If you're watching AMC's Breaking Bad, or just catching up to this Emmy-winning drama, then you're well-aware of Bob Odenkirk's rascally role as attorney Saul Goodman. In season four (which premiered last night), Saul has hired himself a bodyguard, Huell, who is played by none other than stand-up comedian Lavell Crawford.
Here's a clip of their first scenes together in Breaking Bad. Not spoilery!
Crawford has been a touring stand-up for years, and finished runner-up to Jon Reep in the 2007 season of NBC's Last Comic Standing. He has a new comedy CD out this month called Can A Brother Get Some Love?, which also will debut on Comedy Central on Aug. 12, 2011.
It's always interesting to see popular comedians cast in TV dramas. Enough stand-ups have done the trick on Law & Order that you could host a full night's show and then some with them.
But how many comedians have made the successful transition from stand-up stage to small screen drama, particularly when it's a critical and commercial TV hit?
Let's take a look back...
With all of this hubbub about shorter and shorter talk shows, here comes Richard Belzer with "Webisode 1" of what he's calling the "Two-Minute Talk Show." Two minutes? Wasn't three short enough for Barry Sobel and Conan O'Brien, and isn't Jon Friedman working to reclaim his "record"? Yes, yes and yes.
But this isn't just yet the reverse insanity that was the Dave Chappelle vs. Dane Cook rivalry over the longest stand-up show at The Laugh Factory.
For one thing, the Belz has highly edited his first webisode, which has a house band and guest Martin Short. Short clearly went long and had to be cut for time. This is neither live nor live to tape. For another thing, please don't keep feeding this meme. Thank you.
Roll the clip.
It'd been a long day for both of us. Richard Belzer had spent his Thursday promoting his new book, a novel based on his own personal and professional lives, while I had been running around putting out figurative fires, so we only had a few minutes to speak. I wanted to know more about his rare stage act, Richard Belzer and the Belzonics, who come together again Saturday at Comix in New York City. Last time they played, Late Show with David Letterman band leader Paul Shaffer made a cameo to provide the introductions. So. What makes the Belzonics show different from your straight stand-up act?
"I do music. I do song parodies. And impressions. So the music's very much a part of my act. It's woven throughout," Belzer tells me.
Right now, Belzer and the Belzonics is a rare treat, as he and the guys only get together "a few times a year." But Belzer himself is itching to perform more often.
"I'm anxious to get back onstage more and more," Belzer says. "I miss the people. I miss the laughs, I miss the sweat. I miss the booze. I miss the broads."
Did your experience as a judge on this season of NBC's Last Comic Standing have anything to do with that desire to get back onstage? "It just happened to be coincidentally around the time I was doing that. I think I'd want to get back onstage regardless," he says.
Did you like being a judge? "I thought it was fun," he says. "It's nice to see some people out there doing good stuff. It reintroduced me to the stand-up world and what people find funny these days."