Order: SVU left. Check out the special preview of Guys with Kids on September 12, only on NBC.
Press Conference Call Highlights:
Q: Can you talk about what it’s like working with so many kids running around the set? Is it kind of hectic there?
Anthony Anderson: It really is. Yes, during the pilot, Charlie, correct me if I’m wrong, we had 19 kids or…
Charlie Grandy: Yes, maybe we had - I think we had something like 14 kids with all the twins and triplets we had to hire, you know, just to make sure we had enough time with each kid and to make sure if a kid was fussing, we could take them away and not force them to be in the scene. And it ended up being, I believe it was 14 infants under the age of 1 for the pilot.
Anthony Anderson: Yes, so if you can imagine — that’s what our days were like, but, you know, I’ve told every reporter who asked that question, you know the kids are the real stars to this show. That’s where the magic happens with them, and, you know, we’re kind of handcuffed and forced to go where they lead us. And that’s where we have a lot of the fun during these episodes.
Charlie Grandy: Yes, there are at least three moments in the pilot that were not scripted that were just the cast reacting to what the babies were doing in those, and you know, they’re so spontaneous and so real, which is what we’re really go for with the show, that it was really just fun to be able to have them and to put them in.
Q: Anthony, does your comedic timing come easy to you? Has it always?
Anthony Anderson: It has, it has. You know, my comedy, or comedy itself, is just something that’s innate within me. You know, I never really thought I was funny growing up in the household that I grew up in with my mother, you know, who was a — and I say this with love — with my mother who was a failed actress, but a hysterical woman. And the same with my father and my siblings, so we never thought we were funny. I never thought I was funny. It was just the way that I was raised and how I grew up living my life. And then, you know, I’ve always wanted to be an actor since the age of 9. And then once I got out and saw the response from people, you know, being entertained and just thinking what I was doing was humorous, when I just was being me, that’s when I was like, “Oh wow! Maybe I am funny. Maybe there is something to this.”
Q: Is it hard for you, after it’s being so many years on a serious show, to come into a show like this, or is it fun, exciting, different, and all those things above?
Anthony Anderson: It was it a bit difficult, outside of it being difficult, all those things above. I mean, you know, I started my career in comedy with some of the best in — the Farrelly brothers, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, you know, I got to work with them at an early age and cut my comedy chops. And then, you know, I had something that I wanted to prove as an actor on the dramatic side. And so that’s why I made the turn. And, you know, a lot of people, a lot of my fans over the last, you know, five or six years that I’ve been, you know, in this dramatic turn, and have been asking me, when am I coming back to comedy. Would they miss me in the comedic world? And I was like, it’s coming soon, it’s coming soon. I just have something that I need to prove to myself and to show to Hollywood that I’m more than just, you know, the comic relief in something. And I think I did that. And with the cancellation of Law and Order, that allowed me to be available sooner than I anticipated to step back into the half hour comedy world. And Guys with Kids just fell into my lap and so here I am.
Q: So what was it about it that you liked, besides the fact that it was comedy? What was it that really drew you to it? I’m sure you had a choice of a couple of things.
Anthony Anderson: One, it came from Jimmy Fallon, who I’ve been friends with, you know, for a long time now. Two, it was mostly (cam), which is what I want to get back into. You know, I actually had a – I was developing something – I had a development deal, rather, with the FX Network to do a half-hour comedy. And the Guys with Kids script fell into my lap. I read it. It came from Jimmy. The offered it to me. It was great. I could see where this show could go. Everything jumped off the page at me. And I just felt it was a no-brainer. So I contacted FX, and was like, thank you for the opportunity, but I have this opportunity here. They were gracious enough to say, if that opportunity didn’t work out, we would love to have you back, because I’d love to have a half hour on network. And fortunately, for me, Guys with Kids worked out, and here we are talking about it now.
Q: Charlie, did you always have him in mind when you were thinking about doing the show?
