Anthony Anderson is long past the baby years of raising his two kids, but on the NBC sitcom “Guys With Kids,” he plays one of a trio of male friends who are adjusting to life as fathers of infant children. The three male buddies are Gary (played Anderson), Chris (played by Jesse Bradford) and Nick (played by Zach Cregger), who get help in raising their kids by the babies’ mothers: Gary’s wife Marny (played by Tempestt Bledsoe), Nick’s wife Emily (played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and Chris’ ex-wife Sheila (played by Erinn Hayes).
Longtime NBC star Jimmy Fallon is one of the executive producers/creators of “Guys With Kids,” which premiered in September 2012, and was nominated for a 2013 People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy. Anderson says “The Cosby Show” as one of his all-time favorite TV shows, so he’s obviously thrilled that “Cosby Show” alumni Bledsoe and Keisha Knight Pulliam will reunite on screen when Knight Pulliam guest stars on “Guys With Kids” as Marny’s younger sister Bridget, in an episode whose premiere date is to be announced. During a telephone conference call with journalists, Anderson and “Guys With Kids” executive producer/creator Charlie Grandy talked about “Guys With Kids” and how the show is affecting their roles as fathers in real life.
What it’s like working with so many kids running around the set? Is it kind of hectic there?
Anderson: It really is. Yes, during the pilot, Charlie, correct me if I’m wrong, we had 19 kids.
Grandy: Yes, I think we had something like 14 kids with all the twins and triplets we had to hire just to make sure we had enough time with each kid and to make sure if a kid was fussing, we could take them away and not force them to be in the scene. And it ended up being, I believe it was 14 infants under the age of 1 for the pilot.
Anderson: Yes, so if you can imagine, that’s what our days were like, but I’ve told every reporter who asked that question [that] the kids are the real stars to this show. That’s where the magic happens with them, and we’re kind of handcuffed and forced to go where they lead us. And that’s where we have a lot of the fun during these episodes.
Grandy: Yes, there are at least three moments in the pilot that were not scripted that were just the cast reacting to what the babies were doing in those, and they’re so spontaneous and so real, which is what we’re really go for with the show, that it was really just fun to be able to have them and to put them in.
Anthony, does that come easy to you? Has it always?
Anderson: It has, it has. You know, my comedy, or comedy itself, is just something that’s innate within me. I never really thought I was funny growing up in the household that I grew up in with my mother who — and I say this with love — who was a failed actress, but a hysterical woman.
And the same with my father and my siblings, so we never thought we were funny. I never thought I was funny. It was just the way that I was raised and how I grew up living my life. And then I’ve always wanted to be an actor since the age of 9. And then once I got out and saw the response from people being entertained and just thinking what I was doing was humorous, when I just was being me, when I was like, “Oh wow! Maybe I am funny. Maybe there is something to this.”
Anthony, I have to say you’re as usual you’re fantastic and great as always. Is it hard for you, after it’s being so many years on a serious show such as “Law & Order” to come into a show like “Guys With Kids”? Is it fun, exciting, different, and all those things above?
Anderson: It was it a bit difficult, outside of it being difficult, all those things above. I started my career in comedy with the Farrelly brothers, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac. I got to work with them at an early age and cut my comedy chops. And then I had something that I wanted to prove as an actor on the dramatic side. And so that’s why I made the turn. And a lot of people, a lot of my fans over the last five or six years that I’ve been in this dramatic turn, and have been asking me, when am I coming back to comedy.
Would they miss me in the comedic world? And I was like, it’s coming soon, it’s coming soon. I just have something that I need to prove to myself and to show to Hollywood that I’m more than just the comic relief in something. And I think I did that. And with the cancellation of “Law & Order,” that allowed me to be available sooner than I anticipated, to step back into the half hour comedy world. And “Guys with Kids” just fell into my lap and so here I am.
So what was it about it that you liked, besides the fact that it was comedy?
