Watch CBS News

Billy Gardell On His Goal For 'Bob Hearts Abishola':'We're Hoping To Provide A Half Hour Of Laughs'

Bob Hearts Abishola will air it's final episode before going on hiatus tonight at 8:30 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Billy Gardell stars as Bob in his second go with America's Most Watched Network after his successful run on Mike And Molly.

CBS Local's Matt Weiss caught up with Gardell to discuss the show's first season and his ultimate goal for bringing happiness to viewer's TVs.

MW: Good morning Billy, the last time we spoke you talked about how happy you were just happy to get a second chance after Mike and Molly, so now that you're almost through a full season of Bob Hearts Abishola how do you feel about the project now?

BG: You know man, I'm blown away by what's happened this year. It's such a sweet, kind show and it's received so wonderfully. We had a freshman hit and to have a freshman hit on sitcom now is crazy. When you're on a hit sitcom, you think the second one won't go this well but this show has been a great ensemble cast.

I think Chuck Lorre found a beautiful temperature between a working-class family and a family of hardworking immigrants that want to make a better life for their family. They connected beautifully in a real way. I think there's a real kindness to our show and the collaboration and again, the ensemble, every character is funny, every character is interesting and that's a Chuck Lorre staple. So, I'm blown away and I'm so grateful for the success of this show this year. Really am. 

MW: Awesome. You talked about the strong characters. Your character Bob is a huge part of everything. What did you learn playing that character as the season went along? 

BG: You put on the character for the pilot and then you start adding nuances, you start understanding. He would be aggravated at that, or he would like that, or this is probably a habit he has. With all those little things; the character becomes more real. Again, it's about trust of the cast. My co-star, Folake Olowofoyeku is her name, she was a stage actor from England and they found her, and she has this powerful stoicism and yet she can light the room up when she smiles.

Then they found these other beautiful actors to play her family Barry Shabaka [Henley], Shola [Adewusi]. And on my side, we have Christine Ebersole, Matt Jones, and Maribeth [Monroe]. What Chuck does better than anybody is he finds people that you believe and people that you believe know each other. He always says character, character, character because if I don't care about them, I'm not watching. I don't care how good the jokes are. We really have this nice chemistry and I can't believe I landed in it twice. I cannot believe that. 

MW: You're a blessed man. 

BG: My wife says I have a horseshoe in my ass.  [laughs] 

MW: That's another way to say it. [laughs] Shifting gears, with everything going on in the world right now, your show has so much positivity. It's such a great message of inclusion and everyone coming together and really uplifting. What does it mean for you to put on a show with that kind of message with things going on in the world the way they are right now? 

BG: I don't proport to be better than anybody, smarter than anybody, faster than anybody, any of that stuff, all I know is if you do a television show well and it doesn't matter what form of entertainment you're in, whether it's reporting, whether it's radio, it's movies, the most you could hope for is to be a distraction from people's problems from the time you're on. I think if you keep it there, your motivation stays right, and your focus stays right, that's all we're doing.

Today it doesn't matter what we think or what your beliefs are we all have one problem and we have to come together as one people. I think in doing that it takes a lot of effort and I think we need distractions during the day that entertain us so that we can get back to focusing on what we need to do. That's all we're hoping for; to provide a half hour of laughs for you on Monday night.  

MW: And doing an awesome job of it as well. 

BG: Thanks. I'm proud of the show. The show says a lot of nice things, it's about learning about each other and being kind and funny and giving each other room to understand each other. I think that's an important message, very important. 

MW: So as we come up on this week's episode, what do you want people to know before we tune in tonight?

BG: well, for one It's not the season finale. We shut down two weeks early. You do 22 episodes for a full season. We did 20. Tonight, is number 20. So, there's still room to go. We have 21 and the season finale. We'll probably do that in August when we come back or September, whatever it takes.

Tonight, is another entertaining episode that kind of pushes us towards the finale. I think what they're going to do is re-air the show for people who haven't seen it. So that will be nice that it will be on to give people who haven't seen it to get a chance to check out the show. 

MW: And they should. It's an awesome show, it's been a big hit and a little something people need right now. 

BG: Thanks. Yeah, that's all you can do. I can't do what our first responders do, God bless them all and our grocers, all those people. If I can get you to laugh, then I'm here to do that. I'm grateful the way America has stopped when it has to, and I hope we can all get on the same page with this so we can get through this with the least damage as possible.  

MW: And in the meantime, wherever that horseshoe is, keep it right where it is because it's paying dividends.  

BG: Right! [Laughs]  I'm a lucky man, I've been blessed. My wife of 20 years, she keeps me very grounded. She keeps me remembering what's important. Connect with your family in this time, try to find those moments that are very important that you might otherwise might not be able to have. There's a way to get through everything, it's a day at a time, sometimes it's an hour at a time. We will endure, but we have to look out for each other. I'm just blessed and try to help out where I can. 

MW: Thank you so much Billy. It's been awesome talking to you, enjoy the rest of your day.  

BG: You too. I hope I talk to you next year; I hope we're outdoors and we're having coffee somewhere, how about that.  

MW: Deal. 

BG: Be well!

Tune in tonight at 8:30 PM ET/PT for an all-new Bob Hearts Abishola. Check your local listings for more information.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.