Charlie Grandy: You know, it’s funny that the Gary and Marny characters are the closest to my wife and I, and just sort of those – you know have, we have three young kids and just being overwhelmed, and so I was just looking for someone who could be sort of overwhelmed but strong at the same time. And when Anthony’s is named, you know, no, I didn’t Anthony, because I – you don’t think you can get someone like Anthony Anderson, quite honestly, when you’re writing a pilot, and I’m not, you know, I’m not (Chuck Lorre), I don’t have a bunch of things on the air. This is my first show and even if it was Jimmy Fallon, you just don’t think you can get that caliber of talent. And then when, you know, there’s interest, and, you know, then you actually, you get him, it’s amazing. It’s brought so much more, not to just the character, but the show. I mean, it’s far exceeded any expectations I actually had for the role. So, you know, I feel like we definitely won the lottery with Anthony.
Anthony Anderson: No problem. And I just wanted to say that I am the black Charlie Grandy.
Charlie Grandy: He’s been saying that for a long time.
Anthony Anderson: And he is the white Anthony Anderson. That’s how we work with this.
Q: I think it’s easy, especially when you’re doing a comedy about stay-at-home dads, or about dads, to fall into that Mr. Mom dynamic where dads are naturally inept at doing everything from spilling the baby formula to putting on the diaper backwards, a lot of these kinds of cliché jokes. And it seems like more of the comedies out there now are kind of getting away from some of those clichés, where we see a lot of competent dads at home performing tasks that typically were – we only say women perform — things like, everything from picking up the kids to changing diapers to folding laundry, all these tasks are no longer strictly a female role in a lot of comedies. How does your comedy make a concerted effort to kind of stay away from those sorts of clichés?
Charlie Grandy: Yes, I mean, absolutely, that was, you know, from the moment we pitched the show, that was part of the pitch, was we wanted to do confident dads. That’s not to say that they can’t be befuddled, but I think it’s more on a just a general parenting level as opposed to, like, the nuts and bolts of the changing the diapers, the making the bottles, the doing the laundry, the folding the laundry, the cleaning up, that is now, we just kind of want to present dads as that is ingrained in them as it is in their wives. Anthony’s character could have stayed at work, he could have gotten help, but he really wanted to stay home with his kids, and that, you know, that was what was always interesting about the character and Anthony does so much with it.
Q: Anthony, how is it for you playing the role of a stay-at-home parent? Was it something that you naturally fell into, or was it something that maybe you always wanted to do in your personal life, as well?
Anthony Anderson: You know what, working as hard as I have been for – in this industry, for the last 16 years, I would welcome falling into the role of the stay-at-home dad. You know, I get the comforts of home. You know, I get to raise my kids, I get to have fun with them. I get to watch them grow. So, yes, that was a natural thing. And just to piggy-back on what Charlie was saying earlier about, you know, staying away from the cliché things, I mean, you know, we – I called the writers and them for not giving us the lowest common denominator to work with in these situations as actors on our television show. I mean, you know, you can go for the quick and easy laugh all the time, but that’s short-lived. And like I said, I applaud them for allowing us to find the humor in the situations of just parenthood. And not, you know, just, not, you know, just fart jokes and pee jokes, and diaper jokes, and all of that. You know, it goes to show that, you know, we’re all invested in this for the long run, and I applaud them for it. And it makes coming to work and bringing life to the words that are on page that much more fun and that much more easier.
Q: Anthony, how does your own parenting style compare to Gary’s?
Anthony Anderson: You know what? It’s pretty much the same. It’s, you know, I get to live, re-live, vicariously through Gary. Some of the things that I couldn’t do with my kids because I didn’t know how they would turn out, you know, if I raised them the way that I was raised. And, you know, we’ve had talks earlier on, you know, even before we shot the pilot, about my experience, you know growing up, especially with my mother and my father. And, you know, we just shot an episode where I think every parent goes through what we went through in the episode, is like, you know, I want to raise you differently than how my father raised me. Not to say that, you know, our father raised us bad, it’s just a different time, a different era, and we have different sensibilities. And, but I get to have time and Gary, through my four boys at home, just like I have time at home. I’m the only father in the cast. I was the only parent until we recast, but now I’m the only father that we have in the cast. And, you know, I get to tell the guys what I’m going through, you know, how I used to (unintelligible) my kids, how I want to (unintelligible) these kids on the set, and just have some fun with it. You know, that’s what it’s about. And I think that’s what resonates – I think that’s going to resonate with the audience and that’s what’s going to show onscreen.
