Jay Harrington: An interview with the ‘Hot In Cleveland’ actor

From a young age, Jay Harrington developed a love for the art of acting. His passion led him to study theatre at Syracuse University and to continually pursue his dreams, landing him roles on-stage, in films, and on television. He went on to star in the ABC sitcom Better Off Ted and can most recently been seen as Alec on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland.

TheCelebrityCafe.com: What was the moment you realized that you wanted to become an actor?

Jay Harrington: I was probably 10 years old, I was down in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and I went to go see a play and I just thought the kids on the stage were having so much fun. So the next summer my parents took me and I got to audition for a play, and that was it.

TCC: Obviously you have done a lot of work for television, so what was your favorite show to watch as a child?

J.H.: You know, it varied, but one that sticks in my head growing up was Family Ties. I loved Michael J. Fox. Still do. And I was a big fan of Cheers and The Cosby Show, but even going back before that, Saturday nights my parents would go out, I’d be babysitting and it was Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Dukes of Hazzard. Oh, and The Incredible Hulk, of course.

TCC:What is a project, whether it be theater, film, or television, that you are particularly proud of doing?

J.H.: I would say Better Off Ted. All of them certainly, but that was a great experience. I had a blast doing American Pie a couple of summers ago. Those two stand out, I don’t know if it’s because they’re most recent.

TCC: What was the most memorable moment of your experience on Better Off Ted?

J.H.: Just the fun we had doing a comedy and knowing we were doing something pretty good and just the camaraderie on the set.

TCC: Now you play Alec on Hot in Cleveland. What was the audition process like for that role?

J.H.: Actually, you know, I was fortunate to forgo that process. The producers had seen some of my stuff and asked if I was interested in coming to the show, so I dodged the audition bullet in that case, thankfully.

TCC:Hot in Cleveland is about a group of women who decide to leave behind their lives in Los Angeles to start fresh in Cleveland. From your own personal experience, how does living in LA now compare to growing up in a town in Massachusetts?

J.H.: Well, it’s very different but I do take solace in the fact that I live in Santa Monica which is just outside of the city so we have water, it’s on the water. And I’m very fortunate to have a huge Boston contingent out here. Friends that I know from home and also that I’ve made that are from back there. I’m pretty lucky that I get a little bit of Boston out here.

TCC:If you weren’t an actor, what career field do you think you would have pursued?

J.H.: That’s a tough one, you know. I don’t know because I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and I’ve kind of had a great sort of vision of doing that always. The only other thing I’ve done that I just enjoy doing is playing hockey, so I’d say a defenseman for the Boston Bruins.

TCC: How did you become involved in the sport of ice hockey?

J.H.: I was born shortly after they won the Stanley Cup and my dad was into the Bruins and he just got us out there and we learned how to skate, my brothers and I when we were four, seven years old. It was very accessible to us. My town had a rink, and it was just something to do. It was just one of those activities that we stuck with and I still play a few times a week.

TCC: What made you decide to join Twitter? (@jayharrington3)

J.H.: I don’t know. [laughs] I’m not even on Facebook. Never have been. I was doing American Pie and that came out [so] I thought it was a good idea to try and expand the fan base. And what I realized pretty quickly is it’s a lot of Better Off Ted fans and they’re very supportive and very loyal so it’s been a good experience so far.

TCC: What is the craziest tweet you have received from a fan?

J.H.: Nothing actually. [It’s been] pretty mild.

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