I spoke with Steve Schirripa about Uncle Steve’s Italian Specialties, Blue Bloods, The Sopranos, and so much more. Steve plays Anthony in the hit show Blue Bloods. The last episode featured a tidbit from Anthony’s past that led to some pretty great lines. I’m looking forward to Friday’s all-new episode. Of course, everyone knows Steve as Bobby from The Sopranos. Be sure to visit his website and use the store locator if you are looking to purchase Uncle Steve’s locally. If it is unavailable near you, you can also get it shipped directly to your house. You have no excuse not to try it. Blue Bloods airs Friday nights at 10/9c on CBS.
Lena: The Bert and Ernie Christmas Special clip that you were in where they wanted to fade to black never gets old. I know it’s been a long time, but what were some of the funniest things that people said to you after that ending on The Sopranos?
Steve Schirripa: When we watched it together the first time, nine of us watched it together while we were in Florida, some people were stunned even though we all knew what was going to happen. Some people hated it and some people loved it. Me personally, it took another time or two to watch it and I thought it was a great ending. People to this day stop me to say, “What the heck with that ending?” The problem was that there were too many conspiracy theories out there and for a while I bought into them myself, even though I knew it wasn’t true.
Lena: Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes on your Uncle Steve’s website. It’s about time someone put out a high quality pasta sauce that doesn’t taste like it came out of a jar.
Steve Schirripa: If you didn’t see the jar, there is no way that you would know that.
Lena: Can you talk about your sauce and how it feels to have a product that you can really stand behind?
Steve Schirripa: A couple of years ago a friend of mine came up to me, my mother had passed away, and said let’s do something in honor of your mother. We got her recipe and made it healthier, gluten free, and non-GMO. My wife is a marathon runner and she eats organic, so we made it healthier. It took us a while to get it exactly how we wanted it, and I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a jar sauce before ours. It’s absolutely terrific. My wife hasn’t made sauce since we started this. She used to make sauce all the time. It’s that good. Friends of mine, who are not jar sauce eaters, all love it. It’s going well and it’s growing. We are in 3,000 stores—Whole Foods, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Albertsons—it’s really growing. It takes a while. I’ve never been in that kind of business before. I’ve learned a lot and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve met a lot of nice people along the way, so far, so good.
Lena: Are you working on any new products?
Steve Schirripa: We are. We have products waiting in the wings. We are working on a vodka sauce and some other products—olive oil and some pasta but we don’t want to get too big, too quick. Right now it’s just these three.
Lena: I’m so happy that Blue Bloods has been renewed.
Steve Schirripa: Thanks. It’s a great show. I’m happy to be a part of it. I’ve shot eight episodes this season. On the 29th, I have a really big episode. I’ve never really watched the show. I don’t really watch a lot of TV, believe it or not. I binge-watched it. It’s a terrific show with a great cast and writing. I’m happy to be a part of it. It’s the highest-rated TV show on Friday night.
Lena: All they need is more Anthony in the show.
Steve Schirripa: There you go. I’m with you. They have given me some great ones. Of the eight, five of them were really big episodes, so it was nice of them to have the confidence in me to give me that, you know, so early on. We’ll see what happens next year, but I’m very happy. It shoots here on the streets of New York. New York is, kind of, another cast member because it plays such a big part in the show. It’s a really good thing.
Lena: It’s not just my opinion. You’re a fan favorite. Anthony is just one of those characters that you immediately like.
Steve Schirripa: That’s good to hear. He’s a regular guy that says what he thinks. I think he’s smart. He doesn’t care what he looks like and just wants to eat. I’ve met a lot of cops since I’ve been doing the show. He’s a smart, hard-working guy, and he’s been around the block. Bridget Moynahan, who plays Erin, is just a terrific actress. I think we make a good combo. Erin is prim and proper and I’m the complete opposite, so it works pretty well.
Lena: Anthony always has Erin’s back and yet she’s pretty tough on him.
Steve Schirripa: She’s tough. She knows what she wants. She’s a really, really good actress. She’s always prepared and from the first scene we worked on together, we just clicked. That doesn’t always happen.
Lena: Do you think Erin ever hurts his feelings?
Steve Schirripa: Nah. He doesn’t care about that.
Lena: [Laughs] She’s always correcting his grammar.
Steve Schirripa: Nah. I don’t think he cares about that. I don’t even think he understands it. What’s the problem? [Laughs]
Lena: Do you think they should invite Anthony to dinner sometime?
Steve Schirripa: I think the dinner is only for family. I think it’s closed off to only family members, as it should be.
Lena: They could invite Anthony and you could bring some Uncle Steve’s sauce.
Steve Schirripa: That would be great. Now you are talking! They would like my sauce. If you’ve noticed, they don’t eat that much. In my scenes, I really eat. They all watch their weight and obviously, Anthony doesn’t care. [Laughs]
Lena: What can you say about the last few episodes and what we can expect from Anthony? [“Down the Rabbit Hole” was one of the best episodes. It was also wonderful to learn more about Anthony. “Tony the Bat would say that you always step up to the plate.”]
Steve Schirripa: He unveils to her that his father was in the mob. That’s a part of Anthony that we didn’t know anything about. I tell her that my father was a mobster and I turned out okay.
Lena: Are you coming back next season?
Steve Schirripa: I don’t know. I haven’t made a deal for next season. Hopefully.
Lena: Any future book plans or more theater work?
Steve Schirripa: No, no book plans. I have a movie coming out next month, Chasing Yesterday. I play a priest, a neighborhood guy that’s a priest. That’s good. It’s a young filmmaker Joe Pernice. I also executive produced a movie from a Canadian director called Blur and he’s done a nice job with that. It’s on the festival circuit. I’m on hold with the books. My last book was Big Daddy’s Rules Raising Daughters is Tougher Than I Look. If I think of something, or something strikes my fancy. This one was about raising daughters, a comedic look. I don’t know what’s next. I’ve written six books and something has to come to me.
I did Guys and Dolls. I did one night only. It was a benefit at Carnegie Hall with Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, Sierra Boggess, and all these great Tony winners and Tony nominated actors. I got a nine-day course in musical theater with some of the greatest people. Working with Nathan Lane was fantastic. I’ve never been so scared in my whole life. I loved every minute of it, but I was just really scared because it was all new to me. If it were something like that, I would do. I’m not one for off-off-Broadway in a theater with just 25 people. I’ve been offered some stuff, but I just didn’t think that I would enjoy it. I enjoyed playing Carnegie Hall. The place was packed and I can’t even say that it was a dream come true because it was so surreal, but that was a nice experience.
Blue Bloods airs Friday nights at 10/9c on CBS.
Follow Steve on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenSchirripa
Steve’s website: http://steveschirripa.com/
Steve’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SteveSchirripaOfficial
Uncle Steve’s: http://unclestevesny.com/
Uncle Steve’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/UncleStevesNY
Blue Bloods: http://www.cbs.com/shows/blue_bloods/