Anderson: One, it came from Jimmy Fallon, who I’ve been friends with for a long time now. Two, it was mostly what I want to get back into. You know, I was developing something. I had a development deal, rather, with the FX Network to do a half-hour comedy.
And the “Guys With Kids” script fell into my lap. I read it. It came from Jimmy. The offered it to me. It was great. I could see where this show could go. Everything jumped off the page at me. And I just felt it was a no-brainer.
So I contacted FX, and was like, “Thank you for the opportunity, but I have this opportunity here.” They were gracious enough to say, if that opportunity didn’t work out, “We would love to have you back, because I’d love to have a half-hour on network.” And fortunately, for me, “Guys with Kids” worked out, and here we are talking about it now.
Charlie, did you always have Anthony Anderson in mind when you were thinking about doing the show?
Grandy: You know, it’s funny that the Gary and Marny characters are the closest to my wife. We have three young kids and just being overwhelmed, and so I was just looking for someone who could be sort of overwhelmed but strong at the same time.
And when Anthony’s is named, no, you don’t think you can get someone like Anthony Anderson, quite honestly, when you’re writing a pilot. And I’m not I’m not Chuck Lorre. I don’t have a bunch of things on the air.
This is my first show and even if it was Jimmy Fallon [being the executive producer], you just don’t think you can get that caliber of talent. And then when there’s interest, and then you actually you get him, it’s amazing. It’s brought so much more, not to just the character, but the show. It’s far exceeded any expectations I actually had for the role. So I feel like we definitely won the lottery with Anthony.
It’s easy fall into that “Mr. Mom” dynamic where dads are naturally inept at doing everything from spilling the baby formula to putting on the diaper backwards, a lot of these kind of cliché jokes. And it seems like more of the comedies out there now are kind of getting away from some of those clichés, where we see a lot of competent dads at home performing tasks that typically we only say women perform — things like everything from picking up the kids to changing diapers to folding laundry. All these tasks are no longer strictly a female role in a lot of comedies. How does your comedy make a concerted effort to kind of stay away from those sorts of clichés?
Grandy: Yes, I mean, absolutely, that was from the moment we pitched the show, that was part of the pitch, was we wanted to do confident dads. That’s not to say that they can’t be befuddled, but I think it’s more on a just a general parenting level as opposed to the nuts and bolts of the changing the diapers, the making the bottles, the doing the laundry, the folding the laundry, the cleaning up, that is now, we just kind of want to present dads as that is ingrained in them as it is in their wives. He could have stayed at work, he could have gotten help, but he really wanted to stay home with his kids, and that was what was always interesting about the character. Anthony does so much with it. But yes, it’s exactly what we wanted it to be.
How is it was for you playing that role of stay-at-home parent? Was it something that you naturally fell into, or was it something that maybe you always wanted to do in your personal life, as well?
Anderson: Working as hard as I have been in this industry, for the last 16 years, I would welcome falling into the role of the stay-at-home dad., I get the comforts of home. I get to raise my kids, I get to have fun with them. I get to watch them grow.
So yes, that was a natural thing. And just to piggy-back on what Charlie was saying earlier about staying away from the cliché things, I called the writers and them for not giving us the lowest common denominator to work with in these situations as actors on our television show. You can go for the quick and easy laugh all the time, but that’s short-lived.
And like I said, I applaud them for allowing us to find the humor in the situations of just parenthood. And not just fart jokes and pee jokes and diaper jokes, and all of that. You know, it goes to show that we’re all invested in this for the long run, and I applaud them for it. And it makes coming to work and bringing life to the words that are on page that much more fun and that much easier.
How does your own parenting style compare to Gary’s?
Anderson: You know what? It’s pretty much the same. I live vicariously through Gary. Some of the things that I couldn’t do with my kids because I didn’t know how they would turn out if I raised them the way that I was raised.
