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George Wendt Talks Clipped and Cheers [Exclusive] 

Photo Credit: TBS
Photo Credit: TBS

Starting tonight TBS drops a new comedy on the masses and it’s called Clipped.

Series Synopsis: Clipped centers on a group of barbershop coworkers who all went to high school together but ran in very different crowds. Now they find themselves working together at Buzzy’s.

The TBS series also stars an actor from one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Everyone knows his name. (How many people have used that line?) George Wendt — Norm from Cheers — exclusively talked to TV Goodness about his classic comedy; his new show; and playing one half of an older gay couple along with the former dad from Family Matters, Reginald VelJohnson.

TV Goodness: Tell me a little bit about Clipped and your character.

George Wendt: Clipped is a very, sort of old school 4 camera sitcom, ensemble work place comedy set in Boston in a barbershop. And I play the former owner of the shop. The shop is called Buzzy’s and I play Buzzy. And I’m a geezer, and this one boy bought the shop from me and more or less the proviso was, ‘yeah, you can buy the shop but you have to keep the name and I get to keep my chair.’  He hires all his high school buddies to be barbers, not all of them but he hires our ensemble and that’s pretty much our show. It’s not about me, that is for damn sure. It’s about eight 20-somethings who have their whole lives, hopes and dreams ahead of them, and it’s fun to discover just as the series unfolds.

TV Goodness: What I liked in the pilot, is when they introduce you, you’re having this conversation with a gentleman about sports and you are fighting and all of a sudden you get up and kiss each other and you realize that you’re a couple. Which I love because it’s not such a stereotypical gay character.

George: Max and Dave, the writers — David Kohan and Max Mutchnick — they have a lot of experience writing gay characters, Will & Grace of course. They were very…they just wanted me to not make a big deal out of it at all. They don’t think it needs to make a big splash.

TV Goodness: No, and that’s why I liked it. It’s not a big deal. I think that when people become more accepting of every type of person, the more it’s not going to be a big deal and I kind of like that. What was it about this particular pilot script that made you want to get involved? Was it because of the creators?

George: Yeah, it feels like, when Jim Burrows was on board with Will & Grace, it feels like we are all part of the same Jim Burrows family tree in a way. So it was a real comfortable first meeting with Dave and Max. The script is hilarious. And their track record is so great and our director, on this is Jamie Widdoes who is also an old pal, over the decades. It was just right in my wheelhouse.

TV Goodness: And how do you like working with the other actors? Ashley Tisdale is probably the most recognizable. How do you like working with this cast?

George: Terrific! It’s one of the best things about working, getting to meet and getting to work with all these young people and they are just so talented and energetic. And they are all really nice. Max and Dave have been around long enough to realize that no one wants to work with people who aren’t team players. They’re just great. Ashley’s amazing and the other kids have a tremendous improv background: Improv Olympics, Groundlings. There’s a big improvisational feel on the set. I mean where, honest to God we are not improvising that much, but just the feel that improv actors bring from these excellent lines from David and Max.

TV Goodness: I mean that’s your wheelhouse. You come from Second City so it must be a nice feeling to work with actors with similar backgrounds.

George: Yes. No one is freaking out. ‘When you give me this line I can’t feel, these last minute changes!’ Everyone’s like bring it, bring it, bring it! Bring more changes, we love it. Max and David rewrite every scene, after every take on the night of shooting. It’s fun!

TV Goodness: So our website is called TV Goodness and what I like to ask people when I interview them is what are you watching on television right now? Is there stuff that you cannot miss? Are there any TV shows that you love?

George: Some of them are just recently departed: big fan of Boardwalk Empire. My wife and I really like Togetherness on HBO, there are only about 6 of them. It’s very interesting.

TV Goodness: It’s been over 20 years since Cheers. Do you miss it? Do people still come up to you everyday and say hello. Does it bother you or does it make you happy you brought joy to people’s lives from that show?

George: You know I miss it. You know how I can tell I miss it?  It’s in my dreams!  You know how you go on a diet or something and you dream about pizza?

TV Goodness: Uh, huh! Absolutely!

George: It’s like that! That’s how I know I miss it. I will be laughing in my dream and Burrows would say, you know what, that’s great. Let’s put that in the show. And then I wake up and there’s no show. My dreams will morph into Jamie Widdoes cackling away at something that happened in rehearsal. It’s great.

TV Goodness: Do you ever have to pay for a beer?

George: Yes, I buy my own beer. (Laughs) But I do get a lot of beers bought for me, that happens.  But very early on, like the first couple, the first three years of Cheers. People would be, ‘Oh, let me buy you a beer.’ And I would always be, ‘don’t be ridiculous let me buy you one.’ And like, their faces would sink. Now they will buy me a beer and take a selfie with it.

TV Goodness: Before I leave you, I just want to ask why should people watch the show?

George: Watch the show? To get introduced to a hilarious, young cast with great heart and insight…unbelievably, edgy, raunchy jokes in any situation.

Yes, George Wendt is more than you can ask for, he is not only talented he is very kind and generous. Make sure you watch Clipped!

Clipped premieres tonight on TBS at 10/9c.

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