Fanhattan Interview: Brad Garrett & Elizabeth Perkins on How to Live With Your Parents
•• On How to Live With your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), Polly (Sarah Chalke) has to move back home with her mom Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins) and stepfather Max (Brad Garrett) after her divorce. Max and Elaine were already pretty swinging throughout Polly’s childhood, as we see in flashbacks, so they’re at a real loss with their grown-up daughter.
Brad Garrett: Fred, how are you?
Elizabeth Perkins: Hi, Fred.
Brad Garrett: I’m fighting the hiccups. This is very embarrassing.
Elizabeth Perkins: Brad has the hiccups.
Brad Garrett: I had a breakfast burrito the size of my head. How are you, Fred?Fanhattan: Good. This is just print so no one will hear you hiccuping.
Elizabeth Perkins: Awesome!
Brad Garrett: Good, all right.
Fanhattan: Were you each offered the roles on How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) or did you have to go out for them?
Elizabeth Perkins: I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it might screw up my career.
Brad Garrett: I had to go for it. I had to go for it actually. It’s something that I wasn’t initially offered and when I knew that Ms. Perkins and Sarah was involved, I said, “This is comedic gold. What do I have to do?” And they said, “Well, you need a time machine and a lobotomy.” So I went for it.
Elizabeth Perkins: He got both.
Brad Garrett: I went for it. I had a reading with this amazing Ms. Perkins who was incredibly generous and amazing to read with.
Elizabeth Perkins: And I loved him right away.
Brad Garrett: And we had a chemistry.
Elizabeth Perkins: I just thought he was so adorable.
Brad Garrett: We had a little bit of a chemistry and I bought her a tennis bracelet.
Elizabeth Perkins: He did.
Fanhattan: Brad, in your research, did you find that the military really has a height cutoff, as Max says?
Brad Garrett: Well, I was told, when my mom tried to get me drafted into the military, that would just deal with the takeover of a kibbutz, that you couldn’t be over 6’7” in the military. But now I think Bush opened that up, that you can even be a circus performer.
Fanhattan: Are you glad the economy has tanked so there can be this funny show about moving back in with your parents?
Elizabeth Perkins: Oh, I’m not glad the economy tanks and I don’t think Max and Elaine are either.
Brad Garrett: You know, we love our empty nest, Fred. Look, we feel like we raised Polly. A weekend, that’s one thing.
Elizabeth Perkins: A holiday maybe.
Brad Garrett: This is getting a little intrusive and we’re kind of like wow.
Elizabeth Perkins: She basically takes over the whole right wing of the house.
Brad Garrett: We love how it mirrors what a lot of people are going through. I think since the Depression, this is probably the largest amount of people that are moving back in. I’ll tell you what’s happening. A lot of people are moving back in with their grandparents. This is something that I’m thinking about doing. Of course it would take a seance.
Elizabeth Perkins: You couldn’t pay me to move in with my parents.
Brad Garrett: I would rather live with the grandparents.
Elizabeth Perkins: They wouldn’t want me there. They may act like they would want me there but deep down inside they wouldn’t, which is Max and Elaine. That’s sort of how they’re feeling, because they’re a little wild. They like to party, they like to have friends over. Like Brad was saying, they’re enjoying their empty nest and this is a bit of an intrusion.
Fanhattan: I know, they used to have key parties and everything!
Elizabeth Perkins: Yeah, right? And now we have to wear clothes and be normal, and we don’t want to be.
Brad Garrett: We don’t.
Elizabeth Perkins: No, we enjoy our weirdness.
Brad Garrett: And I’m sure there are parents out there that are going through this.
Elizabeth Perkins: But what do you say? No, you can’t come home?
Brad Garrett: If you say no, there’s no show. We thought of saying no.
Elizabeth Perkins: We tried to say no. She won’t go away.
Brad Garrett: Those takes didn’t make it in the pilot. There was a take where we went, “No” and closed the door.
Fanhattan: Maybe Max and Elaine could’ve been their own show without Polly.
Elizabeth Perkins: Oh, no.
Brad Garrett: Oh, I don’t think so. What are you trying to do to us, Fred?
Elizabeth Perkins: I think Max and Elaine would looooove it. Polly is the foil. I’m looking at Fanhattan. Fred gets it. You do get it, Fred.
