"Everybody is just going after whatever you gotta get," James says of New York. "It doesn't matter. You got a goal, you do it. Everyday life. These people are real here."
What do his Long Island buddies say now that he's on TV?
"'You going to get me on?' That's what they say, 'When's my episode?' I say, 'You got to wait.'
"No, they're happy for me. It's great. We had a blast coming up doing standup together. This is just another level. It's a lot of fun."
One of those standup buddies is Ray Romano, star of Everybody Loves Raymond. James had a recurring role on the show before his own big break.
"We just laugh. How did 'goofy' and 'chubby' get a show? An hour on primetime, same network, same night. It's incredible."
In King of Queens James plays a parcel deliveryman whose idea of nirvana is an evening of football in front of the big-screen TV.
"Guys just keep coming over. She says, 'Oh God, the guys are here again.' That type of thing. But she lets me do it. She yells at them. That's the thing about this relationship. We argue a lot, but it's great."
But when his just-widowed 75-year-old father-in-law, played by Jerry Stiller, comes to live with them, James not only loses his basement playroom, he gains a roommate:
"I laughed at him so much on Seinfeld When he's in front of my face, yelling or doing something, I break every take. The crew is getting so angry with me."
The last time a show about a blue collar family man from Queens was on CBS, it became a TV classic. That was All in the Family. When asked about any comparisons, James said he'd love the comparison to that show, but he feels his character is no Archie Bunker.
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