And we’ve had talks earlier on, even before we shot the pilot, about my experience, you know growing up, especially with my mother and my father. And we just shot an episode where I think every parent goes through what we went through in the episode, is like I want to raise you differently than how my father raised me.
Not to say that our father raised us bad. It’s just a different time, a different era, and we have different sensibilities. And, but I get to have time and Gary, through my four boys at home, just like I have time at home. I’m the only father in the cast.
I was the only parent until we recast, but now I’m the only father that we have in the cast. And I get to tell the guys what I’m going through … and just have some fun with it. You know, that’s what it’s about. And I think that’s going to resonate with the audience and that’s what’s going to show on screen.
And how do you most relate to the dads in “Guys With Kids”?
Anderson: I relate to all of them. One, because it’s a slice of life, you know. I have friends who are recently divorced. I have friends who are stay-at-home dads. I have friends who are happily married and raising their family with their wives. So I see a bit of my world in the world that we’re creating on television. And we can all pick and choose from that. And that’s about how it goes for me.
And can you quickly tell us about your son Nathan and daughter Kyra? How old are they and what do they do for fun?
Anderson: My daughter Kyra is 16 years old, junior in high school now, plays volleyball, has a boyfriend that I have to deal with now as a father. Never thought those days would happen. [Her boyfriend] happens to be the quarterback of the football team. My daughter happens to be one of the stars of the volleyball team, so it’s kind of cool, that they both are athletic, and almost the stars of their team.
And my son is 12 years old. When I tell you the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, truer words have never been spoken. I just took him on an audition yesterday, you know. Four or five years ago, he pointed to my wife and said, “Mom, I want to be an actor.” And he’s actually pretty good at it. He’s been studying for it since then for the last four years and is really enjoying going out on auditions.
And he’s come close on a few things, and one day he’ll get a job. We had a long talk the other day about “Son, you can’t what you want this soon. You just have to work for it. And eventually the chips will fall in your favor.”
What do you like most about fatherhood? Do you have any special fatherhood memories to share?
Anderson: Both are pretty simple. Both of my children, being there, and that being the crowning achievement in my life, and it actually mad me feel invincible. And it makes me feel that I can live forever now.
And secondly with my son I do stand-up comedy. I host a monthly comedy show in New York. And going back to the story where I told you four years ago my son told my wife that he wanted to be an actor, and that he also wanted to tell jokes, I invited him to New York on Father’s Day weekend to come into my room [at] the Gotham Comedy Club, and perform at 8 years old.
And he got up and there was no fear, no trepidation, and he was funny. And that was the most memorable thing that I have to date as a father with my son, watching him on stage, alone, tell “your mama” jokes on Father’s Day, and having the audience respond favorably to him. So that is the most memorable that I can think of right now, outside of watching them come into this world.
Anthony, you are married to your college sweetheart. What are some of the things she does to help support you with a demanding career?
Anderson: Oh, wow, everything, from … letting me use her car to go to my first audition. And me coming home from that first audition and running into the back of the school bus and totaling the car on the 91 Freeway. So that’s how it all begins. She’s always been a constant pillar for me, you know.
I put this on my wife for my character of Gary. My wife is a homemaker who decided to give up her career working in the electronic publicity department at NBC for 10 years and to sit at home and raise the children and to support me because I’m constantly on the go.
And that’s what she does. You know, what she does as a stay-at-home mom, just like all the other stay-at-home mom and dads across the country is invaluable and unquantifiable. And I applaud her for putting her career and her life on hold to help out with our life. It’s an ultimate sacrifice that these stay-at-home mothers and fathers do.
Do you have any more advice for your children that you’d like to share about the industry?
Anderson: About the industry, I guess, and life in general, I tell them that the Andersons aren’t quitters. We finish what we start. And no matter what it is. Like my daughter wanted to give up on volleyball early on when she first started.
And I was like, “Sweetheart, this is what you chose to do, it’s the middle of the season, we are not about to quit. Now, if you want to stop at the end of the season, then that’s your choice, but we’re going to ride this out.