Fanhattan: Oh good. Then let’s talk about what TV shows you each like to watch.
Elizabeth Perkins: Modern Family.
Brad Garrett: She’s the Sheriff.
Fanhattan: Good call, Brad.
Brad Garrett: Thank you. Is that over? I think that’s on Nick at Nite.
Elizabeth Perkins: It’s not even on Nick at Nite.
Brad Garrett: Anything with Tootie from Facts of Life. I’m a big Modern Family fan.
Elizabeth Perkins: I like Modern Family, I do, and then after that I kind of watch a lot of dramas, although I do watch Suburgatory and The Middle.
Brad Garrett: I was a big Curb fan. I like Curb.
Elizabeth Perkins: Curb, yeah.
Brad Garrett: And I want The Sopranos to come back.
Elizabeth Perkins: I watch Walking Dead.
Brad Garrett: That’s good. Barnaby Jones, oh, I saw a two parter the other night.
Elizabeth Perkins: Looove it. That and Quincy.
Brad Garrett: Quincy I love.
Fanhattan: So a mix of classic TV, some comedy and drama?
Elizabeth Perkins: Oh, I love classic TV.
Brad Garrett: That’s right. I miss the old stuff, Freddie. That’s how you know you’re getting old.
Elizabeth Perkins: All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda.
Brad Garrett: Oh, the best.
Fanhattan: You’ve both been on some great long running shows yourselves, like Everybody Loves Raymond and Weeds. Can you tell when you’re onto something, this early in How to Live With Your Parents?
Elizabeth Perkins: I can’t tell.
Brad Garrett: No, I don’t think you can tell.
Elizabeth Perkins: At all.
Brad Garrett: Especially early on.
Elizabeth Perkins: Especially early on.
Brad Garrett: You work in a bubble. You really don’t know what’s going on out there.
Elizabeth Perkins: And you just do the best job you can.
Brad Garrett: So many things have to fall in line and people have to watch it and buy it and believe it.
Elizabeth Perkins: And you just never know. There were some shows I was a part of that I thought, “Oh, this is completely amazing and wonderful” and just nothing. I have a lot of faith in this simply because I think the writing was good and the actors all got along. I think we really made a family.
Brad Garrett: Well, I got along. I got along with people.
Elizabeth Perkins: We really made a family and we all really fell in with each other’s energies and had a good time.
Brad Garrett: Chemistry is huge.
Fanhattan: Are Max and Elaine good parents, aside from all the weirdness?
Elizabeth Perkins: No.
Brad Garrett: No.
Elizabeth Perkins: Not at all.
Brad Garrett: They’re really not. They’re.
Elizabeth Perkins: Selfish. Self-involved.
Brad Garrett: Like most parents. I would say they’re like most parents, they’re not that great.
Elizabeth Perkins: No, they make a lot of mistakes, but they have good hearts. Well, maybe not. Not always.
Brad Garrett: I don’t know, we have good intentions.
Elizabeth Perkins: Good intentions. Selfish intensions but they’re always good. And I think deep down inside a lot of people feel that way. They just don’t admit it.
Brad Garrett: We want to be the new Shields and Yarnell.
Fanhattan: Your banter is great. How long did it take to get to this point where you riff off each other so smoothly?
Elizabeth Perkins: It was instantaneous.
Brad Garrett: It was. First day of rehearsal.
Elizabeth Perkins: I fell in love with him the minute he walked through the door.
Brad Garrett: I’ve had a thing for her for a long time.
Elizabeth Perkins: Years. He used to stalk me.
Brad Garrett: Not stalk. Follow with my headlights off. It was to conserve. I was thinking green.
Elizabeth Perkins: We never met though. We’d actually never met each other.
Brad Garrett: Well, I wasn’t allowed around the compound. I live in Oakwood. She has her own cul de sac in Beverly Hills.
Elizabeth Perkins: We’d never met each other. I just loved him instantaneously. He’s very easy to work with and he’s a comic genius.
Brad Garrett: I hope it goes forever.
Elizabeth Perkins: I hope it does.
Brad Garrett: No one will ever feel that way about me. Thank you.
Elizabeth Perkins: Aw, no problem.