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Brett Gelman Talks About Playing a Mess on FX’s Married [INTERVIEW] 

Brett Gelman Talks About Playing a Mess on FX’s Married [INTERVIEW]
Photo Credit: Matthias Clamer/FX
Photo Credit: Matthias Clamer/FX
Photo Credit: Matthias Clamer/FX

Brett Gelman plays A.J. on FX’s Married. He’s the kind of actor that excels at playing the eccentric. On NBC’s Go On, he was the odd bird that had the serious man crush on Matthew Perry’s Ryan King. On Married, he plays a guy who’s wealthy, eccentric, edgy and a total mess. We first meet A.J. after a painful breakup. So he’s been busy navigating life in an unpredictable, sometimes off putting, but always interesting way.

TV Goodness was part of  a press call where Gelman talked about how he got this role and about the mess of a character he so fabulously plays.

On working with the Married cast

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX
Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Brett Gelman: I had known Jenny [Slate] and Judy [Greer] prior to starting the show. And Nat Faxon is the type of person that when you meet him, you feel like you’ve known him for 20 years; he’s just a very gregarious, very easy person to like. And we did hang out some, although people were really busy as well with, you know, Jenny’s movie was opening and Judy was promoting her book, so some of the social time was limited. But it’s such an awesome crew that a couple of minutes together socially was like hanging out for a couple of hours.

We’re all people who work really hard and take our work seriously, but also like to have a lot of fun. [Creator] Andrew Gurland really created an environment that made everybody feel like you were very focused, but at the same time the focus was just a blast. Those are three very, very, very funny, very kind people that I work with and we just would crack each other up. It was great.  It was super easy.

On playing such a mess

Brett: He doesn’t get better till much later in the season. He stays a mess and gets messier. I mean, Andrew is so brilliant at really pulling very funny things out of human struggle and a lot of different situations get created that AJ makes happen that are just so out there and so screwed up, but that they never lose their humor. I don’t want to ruin anything, but everybody definitely gets mad at me a lot.

On why he’s can’t get past the breakup

Brett: I don’t think A.J. got a divorce. I discussed this a lot with Andrew. A.J. didn’t cheat on his wife; he didn’t do like an act that caused her to leave him. What caused her to leave him was that I think he was just very tuned out through all of his marriage, and that’s almost worse just because he wasn’t present, he wasn’t a present husband, he wasn’t a present father just because of his personality and the flaws of his personality. And he’s realizing that there are these flaws in his personality too late and she is this beacon of failure for him. That is really where the drugs and alcohol, the stuff is coming into play, is kind of punishing himself for that mistake.

MARRIED -- Pictured: Regina Hall as Roxanne. CR. Prashant Gupta/FX
Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

He’s not married to Regina [Hall’s character] at all anymore.  I mean, that’s a major wife to lose. That’s a beautiful, incredible woman that is the woman of all women. So who wouldn’t just go and do a downward spiral after her leaving you?

On how he got the role

Brett: Well, the audition, Andrew Gurland and I met briefly a couple of times and then five years ago, he had watched me a bunch when I was performing a lot at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. And I think he specifically reached out to me to play this; he had me in mind, it was a blind audition. He definitely — I think — really wanted me to play the part.

I’ve been a mess at times in my life. Not to say that I’ve struggled with drugs and alcohol, but I’m a real Jew. I can be dark. But then I use that to be funny in my life and I think that’s what A.J. does; he makes a lot of humor out of his darkness and I really connected to that. But acting is not easy.  I mean, Andrew is an incredible writer and with incredible writing it presents a lot of challenges that you really have to tackle and you really have to work really hard on.  But that’s just so great, that type of challenge is so rewarding and fulfilling, especially when people like it.

Synopsis for tonight’s Married: Lina encourage Russ to consider a shady real estate deal. Jess’s boss puts her in an uncompromising position.

Just fyi…A.J. encourages this whole shady real estate deal. It’s through a new woman he starts dating. And in true Married fashion, things get twisted and uncomfortable and hilarious.

Married airs tonight at 10/9c on FX.

Edited for space and content.

-Additional reporting by Kara Howland

 Promo for “Waffles & Pizza”

Photo Credit for Following Images: Prashant Gupta/FX

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  1. Heather M

    I *still* don’t understand how Go On didn’t get a second season but I’m glad he’s landed somewhere fun.

    1. Tina Charles

      Well, you know I’m with you all the way. The fact that Go On isn’t on still crushes me.

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