The same with my son in everything that we do. It’s just like, no, we put in the work because you get out of it what you put into it. And that’s the philosophy that I live my life by and that I try to lead by example with my children.
We’re talking about guys being more involved in child rearing than ever before. How has your experience been, just being the more involved dad and not just the one we see on TV from the 1950’s, for example?
Anderson: You know, it’s crazy. There was a study on “60 Minutes” or one of those news programs that I was watching before we even shot the pilot and they were talking about how stay-at-home dads are on the increase. There are more fathers in the Mommy and Me classes than ever before.
There are more fathers who are making play dates than the mothers than ever before. And a lot of people say, “How could you? How could you send your wife off to work while you sit at home with your kids, and being lazy, when I just said, that it’s unquantifiable what a stay-at-home parent does?”
And why can’t this man or woman, because it’s seldom looked upon negatively when you say “stay-at-home mom.” It’s only looked upon negatively when you say “stay-at-home dad.” Why can’t this husband and this father empower his wife and support his wife for going on out and making a career, and the father staying at home to raise the children? I think that’s very admirable, for any parent to do, but, but more so than not, a father. I just think it’s a great thing. Charlie, what do you have to say about that?
Grandy: Yes, I mean, I agree. I think just in terms of fathering, like the more time I spend with my kids, and the more I do, and even just hard stuff, getting up in the middle of the night and the changing the diapers, and staying with them when they’re sick, and, going to the hospital, you just feel so much more connected them.
It becomes such a richer experience, you know. It really has just been so powerful and life-changing for me to have children and have something my life honestly feels like it has meaning now. And you’re trying to conduct yourself in a manner you’d want your children to conduct themselves.
And just being with them, those little moments, can turn, not just like weeks or days around, but weeks or months around, just when you’re like, “OK, well, I know I’m doing something right.” And it just feels so basic and on such a pure level to have those moments and spend that time with your kids and pull your weight.
And to get back with Anthony answered a question about his wife having supported him through his career, and it’s the same with me. And so to help out as much as you can with your wife and what she’s doing at home, again, it’s just incredibly fulfilling.
Anderson: Just an addendum to my answer, since I’ve been working with the show, and working with these children on the show and kind of getting into this character of Gary, it’s actually made me want to be a better father.
It makes me want to have a better connection with my children at home, because all my children have known from me is dad is on location. They were born into my career. So that’s all they know. That’s all they see is me on a plane, them on a plane, going to exotic locations and working and having fun.
But now that I’m doing this show, I can look at my son, who’s 12, and look at my daughter who’s 16, and I’ve already realized that I’ve missed out on a lot. But doing the show makes me want to stay home. I no longer take the weekend golf trips or whatnot. It’s like, “You know what? I want to stay at home this weekend and just hang out with my kids, even if we don’t do anything but sit by the pool. It’s made me want to have a stronger connection to them.”
Anthony and Charlie, what have you guys learned from your wives about fatherhood? How has that influenced you?
Grandy: Yes, I mean, in just every possible way for me. It’s just the amount of strength that she has and the digging deep for those reserves of strength and not complaining. I mean, it’s really just as hard as it gets, is just putting a smile on your face and a people have been doing this forever, and just realizing, knowing that you get so much out of it. And that’s what a family is, it’s just working and helping your kids and supporting each other. And more, I guess if there’s one word, it would be patience, is what I’ve truly learned from her.
Anderson: Charlie said the exact same thing that I was going to say. I can’t add anything more to that. Strength and patience, those are the two things.
How do you both give your wives time for themselves?
Grandy: Yes, I’ll send her to a hotel. I mean, if she needs to get away, there are some times when she’s just burned out and I can see it on her face. And one of these is coming up very soon, because I’ve been at work a lot. It’s just like, go it is, it’s just like get away. Take a weekend, and just go, and take a friend, don’t take a friend, whatever you want to do.
