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"Mike and Molly" star has salty side in stand-up

CBS' breakout comedy, "Mike and Molly," is in its second season -- and hotter than ever -- thanks in part to its cast of big stars.

But they're not necessarily used to the limelight.

CBS' Mo Rocca recently caught up Billy Gardell, who plays "Mike Biggs" on the hit show. At the time, Gardell was doing what he knows well -- performing stand-up, at Connecticut's Foxwoods Resort Casino.

In fact, the 42-year-old comic and actor spent more than 20 years doing stand-up on the road, with some small parts here and there, until he landed the role of a lifetime -- the big-hearted, big-boned cop on "Mike and Molly."

Gardell says people flock to the show because they recognize the characters.

He said, "They identify with, 'Hey these two aren't perfect, but they are trying to get it together,' and I think that is a common thread that goes throughout this country. It's a real thing."

But the show's star, known for his portrayal of an overweight cop, recently slimmed down somewhat.

Mo Rocca said, "You've trimmed down a little bit, right?"

"Yeah, I've lost 25 pounds," Gardell said, and laughed. "I lost one chin."

But what happens if the star loses weight?

Gardell said, "I don't know: I think I get healthier right? The producer of our show, Mark Roberts, has been really kind about it. He says, 'Listen, I'll write it. Go do your path, get healthy. I just want you to be healthy.' I am doing the best I can with it, but like I have said before, sometimes the cake wins, nothing you can do."

While his plate is pretty full with his sitcom, stand-up remains his first love.

It it's not exactly the guy you see on TV. Where Mike is sweet, Gardell can be downright salty, sometimes swearing in his act.

His stand-up touches on everything from getting older: "You know you are getting old when you hurt yourself sleeping" to his father's brand of parenting: "You know how my dad cured (attention-deficit disorder)? He would get an inch from my face and say 'Pay attention!"'

For the past 10 years, he's mined comedy gold from his two favorite things: his wife, Patty: "I am married, I am happily married -- I know that because she told me," and their 8-year-old son, Will.

Gardell told Mo Rocca having a child has made him funnier.

"It's made my life less about me," Gardell said. "(My son's) world is where I like to go when I'm not working, because he's always got a box with like, a half-chewed piece of gum and a paper clip and a ball. When those are your priorities, you're not too uptight."

Rocca offered, "He doesn't care about Nielsen ratings."

"No, he could care less," Gardell said.

But, Rocca said, you can bet Gardell's watching his dad on TV, along with a lot of other people: "Mike and Molly" averages almost 14 million viewers a week.

Gardell says overall, he feels blessed.

When asked about the future, Gardell said, "So far, it's been great. We came out and scored, have a show on CBS, a super hit sitcom with, like I said, the best in the business. My stand-up career has been blessed because of 'Mike and Molly.' So everything is cool: My son is healthy, my wife is still here, what's to complain about?"