Q: How do you relate to the dads in the series?
Anthony Anderson: I relate to all of them. One, because it’s a slice of life, you know. I have friends who are recently divorced. I have friends who are stay-at-home dads. I have friends who are happily married and raising their family with their wives. So, you know, I see a bit of my world in the world that we’re creating on television. And we can all pick and choose from that. And that’s about how it goes for me.
Q: Can you quickly tell us about your son Nathan and daughter Kyra? How old are they and what do they do for fun?
Anthony Anderson: My daughter Kyra is 16 years old, junior in high school now, who started today, plays volleyball, has a boyfriend, that I have to deal with now as a father. Never thought those days would happen, who happens to be the quarterback of the football team…
Charlie Grandy: Uh oh…
Anthony Anderson: My daughter happens to be one of the stars of the volleyball team, so, you know, it’s kind of, you know, cool, that, you know, they both are athletic, and, you know, almost the stars of their team. And my son is 12 years old and when I tell you the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, truer words have never been spoken. I just took him on an audition yesterday, you know. Four or five years ago, he pointed to my wife and said, “Mom, I want to be an actor.” And he’s actually pretty good at it, you know. He’s been studying for it since then for the last four years and, you know, is really enjoying going out on auditions. And, you know, he’s come close on a few things, and one day he’ll get a job. We had a long talk the other day about, you know what, son, you can’t what you want this soon. You just have to work for it. And eventually the chips will fall in your favor.
Q: What do you like most about fatherhood? Do you have any special fatherhood memories to share?
Anthony Anderson: You know what, both are pretty simple. Both of my children, being there, and that being the crowning achievement in my life, and it actually mad me feel invincible. And it makes me feel that I can live forever now. And secondly with my son, you know, I do stand-up comedy. I host a monthly comedy show in New York. And going back to the story where I told you my – four years ago my son told my wife that, you know, he wanted to be an actor, and that he also wanted to tell jokes, I invited him to New York on Father’s Day weekend to come into my room, the (Gotham) Comedy Club and perform at eight years old. And he got up and there was no fear, no trepidation, and he was funny. And that was the most memorable thing that I have to date as a father with my son, watching him on stage, alone, tell your mama jokes on Father’s Day, and having the audience respond favorably to him. So that is the most memorable that I can think of right now, outside of watching them come into this world.
Q: Anthony, you are married to your college sweetheart. That’s so inspiring. What are some of the things she does to help support you with a demanding career?
Anthony Anderson: Oh, wow, everything, from – I’ll go back to the beginning — for letting me use her car to go to my first audition. And me coming home from that first audition and running into the back of the school bus and totaling the car on the 91 Freeway. So, that’s how it all begins. She’s always been a constant pillar for me, you know. And, you know, I put this on my wife for my character of Gary. My wife is a homemaker who decided to give up her career working in the electronic publicity department at NBC for ten years and to sit at home and raise the children and to support me because I’m constantly on the go. And that’s what she does. You know, what she does as a stay-at-home mom, just like all the other stay-at-home mom and dads across the country is invaluable and unquantifiable. And, you know, I applaud her for putting her career and her life on hold to help out with our life. It’s an ultimate – sometimes it’s an ultimate sacrifice, you know, that these stay-at-home mothers and fathers do.
Q: Do you have any advice that you’d like to share that you share with your children about the industry?
Anthony Anderson: You know what, about the industry, I guess, and life in general, I tell them that we – the Andersons aren’t quitters. We finish what we start. And no matter what it is. Like, you know, my daughter wanted to give up on volleyball early on when she first started. And I was like, sweetheart, this is what you chose to do, it’s the middle of the season, we are not about to quit. Now, if you want to stop at the end of the season, then that’s your choice, but we’re going to ride this out. The same with my son in everything that we do. It’s just like, no, we put in the work because you get out of it what you put into it. And that’s the philosophy that, you know, I live my life by and that I try to lead by example with my children.
Q: We’re talking about guys being more involved in childrearing than ever before, so how has your experience been, just being the more involved dad and not just the one we see on TV from the 50’s, for example?