Just go and have some time when you don’t have to worry about anything. You can sleep in, get a massage, and you know, it’s funny. She’s incredible, because I’ll send her away for a weekend, and on the second day she’s like, “Can I come home now? I’m bored. I don’t want to sit around here.” So it’s really that. It’s just trying to pay attention to when those times, because she won’t take it herself. So you kind of have to kick here out the door and say, Get out of here. You need a break.”
Anderson: Right. I do the same thing, except, Charlie, my wife calls and ask if she can stay a week longer.
Grandy: Well, I don’t have teenagers yet, so, we’ll see.
Charlie, you have any plans to recruit Jimmy Fallon for a cameo on the show?
Grandy: I’d love to. I mean, that’s all up to Jimmy. You know, his schedule, honestly is so tough because he’s in New York doing his show and it’s been so hard to he was able to come to the pilot taping, but has not been able to come to another taping since, though he be at next week’s.
So yes, but I’d love him to be a regular on the show, because he’s just so good and so much fun and has, honestly, a ton of good ideas for what to do with the show. But it will be a scheduling question and if he wants to do it.
Is it true that he wants James Earl Jones announcing it in a live studio audience?
Grandy: We’re trying. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but we really wanted to. Right now I think it’s Jimmy who’s saying it, but that’s just a placeholder for when we can convince James Earl Jones, perhaps in success, we can convince him.
Anthony, would you ever consider bringing your son on “Guys With Kids”?
Anderson: Once I found out I had older kids, that was the first question I asked Charlie and the staff. “Can I bring my son on?” They’re like, “Well, how old is he, Anthony? We’d love to do that.” Well, they were like, “He’s an old man. He can’t do it.”
But I’m pretty sure if something ever came about, I would definitely have him audition for it because this is something that he wants to do, and I support it. You know, I tried to convince him otherwise, and he’s really put in the work and really stayed on us about getting him into a class. This is what he really wants to do with his life. So if the opportunity does present itself on “Guys with Kids,” or any other show out there, yes. I would love it.
How did the idea for “Guys With Kids” come about?
Grandy: Yes, it was Jimmy Fallon and his producing partner Amy Ozols. I think it was maybe his brother-in-law had a young kid. And just Jimmy just always saw him out and about with his kid going to a bar, going to a ball game, he just always had his kid in a Baby Bjorn.
And Jimmy just saw that and is seeing it more and more around New York City of these involved dads. He said, “There’s no show about this. There’s no show about parenthood improving the life of a dad. It always is sort of encumbered, it makes it changes your life for the negative.”
Or it’s you’re happy you have a kid, but in the whole it’s not much better to have a kid. And we wanted to do a show about people who just really embraced parenting, fathers who really embraced parenting. And I’d worked with Jimmy on “Saturday Night Live” and actually had gone to college with Amy Ozols, and they knew I had three kids and so they just approached me. And it was exactly what I wanted — a show just about parenting, because that’s where I was in my life.
And then just through our discussions, the show evolved and evolved — that’s basically it. But it was that first image that you see in the pilot of the guys turning around in the bar with their babies, that was really what the pilot was built around. Jimmy had that one image in his head and we kind of went from there.
When you were kids, what the worst lie you ever told your parents?
Grandy: Oh, boy. Oh no. I still don’t know if I want that out there.
Anderson: Yes, I don’t think the statute of limitations are up on the lie that I told my parents.
Grandy: Yes, I mean, it’s probably along the lines of, “No, I didn’t have a party while you were gone.”
Anderson: That’s all? That’s all you got, Charlie?
Grandy: I was a pretty decent kid. Yes, I know. I was terrified of my parents.
Anderson: I can’t say the worst lie, other than, “I didn’t take the money, I didn’t do it, I didn’t have a party, I didn’t wreck the car.” But I always wanted to play the piano. And my mom enrolled me in piano lessons. But we didn’t have a piano at home for us to play.
