Jimmy Kimmel, Fred Willard, Fernwood discussed on Fresh Air

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Shows and movies over his lengthy career ending hundreds more talk shows playing even more characters and also being himself he died last Friday he was eighty six years old earlier this week Jimmy Kimmel devoted an entire show to Fred Willard a favorite guest in sketch player on Jimmy Kimmel live and noted how he had first been introduced to Fred Willard as I had by watching and loving Fernwood tonight the nineteen seventy seven spin off of Norman Lear soap opera spoof Mary Hartman Mary Hartman infirm would tonight Martin mall played smarmy small town Ohio TV talk show host Barth gamble and Fred Willard played his clueless side kick Jerry Hubbard in this clip he surprises the host by reciting some poetry because you'll you'll you'll roll the remember me remember me when I have passed away remember that I lived and died as you will too one day if I can write these few short lines it will not be in vain if after I am dead and gone you still recall my name remember me I think about what your attacks actually that's actually very pretty robust rotor I don't know who knows it's an old phone probably some guidance on Fred Willard and Martin mall would re team two decades later playing a gay couple on Roseanne on television Willard other credits over the years including Emmy nominated recurring roles on everybody loves Raymond and modern family and hosting Saturday Night Live and we haven't even mentioned Fred Willard's movie appearances from Austin powers to anchorman he seemed to pop up everywhere good movie comedy was being made that was true most of all of the largely improvised movies directed by Christopher guest which took full advantage of Willard's improv days at Chicago's second city he played an Air Force lieutenant in this is spinal tap a dog show announcer in best in show of folk group manager in a mighty wind and a TV entertainment reporter in for your consideration very funny movie is very funny performances Terry gross spoke with Fred Willard in nineteen ninety seven they began with a clip from waiting for government in which Willard played a travel agent who with his wife is auditioning for a role in a new community theater musical it commemorates the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Blaine Missouri the director running the addition is played by Christopher guest in Willard's wife an audition partner is played by Catherine o'hara I wonder if they came in here they always you surprised how did you find me I have my ways would you like to come in for coffee you need to and I will be I don't need a harem when you're by my side and you won't need a cat and a model when I right I wonder do we have time for that call what time is it what time is it haven't you been paying attention it's thank you good how would you describe your character and waiting for government well I think I'm a guy who has no self realization he doesn't realize how overbearing he is I married to Catherine o'hara we are travel agents in the small town of Blaine we're very good travel agents even though we've never been outside of Blaine Missouri and we've also been in some of the earlier amateur productions here in this town for instance the musical version of backdraft we are called in to audition for it and we go in sort of being used by the whole thing because we know it's really just a formality that he's making us go through the right out there because we we know that the we are going to be the stars of the show is is that we have been with the other shows and so we try to put on that false humility and there are I say that in a nutshell is are my care my character and I I don't realize how overbearing I am and I enjoy doing it because I get I guess there's also a little bit of that in me I think if I were they just drop that little you know open a little door in your brain this is don't do that or don't say that all this might come out it strikes me you've really made a career out of playing really square people I thank yes I have I but I'm you know I I I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio I I went to a military prep school I also went to attended and graduated from Virginia military institute so I can kind of relate to that that mentality that the very conservative square mentality which always amused me and what you do and something amuses let you like that you try to mimic that and dress yourself in the internet and in it and do it on time in a performance and it's always interested me so I I. tender I grab one of those characters very very easily I was in spinal tap I have once seen that a lot of people seem to remember I was I played the sergeant who welcomes the the hard rock group spinal tap to the airforce base and people said boy you just grab that that character because I can relate to what I understand I've lived with those people I understand their mentality and I've always enjoyed doing it as a result a lot of people think I am very square I was in the I was in a comedy group called the ace trucking company and we have some very colorful characters and I'm I usually play the anchor guy I was always the boss I was always the the guy who is trying to keep discipline and we were in the dress room one night about a Friday night and one of the guys in the other group started talking in the seasonal it's taken all week for me to talk to you I didn't think I would like you because of what I see her on stage and it upset me very much that the G. that's what people are thinking of me what are we actually hear the