Fred Willard

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Fred Willard talks about his earliest appearances on television - sketches with comedy partners on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show. He describes his involvement with the comedy troupe Ace Trucking Company, which led to regular apsdfasdpearances on The Tom Jones Show (in England) and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He recalls several guest appearances on sitcoms The Bob Newhart Show, Get Smart, Mad About You and Modern Family. He speaks in great detail about portraying "Jerry Hubbard" the hapless sidekick on the television talk-show parody Fernwood 2-Night with Martin Mull, and chronicles reuniting with Mull for a groundbreaking storyline on Roseanne which led one of television's first gay weddings. He discusses his roles in several of Christopher Guest's mockumentary films, and speaks of his part as the only human actor among a band of puppets in the series D.C. Follies. He comments on his fans, his favorite kinds of roles to play, and the role of improvisational acting in his career. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on September 28, 2012 in Encino, CA.

"Often at a party you might have something to say and you start to say it, and someone else comes in with a line and suddenly you're off. But in front of the camera it comes time for you to say something and you just say it. That's what I like about being an actor, when it comes time for me to say my line, everyone else has to be quiet."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Fred Willard on appearing in the feature film "This Is Spinal Tap"
Fred Willard on The Mike Douglas Show  with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night  "going too far"
Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio he listened to as a child; on his early memories of television and appearing on The Steve Allen Show
On his early comedy career; on participating in various comedy troupes and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show
On appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson with his comedy troupe, The Ace Trucking Company; on appearing on Get Smart and The Bob Newhart Show
On appearing as "Jerry Hubbard" and Fernwood 2-Night (later America 2-Night) with guest starts such as Carol Burnett, Burt Lancaster and Charlton Heston

Chapter 2

On his Fernwood 2-Night character "Jerry Hubbard"; on critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night; on a typical production day on the show
On the set of Fernwood 2-Night and the acts who appeared; on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night; on the show transitioning to America 2-Night in its second season
On hosting Real People; on his Real People co-stars and stories he covered on the show; on hosting Saturday Night Live in 1978
On acting in the feature film "This Is Spinal Tap"; on acting in director Christopher Guest's mockumentaries

Chapter 3

On improv acting; on hosting What's Hot and What's Not; on hosting D.C. Follies
On playing the gay character "Scott" on Roseanne; on being reunited with Martin Mull on Roseanne; on his gay marriage on the show
On guest starring in various sitcoms; on playing "Hank McDougall" on Everybody Loves Raymond; on playing a "TV Dad"
On appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; on guest starring on Modern Family and various other 2012 shows

Chapter 4

On guest starring in various series; on the types of roles he plays; on his fans
On what he enjoys about acting; on advice to aspring actors; on what he'd like to do in the future
Shows

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

View Show Page
Fred Willard on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

View Show Page
Fred Willard on his early comedy career

Divorce Court

View Show Page
Fred Willard on guest starring in various series and appearing on Divorce Court

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

View Show Page
Fred Willard on appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show

Everybody Loves Raymond

View Show Page
Fred Willard on guest starring as "Hank MacDougall" on Everybody Love Raymond
Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
Fred Willard on acting in specific episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond
Fred Willard on playing a "TV Dad" on Everybody Loves Raymond

Fernwood 2 Night

View Show Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on his character "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night and his nightclub act
Fred Willard on the critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on a typical production day on Fernwood 2-Night and the improv and writing process
Fred Willard on the atmosphere on the set of Fernwood 2-Night, and the acts who appeared on the show
Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on the change from Fernwood 2-Night to America 2-Night
Fred Willard on various cast members of Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
Fred Willard on the end of America 2-Night

Get Smart

View Show Page
Fred Willard on acting on Get Smart and missing out on a few opportunities

Mad About You

View Show Page
Fred Willard on guest starring on Mad About You

Mike Douglas Show, The

View Show Page
Fred Willard on The Mike Douglas Show with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Modern Family

View Show Page
Fred Willard on guest starring on Modern Family
Fred Willard on guest starring as "Frank Dunphy" on Modern Family

Murder, She Wrote

View Show Page
Fred Willard playing dramatic roles and the types of roles he usually plays

Real People

View Show Page
Fred Willard on becoming a host of Real People
Fred Willard on some of the stories he covered on Real People
Fred Willard on his Real People co-stars

Roseanne

View Show Page
Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
Fred Willard on playing a gay couple with Martin Mull on Roseanne
Fred Willard on how it felt to be reunited with Martin Mull on Roseanne in a groundbreaking storyline
Fred Willard on his gay wedding scene on Roseanne

Saturday Night Live

View Show Page
Fred Willard on hosting Saturday Night Live in 1978

Steve Allen Show, The (1956-61)

View Show Page
Fred Willard on appearing on The Steve Allen Show

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

View Show Page
Fred Willard on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The

View Show Page
Fred Willard on appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night  "going too far"

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Fred Willard on his comedic influences

Criticism of TV

View Topic
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Fred Willard on playing the gay character "Scott" on Roseanne

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Fred Willard on hosting his talk show What's Hot, What's Not?  and being nominated for a daytime Emmy
Fred Willard on his Emmy nominations

LGBTQ

View Topic
Fred Willard on playing the gay character "Scott" on Roseanne

Pop Culture

View Topic
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night

Television Industry

View Topic
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Fred Willard on what he's learned about improv acting from the Christopher Guest movies
Fred Willard on playing dramatic roles and the types of roles he usually plays
Fred Willard on what he likes about acting, doing research for roles, and what attracts him to a role
Fred Willard on advice to aspiring actors

Performers

View Profession
Fred Willard on what he's learned about improv acting from the Christopher Guest movies
Fred Willard on playing dramatic roles and the types of roles he usually plays
Fred Willard on what he likes about acting, doing research for roles, and what attracts him to a role
Fred Willard on advice to aspiring actors
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
Fred Willard on guest starring as "Hank MacDougall" on Everybody Love Raymond

Reality TV

View Genre
Fred Willard on co-hosting Real People
People

Dabney Coleman

View Person Page
Fred Willard on various cast members of Fernwood 2-Night

Phil Donahue

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on hosting his talk show What's Hot, What's Not?  and being nominated for a daytime Emmy

Georgia Engel

View Person Page
Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond

Brad Garrett

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond

Christopher Guest

View Person Page
Fred Willard on appearing in Christopher Guest's feature films
Fred Willard on what he's learned about improv acting from the Christopher Guest movies

Charlton Heston

View Person Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night

Monica Horan

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond

Marty Krofft

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on hosting the comedy puppet show D.C. Follies

Sid Krofft

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on hosting the comedy puppet show D.C. Follies

Burt Lancaster

View Person Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night

Norman Lear

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"

John Lennon

View Person Page
Fred Willard on The Mike Douglas Show with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Martin Mull

View Person Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night

Bob Newhart

View Interview Page
Fred Willard on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show

Sarah Purcell

View Person Page
Fred Willard on his Real People co-stars

Ray Romano

View Person Page
Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond

Roseanne

View Person Page
Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne

Tom Snyder

View Person Page
Fred Willard on the critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night

Alan Thicke

View Person Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night

Frank De Vol

View Person Page
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night

All Interviews

Q
S