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After appearing in films like Coneheads, The Benchwarmers and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, as well as on television programs including The Office, Everybody Hates Chris and Curb Your Enthusiasm, his most recent project is a character on The Bill Engvall Show.
TheCelebrityCafe's Stephanie Pappas spoke with Tim about what it's like to transition from edgy scripts to family-oriented comedy.
SP: You're featured on this great show, The Bill Engvall Show, what's it all about?
TM: Well it's sort of based on Bill Engvall's stand-up comedy; he's a comedian with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He did a lot of family-oriented stand-up comedy and so the show is based on that, and it's basically his life dealing with the kids and family and you know, trying to be a cool dad and also trying to be an ordinary human.
SP: And how about you, what about your character on the show?
TM: I'm his best friend. My character's name is Paul and he's a hair replacement specialist. He's divorced and looking to have a love life, but he's sort of desperate and he's not really that great being smooth.
SP: It's pretty far from The Ladies' Man, huh?"
TM: He's the exact opposite of The Ladies' Man.
SP: Is this your first time working with Bill Engvall, is this all brand new or have you worked with him before?
TM: This is all brand new to me. I had seen his work before but I had never met him. I auditioned for the show and I didn't get hired, and then a few months later I got a call that Bill wanted to have lunch with me. And so we had lunch and we started talking and we didn't even talk about the show, then at the end of the lunch he wanted to know if I would like to be on the show, and I was like, yeah, I would like to do that. And so I think I picked up the check, actually.
SP: Well, hey, if he's going to offer you a job, right?
TM: Yeah, who am I to complain?
SP: Now you and Bill have very different comedic backgrounds, how was it to collaborate with him?
TM: It's been great. I mean I came from Detroit and he came from Kentucky or Arkansas or something; our backgrounds are completely different, and the one thing we have in common is comedy. He can quote jokes from Richard Pryor and we are both just fans of comedy. So that's the one thing, and then from there we have a lot of other things in common, as far as being in the same business and being fathers and doing stand-up or whatever it is. And I think our personalities are a lot alike, we're both very easy going for the most part.
SP: It must be easy to work with him.
TM: Yeah, and you know, I'm easy to work with too.
SP: Now you have done such a wide range of comedy from SNL to different films like Mean Girls and as I mentioned before The Ladies' Man, how does this comedy compare to the stuff you've already done?
TM: This is more family oriented so it's not as edgy as The Ladies' Man or Mean Girls, but it's a difficult job. I really have a lot of respect for comedy writers who, when writing comedy, have to cater to middle-America and a wider audience. You can't really go for cheap jokes or dirty jokes; you have to really make the humor come more from the relationships. It's been really different.
SP: You probably have to incorporate a little something for everyone.
TM: Yeah you do, and also you have to satisfy your own comedic desire. I mean I do like the edgier comedy so I try to find things in the show to make me laugh and there's always something every week that I find really funny.
SP: So do you try to incorporate your own comedic style into the show as much as you can?
TM: Into my character I do. I mean, even when the character or the scene is written the writers and the producers allow me to improvise during rehearsals, or if I have other ideas for jokes or whatever they are always interested in seeing it. It's a really cool environment to work in because it's very collaborative.
SP: So what's new about his season, what can the audience expect?
TM: This season will be more Bill-at-home comedy and less workplace comedy. You get to see him dealing with his kids more and being a father and just hanging out and doing other things. And the other thing is Paul is more a part of the family this season. A lot of my scenes and storylines were with the kids this year which was really fun and a brand new dynamic for the show. I think it opened up a lot of things to have my character dealing with kids because he doesn't have kids. He tries to speak to the kids like they're adults.
SP: Last season you covered everything from dancing iguanas to prostate exams, what can viewers look forward to this season?
TM: A lot more things involved with the family, they can expect it to be funnier. There's one storyline with me where I'm trying to sell a piece of art work to help the kid's school, and it's a bust of myself, and it turns out that nobody wants to buy it, so I sort of lose it when I realize nobody wants to buy it and the kids think of a way to sell it without me knowing. It was a really funny episode. It was weird because it was the first time I've ever seen a bust of myself. Everybody kept asking me if I wanted it, and I'm like no, why would I want a bust of myself? I have the real thing.
SP: What do you think is your favorite episode?
TM: This season there's this episode with me and Trent (Graham Patrick Martin) where he finds out that I'm responsible for losing all of his baby pictures, and I try to make it up to him by letting him burn the pictures of my childhood. I tell him that he can burn them, but then I quickly change my mind, and it's the funniest scene I've done on that show. It's so funny.
The third season of The Bill Engvall Show is scheduled to begin on TBS July 18.