So I went in her pocketbook, and I took out her credit card, the one and only credit card that my mother has ever had in her life, and I called and bought a piano, a baby grand piano, and had it delivered to the house. And to ensure that I wouldn’t get in trouble, I bought my father a gold-plated cubic zirconium ring and had it delivered to the house. So that’s what I did. It wasn’t a lie, but that’s some of the stuff that I did as a kid. And Charlie, I think that was the time my mother tied me to the avocado tree.
Anthony, the old adage is never work with kids and animals. So what was it that intrigued you to be a part of the show?
Anderson: Wow, truer words have never been spoken. I’ll say that. But just going back to what Charlie said, and how Jimmy had come up with the concept of the show. There hasn’t been, or up until now, a show about fathers and taking their kids wherever they go — to the bar, to the ballgames, the strip clubs … no, maybe not the strip clubs.
So that’s what attracted me to it. You know, we’re not reinventing the wheel. It was fresh, yet familiar, and that’s what really attracted me to it. You know, and, you know when the kids and the babies are on their best behavior, it’s magic.
And it’s wonderful and it’s beautiful. And even when they’re on their worst behavior, it’s still magic. We can still pull magic from that. And I love infants, I love babies because I believe that’s what keeps us youthful and keeps us striving for greatness and whatnot.
And to work with them every day on our set on the pilot we had 14 babies that we worked with. Now that we’re on series, we don’t have as many, but we have more babies on set than adults. And I think that’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.
Charlie, what makes NBC such a great fit for the show?
Grandy: I think honestly, at the time when they were buying pitches, they were willing to give it a shot. And the show has always been just about a very positive portrayal, and NBC has been – for me it’s just been, I think it’s a good fit because NBC is very positive about the show and for what we want to do, which is have a very upbeat, fun show about parenting that you can watch with your kids. I just feel that it’s great.
And then there’s the history of the family comedy on NBC. Those are what I grew up watching: “Cosby” and “Family Ties.” And even you look at the shows like “Cheers,” which is essentially a family comedy, those people at the bar were family.
And it just felt like when early on in the talks with NBC and Amy and Jimmy, we just decided we wanted to do the kind of show that NBC would have done in the past, that kind of family show that wasn’t pandering, but wasn’t crazy familiar, but also new at the same time. And it really felt like, spiritually it was in tune with perhaps not what NBC had been doing lately, but what they used to do better than anyone else.
What do you find most challenging overall on “Guys With Kids”?
Anderson: Keeping the babies from having a meltdown on the set. That’s the most challenging for us on the sound stage. Outside of that, everything is great. You have babies who have their own temperament, you know.
They don’t know where they are. They don’t know what they’re doing. And they’re in a room full of strangers, so they’re definitely completely out of their element. Some take kindly to that and some don’t. And it takes a while for the ones who don’t to warm up, if they warm up to it at all. So that is the most challenging, and it’s not in a negative way and it’s not a bad thing. It’s just that we’re dealing with infants, who want to suckle on their mother’s nipple for their milk.
And yet, they’re in my lap trying to suckle on my nipple for my milk. And I’m like, “Hey, it don’t go down like that. But, that’s it for us, that’s it for us on the sound stage.” And I can never say this enough, once the babies are calm and ready and doing their thing, it’s magic. And you see it on the show. You see it.
Grandy: The exact same. Yes, I mean, it’s just when you’re trying to get through scenes, and, but we’re getting much better about how to use the babies and what to pre-shoot and what not to pre-shoot.
And honestly, we’ve also, we have some great babies right now. They’re just very calm, and we try to get the actors to spend as much time with the babies off camera as well, just so the babies are very familiar with them and so it’s not jarring, when they are passed to them at the scene.
But I think everyone’s gotten so good and so calm with infants, especially the key when they start to freak out is to not freak out yourself and we’ve been very lucky with talent and directors to just say, “OK, well, the baby’s crying, let’s give it a minute and see if the baby will relax, and if he doesn’t relax, then we’ll try …” This is why you work with twins and triplets.
