You and Kelsey Grammer have the same agent. But how did you end up on a sitcom together?
Our agent had been suggesting that we try to find something to do together. [Creators] Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, who know Kelsey and have worked with him, came to him with this project. I got the script while I was doing a play in New York. Kelsey had requested that I take a look at the part, and I loved it.
Why did the part appeal to you?
It was a real departure from what I had been doing. That’s key if you’ve done the same role for many years and you’re imprinted in people’s minds in one way. The trick is to find something that’s different enough — that’s challenging for you, that would be interesting to do — but also has enough qualities that are natural to you so that it’s not such a huge stretch for the audience to believe you as this new character.
So what’s it like to work with Kelsey Grammer?
It’s funny, because the characters he mostly portrays are persnickety, uptight persons. But in real life, he’s laid-back, easygoing, really professional but doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s just found that perfect balance.