scene from spinal tap you are final in the final I don't have a grandmother can bobble Treadwell Lindberg airforce base is your gentleman's first visit villagers fine may I start by saying how thrilled we are to have you here we're such fans of your music and all of your records I'm not speaking of yours personally but the whole genre of the rock and roll citing things are happening and let me explain a bit about what's going on this is our monthly add peas weekend there's a chance I got let down our hair although I see you all have a head start these are guys working fast military must be believing although I shouldn't talk I mean there's been a little shaky so but not get too because they don't think I'm part of the band I'm joking question we go in and I'll show you around what this lightly I think one of the places where you perfected this persona of this great guy who really thinks he's happenin and talented was on Fernwood tonight when you own the sidekick for from from Martin mall and finally tonight was this you know parity of on late night talk entertainment shows absolutely it was an improvisers dream because they gave me this character I was supposed to have been the host the star of this small town for in what do you know the the I played cowboys bill and I'd probably hosted the late night movie and the matinee and I had a probably a game show here's this new sharpie comes in from Miami who is Martin mall and I'm I'm deflated the so it's a perfect character to play you could be get **** you could put all pull out all the stops of of of censoring yourself I was a bit stupid so I anything I said nothing could go wrong with what I said because it fit right into the character since you have made such a career on playing square can you give us some tips on on how to be convincingly square I think you have to keep your eye on one object that is let's get down to business you can be amused what's going about you were in a very offhand that could be one of the tangents yes and if you're a music something you let it be known that your music yes I I I am amused at what you've said and I enjoy a good laugh as well as the next man but let's get back to the point in hand you see the point you can't ever you actually have no sense of humor but the people have the lease as if you are usually the ones who are the first to say I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next man and you know what follows that is box very serious and so that's it you've got to strip away any sense of humor you have and I just know that there's some bottom line there which I've never heard this this site for dinner what the bottom line is getting some job accomplished I guess and IBM and I've always dreaded there happened to be in that atmosphere I found myself in it when I went to New York I worked in a in an office of credit office was a subsidiary of dun and Bradstreet an idea for a couple of years had a boss wife kinda emulated when or when I have to play a boss or someone whose very strict I can remember him he was just a big blow hard and you could see right through him and I was on the brink of being fired for two years every time I was ready to be fired someone else in my department would quit or leave and that I'd be back in his good graces I remember near the end I would come in I remember one morning over sleeping and coming in like at ten thirty and walking the also my friends were walking out of the office they're going to coffee break I see where you're going is we're going to get caught his foot turned around and got coffee with them so I would I said if I can come in at ten thirty I might as well walk in eleven here's a hint for people are working in an office and have one foot in the office on one four foot out when you leave at night leave your sport you're your jacket there so when you walk in the door later in your shirt in your shirt sleeve so the boss assumes that maybe you were there even earlier than him and he feels a little guilty that he and he'll come in a little early the next day to see at what time you actually did get in that those a little trick I'm giving away for free no that's good thank you very much so how do you wear your hair when you're not on camera well I think that is the strangest question I've ever been asked I'll have to remember that I asked yes I am a straight over my forehead like the Eisen show no I work pretty much the same I I've I did like my here doing waiting for Gotham where I was playing what I thought would be curly from Oklahoma in curls over my forehead I looked at that I said my gosh I was trying to be funny but I look darn good there stylized away I had to adopt on this question for you how come I don't see you in more things you know I'll give you may phone number of my agent who called me after every job is how to get that you know I don't know I I have last year and this year I really a streak of gold I was on Murphy brown I went to family matters I went to friends I went to Roseanne I mean I went like eight weeks in a row without missing a week work is Willard you realize name no my real name is Johnny fortune but the well yes it is Fred Willard yes that's it I'm stuck with that is that it's not the most glamorous but it's it's mine yes Fred Willard thank you so much for talking with us thank you for having me on Fred Willard speaking to Terry gross in nineteen ninety seven the familiar comic actor from so many TV and movie comedies died last Friday he was eighty six years old coming up film critic Justin Chang reviews the trip to Greece the.

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