So just say, well maybe the sibling will work. And then sometimes you just have to take break and start over or move on. And fortunately, we’ve been very lucky on tape nights, that the babies, they’re all performers, they all come up for the audience. And the audience is sympathetic. They know what babies do.
Have they ever done anything really unexpected that got left in that was really funny?
Grandy: A bunch of times, yes.
Anderson: In the pilot, one of the babies … put his hand… in Jesse’s mouth and leave it there. That was something that was left in the pilot because it was funny. Too numerous to name.
Anderson: These babies are prima donnas. They’re prima donnas. They want what they want when they want it. And when they don’t get their way, they let you know. You thought Lindsay Lohan was a prima donna. You thought J. Lo was a prima donna. Work with Baby 2 and Baby 3. That’s all I have to say.
How was it for Jesse Bradford and Zach Cregger working with the children, since Jesse and Zach don’t have children in real life? Was it something getting used to for them? Anything funny happen, and do you find yourself pitching your own dad stories for the show?
Anderson: You know, I’ll start with the last question. Not really my own dad stories. I’ve been pitching my mom to Charlie and the crew, just because I’m tired of taking care of her, and she needs a job.
And, so she’s a great character, so that’s the only thing that I pitch. But working with the fellows and being the only father, it’s really, “Yo, Anthony. Am I supposed to hold the baby like this?” It’s like, “No, you’re not supposed to hold the baby by its ankles.” You have to hold it and cradle its head and all of this other stuff.
And we just have a lot of fun, finding jokes amongst ourselves with regard to that. But they are amazed at how my babies are remain calm throughout the day. You know I attribute it to I just got a great set of twins and triplets that I work with, but also, the experience that I have as a father, knowing how to hold the baby, knowing how to rock a baby, knowing just these innate things as a parent.
They turn to me, and say, “Well, hey, Anthony, how did you get him to calm down just now when you were doing that?” It’s like step away from the madness, and just go talk to your baby. You know, I find myself talking to nine-month-old toddlers.
I’m sitting here having a conversation with a nine-month-old. So I say, “Hey, man, what’s going on?” And if he doesn’t respond to my English, I then talk baby talk. And then we really have conversation. And that’s what it’s about and that’s what we do.
What are three passions you have in life that people necessarily wouldn’t know about you?
Grandy: I don’t have time for three anymore. Well, yes, a film that I love. I don’t know, “Bad News Bears” would have to be up there. “Parenthood.” You know, the original film of “Parenthood.” Loved that.
And honestly, right now, my passion is, it’s not super-splashy, and it’s a little hokey, but really, I work so much now, and so much is focused on the show, that just those moments I went to the beach with my family last weekend, and that to me is just the highlight. That’s sort of the passion now. It’s just kind of, my kids are old enough that you can get out and do all those things that my wife and I just used to do together, now that you can fold the kids in and they enjoy it. And if I can occasionally read as book, that’s pretty special, too.
Anderson: Three passions: golf, to jump out of an airplane, and I don’t know if that’s a passion or just a want, I guess it’s a passion, you probably mentioned the “Bad News Bears.” It’s one of my favorite movies growing up as a kid.
But also, I would also like to remake “Uncle Buck.” I’ve been thinking about remaking “Uncle Buck” and a script that had come to me years ago that just wasn’t worth doing, but that’s what I would love to do, especially working on “Guys with Kids.” It’s like, yes, I could really do this now. I could really remake “Uncle Buck.”
And also, besides Jimmy Fallon, are there any other dream guest stars you would love to have on the show?
Grandy: Really, just, I’m trying to think right now. There’s so many people, so many names we’re kicking around. We aim high. I don’t know, Sigourney Weaver really made me laugh in “Baby Mama.” I like guest stars when they’re doing things that you don’t expect them to do.