Anthony Anderson: You know, it’s crazy. There was a study on 60 Minutes or one of those news programs that I was watching before we even shot the pilot and they were talking about how stay-at-home dads are on the increase. There are more fathers in the Mommy and Me classes than ever before. There are more fathers who are making play dates than the mothers than ever before. And, you know, a lot of people – it was kind of indifferent, because a lot of people look at them and say, that, you know, how could you? How could you send your wife off to work while you sit at home, you know, with your kids, and being lazy, when, you know, I just said, that, you know, it’s unquantifiable what a stay-at-home parent does? And, you know, why can’t this man or woman be – because it’s seldom looked upon negatively when you say “stay-at-home mom.” It’s only looked upon negatively when you say “stay-at-home dad.” Why can’t this husband and this father empower his wife and support his wife for going on out and, you know, making a career, and the father staying at home to raise the children? I think that’s very admiral, for any parent to do, but, but more so than not, a father. I just think it’s a great thing. Charlie, what do you have to say about that?
Charlie Grandy: Yes, I mean, I agree. I think just in terms of fathering, like the more time I spend with my kids, and the more I do, and even just hard stuff, getting up in the middle of the night and the changing the diapers and staying with them when they’re sick, and, going to the hospital, you just feel so much more connected them. It becomes such a richer experience, you know. I, you know, it really has just been so powerful and life-changing for me to have children and have something, you know, my life honestly feels like it has meaning now. And you’re trying to conduct yourself in a manner you’d want your children to conduct themselves. And just being with them, those little moments, can turn, not just like weeks or days around, but weeks or months around, just when you’re like, okay, well, I know I’m doing something right. And it just feels so basic and on such a pure level to have those moments and spend that time with your kids and pull your weight. And, you know, to get back with, you know, Anthony answered a question about his, you know, wife having supported him through his career, and it’s the same with me. And so to help out as much as you can with your wife and what she’s doing at home, again, it’s just incredibly fulfilling.
Anthony Anderson: Just an addendum to my answer, you know, since I’ve been working with the show, and working with these children on the show and kind of getting into this character of Gary, it’s actually made me want to be a better father. It makes me want to have a better connection with my children at home, because, you know, all my children have known from me is dad is on location. You know, they were born into my career. So that’s all they know. That’s all they see is, you know, me on a plane, them on a plane, going to exotic locations and working and having fun. But now that I’m doing this show, you know, I can look at my son, who’s 12, and look at my daughter who’s 16, and I’ve already, you know, realized that, you know, I’ve missed out on a lot. But doing the show makes me want to stay home. I no longer take, you know, the weekend golf trips or whatnot. It’s like, you know what, I want to stay at home this weekend and just hang out with my kids, even if we don’t do anything but sit by the pool. You know, it’s made me want to have a stronger connection to them, you know.
Q: What have you guys learned from your wives about fatherhood? Her mother’s experience — how has that influenced you?
Charlie Grandy: Yes, I mean, in just every possible way for me. It’s just the amount of strength that she has and the digging deep for those reserves of strength and not complaining. I mean, it’s really just, you know, as hard as it gets, is just putting a smile on your face and a, you know, people have been doing this forever, and b, just realizing, like, again, knowing that you get so much out of it. And that’s what a family is, it’s just working and helping your kids and supporting each other. And more, I guess if there’s one word, it would be patience, is what I’ve truly learned from her.
Anthony Anderson: Charlie said the exact same thing that I was going to say. I can’t add anything more to that. Strength and patience — those are the two things.
Q: How do you both give your wives time to themselves?
Anthony Anderson: Wow!
Charlie Grandy: Yes, I’ll send her to a hotel. I mean, if she needs to get away, there are some times when she’s just burned out and I can see it on her face. And one of these is coming up very soon, because I’ve been at work a lot. It’s just like, go, you know, it is, it’s just like get away. Take a weekend, and you know, just go, and take a friend, don’t take a friend, whatever you want to do. Just go and have some time when you don’t have to worry about anything. You can sleep in, get a massage, and you know, it’s funny, you know, she’s incredible, because I’ll send her away for a weekend, and on the second day she’s like, can I come home now? I’m bored. I don’t want to sit around here. So, but, it’s really that. It’s just trying to stay – pay attention to when those times, because she won’t take it herself. So you kind of have to kick here out the door and say get out of here, you need a break.
