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Billy Gardell: “The gift that keeps giving”

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Billy Gardell.
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If you’re missing My Name is Earl after its recent cancellation, head over to Bonkerz Comedy Club this weekend where you can see one of its stars, Billy Gardell, doing stand up.

As Officer Hoyne on Earl and Billy on Yes, Dear, Gardell has been cracking up the prime time crowd for the better part of this decade. Now, he gets to take center stage as the headlining comedian at Bonkerz.

“Bonkerz Comedy Club is the club I got started at in Orlando, Fla. I started there in ’87 and they haven’t given me a raise yet but I keep hopin’.”

The Weekly caught up with Gardell when he was, “in the kitchen wiping down the stove and the floor for my wife.”

“How about that?” he chuckled. “She got a winner. I’m the gift that keeps giving.”

Have you performed in Las Vegas before?

Calendar

Billy Gardell at Bonkerz Comedy Club
Thursday 8 p.m., Friday 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., Saturday 8 p.m. and 10 p.m..
$19.95-$29.95
Bonkerz Comedy Club at Palace Station
367-2411

I’ve been to Vegas in some of the bigger hotels, but I kind of dig what Bonkerz is doing. They’ve really catered to the locals. And I think that’s really cool. I think that some of the entertainment people miss that there’s a good pocket of locals there that you need to tap into. I’m looking forward to gambling and swimming. I’ve got a six year old so he likes to hit that pool, man. He loves it, that’s his favorite thing.

You have been in comedy since the late ‘80s. How has the comedy world changed over the last few decades?

It’s gotten younger with more hair products. I don’t even know what they’re saying anymore. I’ve had a very good career. I mean, I have no complaints.

How do you feel about shows like Last Comic Standing?

I think that every time someone touches a button for YouTube, they should get an electric shock, like a monkey in a lab. Then maybe it will correct itself. I remember when to have some sort of success in entertainment you had to have some kind of skill. It seems now that if you can burp really loud and really long and you put it on camera, then you get a development deal. It’s terrible.

What was it like going on the road at such a young age? I heard you were performing in bars where you couldn’t even drink yet.

Yeah and I was drinking at bars that I couldn’t even drink at yet. It was good, man. I don’t know how else to say it, but I’ve lived a pretty charmed life. Since I got to be an entertainer early, I got to experience an incredible amount of lack of responsibility and freedom to build my act around. And then I settled down and got married, had a child and then I stabilized and built my act around that. I’ve been very, very fortunate.

How bummed are you that My Name is Earl was canceled?

You know, I’ve been on so many canceled shows that I kind of get used to the sting when it happens. I really am upset about that one because the executive producer of that show, Greg Garcia, also wrote a show called Yes Dear, which I was on before that. I absolutely love going to work for this guy. He’s the opposite of what you think a Hollywood producer should be. He’s talented, he’s kind, he’s giving and he keeps employing me. Plus I’m going to miss the cast on that show. They were so great- Jason Lee was a great guy, Ethan Suplee, Jamie Presley- they were all really nice people to work with. I’m sure it’ll be replaced with someone eating a cockroach or something, something fascinating like that.

Which comics today make you laugh?

I think the best guy out there is probably Billy Burr and Brian Regan; they’re my two favorites right now. Billy just did an hour long special on Comedy Central, really, really funny. My favorites who have passed would have to be Gleason, Pryor and Carlin. The father, the son and the holy ghost.

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