I kind of like to incorporate people from the drama world again. I don’t know who he’d play, but I’d love to have Brian Cranston on the show, especially that he’s done comedy and now “Breaking Bad.” It’s just always fun when you can do something new with someone.
When you have Jamie-Lynn [Sigler] and Tempestt [Bledsoe] on the show, everyone’s like, “Oh, get Gandolfini, get Cosby.” It’s interesting, but you just don’t know. You have no idea what’s going to work and whatnot.
What do you want audiences to take from the show?
Grandy: I just want it to be a fun place they can come with their families. You know, it’s really it’s trying to re-create that feeling I had with my family growing up and watching television, those family comedies NBC ones, but also “Roseanne,” “Growing Pains,” what have you.
It was just those nights, where it was dinner and then sitting down and kind of watching TV and catching up with the family. And we just want to create a place where you could do that, where your kids would be entertained, but you’d also be entertained as the parents.
And I don’t know if we have a message, because we’re not really proselytizing about anything, just trying to kind of paint a fun world to be in that’s at once relatable, but also aspirational really focus on the great moments of parenting, and when things actually do work out.
Anthony, what would you like to add to that?
Anderson: You know, really, the same thing that Charlie said. I grew up in a point in time watching Cosby and watching other shows where we got together as a family, and sat in front of the television and watched these shows, in fellowship as a family. And some of these shows had messages to them without beating you over the head that you could take and impart to your family. That’s what I want people to take away from this just to sit back.
Because the way we watch television now and entertained, and especially with me, having a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old, things are just so fragmented now. My daughter’s off with her volleyball schedule and her friends. My son is off playing his video games and online with his friends, you know.
I think this is show that will and can bring the family back together for at least a half hour after dinner for family time, which is what we used to do when we watched television growing up. That’s what I hope people take away from this. And it sounds kind of cliché and corny and hokey-dokey, but to bring the family back together again. That’s what I hope for.
What did you do as a family this pasr summer, like any fun road trips or vacations?
Anderson: No fun road trips or vacations this summer. We started the show in August , so there were volleyball trips for my daughter with her traveling team a couple of trips to the beach. My kids like simple stuff. They don’t really care for traveling unless we’re going overseas or to Hawaii. And I’m like, “Look, until you guys get a job and pull your weight, we’re going to cut back on some of that stuff.”
But it was just a lot of family barbecues at the house with my immediate family and my kids’ friends. And so that’s what we did intimate time at home by the pool. And just dinner.
What’s next for you, in terms of other projects besides “Guys With Kids”?
Anderson: No, nothing. Hopefully, you know we can crank out another 107 episodes of “Guys with Kids.” So that’s my whole plan, to devote myself to making it the best show possible and having a great run with it and just living the good life.
Is there anything that you’ve both taken away that you learned and helped you in parenting your own children, other than to spend more time with them?
Grandy: Other than just spend more time with them … For me, it’s hard because I’m writing the show, so it’s more the opposite. As my kids get older, and as they become more individualistic and are teaching you more about yourself, it’s how can you fold that into the show, as opposed the other way around.
I think it’s interesting for me, the writing process, because there are so many dads on the writing staff, it’s interesting that we’re writing about parenting there are a lot of sort of disagreements about what to do in certain situations. So I think the show has made me more, certainly more open to other styles of parenting that aren’t my own, because everyone on the show is so smart, and has such great kids, and it’s just sort of been a nice, open forum for honest discussion about parenting. You’ll see that in some of the episodes what to do when your kid’s acting up, what to do when kids are stealing. And here’s no one right way; you just have to figure out what works for you and your family.
Anderson: I’ve already learned from my mistakes as a parent. So what I’m taking away from the show is just spending more time with my kids. That’s what I’m learning. I’m learning how to carve out time out of my professional life and my individual personal time to spend more time with my family, my wife and my kids.
For more info: “Guys With Kids” website