Anthony Anderson: Right. I do the same thing, except, Charlie, my wife calls and asks if she can stay a week longer.
Charlie Grandy: Well, I don’t have teenagers yet, so, we’ll see.
Q: Charlie, do you have any plans to recruit Jimmy Fallon for a cameo on the show?
Charlie Grandy: I’d love to. I mean, that’s all up to Jimmy. You know, his schedule, honestly is so tough because he’s in New York doing his show and it’s been so hard to, you know, he was able to come to the pilot taping, but has not been able to come to another taping since, though he be at next week’s. So, yes, but that’s, you know, I’d love him to be a regular on the show, because he’s just so good and so much fun and has, you know, honestly, a ton of good ideas for what to do with the show. But it will be a scheduling question, and you know, what – if he wants to do it.
Q: I read something about him wanting to have James Earl Jones announce it in a live studio audience…
Charlie Grandy: Yes…We’re trying. I mean, I don’t know if it’s going to happen, you know, but that – we really wanted to. Right now I think it’s Jimmy who’s saying it, but that’s just a placeholder for when we can convince James Earl Jones, perhaps in success, we can convince him.
Q: Anthony, would you ever consider bringing your son on the show?
Anthony Anderson: Oh, well, once I found out I had older kids, that was the first question I asked Charlie and the staff. Can I bring my son on? They’re like, well how old is he, Anthony, we’d love to do that. Well, they were like, he’s an old man. He can’t do it. But I’m pretty sure if something ever came about, you know, I would definitely have him audition for it because this is something that, you know, he wants to do, and I support it. You know, I tried to convince him otherwise, and, you know, he’s really put in the work and really stayed on us about getting him into a class and this is what he really wants to do with his life. So, if the opportunity does present itself on Guys with Kids, or any other show out there, yes. I would love it.
Q: How did the idea for the show come about?
Charlie Grandy: Yes, it was, you know, Jimmy Fallon and his producing partner (Amy Olzoz). It just, you know, Jimmy had – I think it was maybe his brother-in-law had a young kid and just Jimmy just always saw him out and about with his kid, you know, going to a bar, going to a ballgame, he just always had his kid in a Baby Bjorn. And Jimmy just saw that and is seeing it more and more around New York City of these involved dads. He said, there’s no show about this. There’s no show about, you know, parenthood improving the life of a dad. It always is sort of encumbered, it makes, you know, it changes your life for the negative. Or it’s, you know, it’s like, you’re happy you have a kid, but in the whole it’s not much better to have a kid. And we just wanted to do a show about – he wanted to do a show about people who just really embraced parenting, fathers who really embraced parenting. And, you know, I’d worked with Jimmy on Saturday Night Live and actually had gone to college with (Amy Olzoz), and they knew I had three kids and so they just approached me. And it was exactly what I wanted to do — a show just about parenting, because that’s where I was in my life. And so it, you know, and then just through our discussions, the show evolved and evolved and it – that’s basically it. But it was that first image that you see in the pilot of the guys turning around in the bar with their babies, that was really what the pilot was built around. Jimmy had that one image in his head and we kind of went from there.
Q: When you guys were kids what the worst lie you ever told your parents?
Charlie Grandy: Oh, boy. Oh no. I still don’t know if I want that out there.
Anthony Anderson: Yes, I don’t think the statute of limitations are up on the lie that I told my parents.
Charlie Grandy: Yes, I mean, it’s probably, like, you know, along the lines of, no, I didn’t have a party while you were gone, you know.
Anthony Anderson: That’s all? That’s all you got, Charlie?
Charlie Grandy: I was a pretty decent kid. Yes, I know. I was terrified of my parents, so.
Anthony Anderson: You know, I can’t say, you know, the worst lie, other than, I didn’t take the money, I didn’t do it, I didn’t have a party, I didn’t wreck the car, but I always wanted to play the piano. And my mom enrolled me in piano lessons. But we didn’t have a piano at home for us to play. So I went in her pocketbook and I took out her credit card, the one and only credit card that my mother has ever had in her life, and I called and bought a piano, a baby grand piano, and had it delivered to the house. And to ensure that I wouldn’t get in trouble, I bought my father a gold-plated cubic zirconium ring and had it delivered to the house. So that’s what I did. It wasn’t a lie, but that’s some of the stuff that I did as a kid. And Charlie, I think that was the time my mother tied me to the avocado tree. That’s where that beating came from.
