‘Mike and Molly’ star to appear at Keswick Theatre

It’s showtime: Actor Billy Gardell, known for his role as Officer Briggs on the CBS TV series Mike and Molly, will appear at the Keswick Theatre on Friday, Nov. 7.

“It only took me 25 years to become an overnight success,” said comic/actor Billy Gardell, set to appear at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside on Friday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m.

Gardell, 45, who is starring in the hit CBS TV series Mike and Molly as Officer Briggs, wasn’t always sure success would come his way, but he always knew he wanted to be in show business.

“When I was 9 years old, I used to watch Johnny Carson with my grandmother, and when the comedians came on and made people laugh I knew that’s what I wanted to do, too.”

He said he was inspired by many of the greats comics, including Richard Pryor, George Carlin, John Candy and Jim Belushi. But the main man who captured his comedic spirit was Jackie Gleason.

“My father introduced me to the work of Gleason, who I think was probably one of the greatest. And during every show, I try to pay homage to him in some way,” Gardell said.

Trying to make his way to the top, Gardell took the long way to Hollywood, stopping at every small town lounge, military base and comedy club along the way.

A native of Pittsburgh, Gardell said his strong work ethic was passed on from grandfather to father to son.

“Everyone in my family worked very hard, in the steel mills, in the coal mines, so it was just natural for me to work hard if I wanted something. And I did.”

Finally making it to Los Angeles, Gardell dedicated himself to acting as well as stand-up. Stories about his rough childhood, wild adolescence and new family life with wife and small son seem to strike a chord with audiences everywhere.

As a stand-up comic, he said he loves performing live. He’s also had several comedy specials, produced his own comedy album, and guested on many talk shows.

As an actor, Gardell has appeared in such films as Bad Santa, You, Me & Dupree and Undrafted.

But it was the debut of Mike and Molly alongside Melissa McCarthy in 2010 that helped catapult Gardell to the kind of success he’s always sought.

“This is our fifth season, and none of us thought we’d last this long, but here we are,” Gardell said. “We recently completed our 100th episode. It’s been great, and I hope we can do another 100.”

In 2015, Gardell will host a new game show titled the Monopoly Millionaire’s Club, exploring another facet of his personality.

“Still,” he insists, “stand-up is my first love. It’s what brought me to the dance.” ••

Tickets are $35 and $45. For more information, call 215–572–7650.