Q: Anthony, the old adage is never work with kids and animals. So what was it that intrigued you to be a part of the show?
Anthony Anderson: Wow, truer words have never been spoken. I’ll say that. But, you know, just going back to what Charlie said, and how Jimmy had come up with the concept of the show, you know, there hasn’t been, or up until now, a show about that, a show about, you know fathers and, you know, taking their kids wherever they go, you know, to the bar, to the ballgames, the strip clubs — no, maybe not the strip clubs. So that’s what attracted me to it. You know, we’re not reinventing the wheel. You know, it was fresh, yet familiar, and that’s what really attracted me to it. You know, and, you know when the kids and the babies are on their best behavior, it’s magic. And it’s wonderful and it’s beautiful. And even when they’re on their worst behavior, it’s still magic, you know, we can still pull magic from that. And I love infants, I love babies because I believe that’s what keeps us youthful and keeps us striving for greatness and whatnot. And to work with them every day on our set, you know, on the pilot we had 14 babies that we worked with. You know, now that we’re on series, we don’t have as many, but we have more babies on set than adults. And I think that’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.
Q: Charlie, what makes NBC such a great fit for the show?
Charlie Grandy: I think, you know, honestly, at the time, you know, when they were buying pitches, they were willing to give it a shot. And the show has always been just about a very positive portrayal, and NBC has been – for me it’s just been, I think it’s a good fit because NBC is very positive about the show and for what we want to do, which is have, you know, a very upbeat, fun show about parenting that you can watch with your kids. And, you know, putting Animal Practice before us, which seems to have a very similar vibe, you know, I just feel that it’s great. And then there’s the history of the family comedy on NBC. Those are what I grew up watching — Cosby and Family Ties, and, you know, and even you look at the shows like Cheers, which is essentially a family comedy, it was, you know, that – those people at the bar were family. And it just felt like when early on in the talks with NBC and (Amy) and Jimmy, we just decided we wanted to do the kind of show that NBC would have done in the past, that kind of family show that wasn’t pandering, but wasn’t crazy, you know, familiar, but also new at the same time. And it really felt like, spiritually it was in tune with perhaps not what NBC had been doing lately, but what they used to do better than anyone else.
Q: What do you find most challenging overall, with the whole project?
Anthony Anderson: Keeping the babies from having a meltdown on the set. That’s the most challenging for us, you know, on the sound stage. Outside of that, everything is great. I mean, you know, you have babies who have their own temperament, you know. They don’t know where they are. They don’t know what they’re doing. And they’re in a room full of strangers, so they’re definitely completely out of their element. Some take kindly to that and some don’t. And it takes a while for the ones who don’t to warm up, if they warm up to it at all. So that is the most challenging, and it’s not in a negative way and it’s not a bad thing. It’s just that, you know, we’re dealing with infants, who, you know, who want to suckle on their mother’s nipple for their milk. And, you know, but yet, they’re in my lap trying to suckle on my nipple for my milk. And I’m like, hey, it don’t go down like that. But, that’s it for us, that’s it for us on the sound stage. And, you know, I can never say this enough, once the babies are calm and ready and doing their thing, it’s magic. And you see it on the show. You see it.
Charlie Grandy: The exact same. Yes, I mean, it’s just when you’re trying to, you know, get through scenes, and, but we’re getting much better about how to use the babies and what to pre-shoot and what not to pre-shoot. And, you know, and honestly, we’ve, you know, we’ve also, we have some great babies right now. They’re just very calm, and we try to get the actors to spend as much time with the babies off camera as well, just so the babies are very familiar with them and so it’s not, you know, jarring, when they are passed to them at the scene. And, you know, but I think everyone’s gotten so good and so calm, you know, with infants, especially the key when they start to freak out is to not freak out yourself and we’ve been very lucky with talent and directors to just say, okay, well, the baby’s crying, let’s give it a minute and see if it – if the baby will relax, and if he doesn’t relax, then we’ll try – you know, this is why you work with twins and triplets. So just say, well maybe the sibling will work. And then, you know, sometimes you just have to take break and start over or move on. And fortunately we’ve been very lucky on tape nights, that the babies, they’re all performers, they all come up for the audience. And the audience is sympathetic, you know. They know, they know what babies do.
Q: Have they ever done anything really unexpected that got left in that was really funny?
Charlie Grandy: A bunch of times, yes.
Anthony Anderson: In the pilot, one of the babies – well, at the end of the pilot, didn’t the baby put his hand in (Jessie’s) mouth and leave it there and then that was some of the things that was left in the pilot because it was funny. Too numerous to name. These babies are prima donnas. They’re prima donnas. They want what they want when they want it. And when they don’t get their way, they let you know. You thought Lindsay Lohan was a prima donna, you thought J. Lo was a prima donna. Work with Baby 2 and Baby 3. (Unintelligible) That’s all I have to say.
Q: To touch on what you were saying before, Anthony, about being the only father with the other two actors, how was it for the other two actors working with the children? Was it something getting used to for them? Anything funny happen, and do you find yourself pitching your own dad stories for the show?
Anthony Anderson: You know, I’ll start with the last question. Not really my own dad stories — I’ve been pitching my mom to Charlie and the crew, just because I’m tired of taking care of her, and she needs a job. And, so, you know, she’s a great character, so that’s the only thing that I pitch. But working with the fellows, you know, and being the only father, it’s, you know, it’s really, “Yo, Anthony. Am I supposed to hold the baby like this?” It’s like, “No, you’re not supposed to hold the baby by its ankles.” You have to hold it and cradle its head and all of this other stuff. And we just have a lot of fun, you know, finding jokes amongst ourselves with regard to that. But, you know, they are amazed at how my babies are (unintelligible) remain calm throughout the day. You know, one, I attribute it to, I just got a great set of twins and triplets that I work with, but also, the experience that I have as a father, knowing how to hold the baby, knowing how to rock a baby, knowing, you know, just these innate things as a parent. You know, they turn to me, and say, well, hey, Anthony, how did you get him to calm down just now when you were doing that. It’s like, you know, step away from the madness, and you know, just go talk to your baby. You know, I find myself talking to nine-month-old toddlers. I’m sitting here having a conversation with a nine-month-old. So I say, “Hey, man, what’s going on?” And if he doesn’t respond to my English, I then talk baby talk. And then we really have conversation. And that’s what it’s about and that’s what we do.
Q: Besides being an actor and a producer, what three passions you have in life that people necessarily wouldn’t know about you? It could be like your family, something specific like a film that you love.
Charlie Grandy: Oh boy. I don’t have time for three anymore. Well, yes, a film that I love. I don’t know Bad News Bears would have to be up there. Parenthood…. you know, the original film of Parenthood, loved that. And, you know, honestly, right now, my passion is, it may not sound, it’s not super splashy, and it’s a little hokey, but really, I work so much now, and so much is focused on the show, that just those moments, you know, I went to the beach with my family last weekend, and that to me is just the highlight. I mean that’s sort of the passion now. It’s just kind of, my kids are old enough that you can get out and do all those things that, you know, my wife and I just used to do together, now that you can fold the kids in and they enjoy it. That’s really – and if I can occasionally read as book, that’s pretty special, too. Anthony?
Anthony Anderson: Three passions — golf, to get better at that, to jump out of an airplane, and to — I don’t know if that’s a passion or just a want, I guess it’s a passion — and you probably mentioned the Bad News Bears. It’s one of my favorite movies growing up as a kid. But also, I would also like to remake Uncle Buck. I would – I’ve been thinking about remaking Uncle Buck and a script that had come to me years ago that just wasn’t worth doing, but that’s what I would love to do, especially working on Guys with Kids, it’s like, yes, I could really do this now.
Charlie Grandy: You should.
Anthony Anderson: I could really remake Uncle Buck.
Charlie Grandy: That would be great.
Anthony Anderson: Yes.
Q: Besides Jimmy Fallon, are there any other dream guest stars you would love to have on the show?
Charlie Grandy: Really, just, I’m trying to think right now. There’s so many people, so many names we’re kicking around. We aim high. I don’t know Sigourney Weaver really made me laugh in Baby Mama. I like guest stars when they’re doing things that you don’t expect them to do. You know, and so I kind of like to incorporate people from the drama world, you know, again, I don’t know who he’d play, but I’d love to have Bryan Cranston on the show, especially that he’s done comedy and now Breaking Bad. It’s just always fun when you can do something new with someone. You know, and obviously, you know, when you have (Jamie Lynn) and Tempest on the show, everyone’s like, oh, get Gandolfini, get Cosby. It’s interesting, but you just don’t know. You have no idea what’s going to work and whatnot.
Q: What do want audiences to take away from the show? What would you like them to feel and keep coming back for?
Charlie Grandy: I just want it to be a fun place they can come with their families. You know, it’s really it’s trying to re-create that feeling I had with my family growing up and watching television, those family comedies, you know, NBC ones, but also, you know, Roseanne, Growing Pains, what have you. It was just those nights, where, you know, it was dinner and then sitting down and kind of watching TV and catching up with the family. And we just want to create a place where you could do that, where your kids would be entertained, but you’d also be entertained as the parents. And you know, I don’t know if we have a message, because we’re not really proselytizing about anything, just trying to kind of paint a fun world to be in that’s at once relatable, but also aspirational, you know, really focus on the great moments of parenting, and, you know, when things actually do work out.
Anthony Anderson: You know, really, the same thing that Charlie said. You know, I grew up in a point in time, you know, watching Cosby and watching other shows where we got together as a family, and sat in front of the television and watched these shows, in fellowship as a family. And, you know, some of these shows had messages to them without beating you over the head that you could take and impart to your family. That’s what I want people to take away from this, you know, just to sit back. Because the way we watch television now and entertained, and you know, especially with me, having a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old, things are just so fragmented now. You know, my daughter’s off with her volleyball schedule and her friends. You know, my son is off playing his video games and online with his friends, you know. I think this is show that, you know, will and can bring the family back together for at least a half hour, you know, after dinner, you know, for family time, which is what we used to do when we watched television growing up. That’s what I hope people, you know, take away from this. And, you know, it sounds kind of cliché and corny and hokey-dokey, but, you know, to bring the family back together again. That’s what I hope for.
Q: What did you do as a family this summer, any fun road trips or vacations?
Anthony Anderson: No fun road trips or vacations this summer. We started the show, you know, in August, so, what they were were volleyball trips for my daughter with her traveling team, you know, a couple of trips to the beach, a couple of trips to (unintelligible) Park. You know, my kids like simple stuff. They don’t really care for traveling unless we’re going overseas or to Hawaii. And I’m like, look, until you guys get a job and pull your weight, we’re going to cut back on some of that stuff. But, it was just a lot of family barbecues at the house, you know, with my immediate family and my kids’ friends, and so that’s what we did, you know, intimate time at home by the pool and just dinner.
Q: Is there anything that you’ve both taken away that you learned and helped you in parenting your own children, other than to spend more time with them?
Charlie Grandy: You know, other than just spend more time with them, for me it’s yes, I mean, it’s hard because I’m you know, I’m writing the show, so, you know, it’s more the opposite. It’s like bringing in, it’s as my kids get older, and you sort of, as they become more individualistic and are teaching you more about yourself, it’s how can you fold that into the show as the other way around. You know, I think it’s interesting for me, the writing process, because there are so many dads on the writing staff, it’s interesting that we’re writing about parenting, you know, there are a lot of sort of disagreements about what to do in certain situations. So I think the show has made me more, certainly more open to other styles of parenting that aren’t my own, because everyone on the show is so smart, and you know, has such great kids, and it’s just sort of been a nice, open forum for honest discussion about, you know, parenting. You’ll see that in some of the episodes, you know, what to do when your kid’s acting up, what to do when, you know, kids are stealing, and you know, there’s no one right way, you just have to figure out what works for you and your family.
Anthony Anderson: Yes, you know, I’ve already learned from my mistakes as a parent. So, what I’m taking away from the show is just spending more time with my kids, you know, that’s what I’m learning. I’m learning how to carve out time out of my professional life and my individual personal time to spend more time with my family — my wife and my kids.