You’ve seen this handsome mug all over the danged place, without even knowing that it was Eddie McClintock, of the North Canton McClintocks. That’s right, Eddie, the wrestler. It seems he made good in Hollywood while we weren’t looking. With roles on TV shows like Monk¸ Friends, King of Queens and A.U.S.A, McClintock has experienced a successful acting career without getting caught up in the megalomania of his surroundings. He’s still laid-back, wicked-funny and sometimes downright crude, all while still remaining a complete gentleman. Well, a gentleman, at any rate.
Case in point: last spring, when we went over to his place in the Hills to snap off a couple shots for this article, he had offered us each a beer before the front door closed behind us. Actually, come to think of it, the front door stayed open the whole time we were there. Wearing his well-worn North Canton wrestling t-shirt and his ever-present grin, McClintock handed us each a Guinness and began to regale us with showbiz anecdotes and tales of impending fatherhood. We popped off said shots and bantered about superhero hierarchy and how loud one should listen to Nine Inch Nails.
Flash forward a few months… McClintock calls us to talk shop. Remember, he’s been in Hollywood, making a living and avoiding the cover of anything you read while waiting for a price check on Count Chocula. So, “shop” for McClintock is the entertainment business, and, although it may sound as if he’s regaling us with the misfortunes of a lesser-qualified drill-press operator, he’s actually joking with us about some of the heaviest heavies in Hollywood. We made light of mental illness and alcoholism (in reference to his newest TV family), jabbed at McClintock about always playing the good-looking, dumb guy, and he made a ribald remark about at least one of our mother’s backsides.
McClintock is quick to admit that Crumbs, his new show, is a bit twisted, especially for a 30-minute sitcom. Estranged brothers Mitch (Fred Savage) and Jody Crumb (McClintock) reunite in their small New England hometown to deal with their mother, Suzanne, portrayed by Jane Curtain (Third Rock From The Sun, Saturday Night Live) who is being discharged from a psychiatric facility and has yet to discover that her ex-husband (William DeVane) is about to have a baby with his new girlfriend. Mitch is the prodigal son, who has yet to “come out” to his parents, returning home after a failed Hollywood career, while McClintock’s character is the lovable underachiever, who has stayed in the confines of their small New England town to run the family business.
Though much of the show is based on jousting humor, the humor, as piercing as it can be at times, is the very means by which this dysfunctional family can level their eyes long enough to see their functional reflection staring back at them. McClintock serves one sarcastic slice of smart-ass pie throughout the entire show. For some, humor is a form of refuge. For McClintock, no matter if he’s living life as Eddie or portraying Jody, humor is the fulcrum on which he balances the innate dysfunctional interrelatedness of life as a whole so that he may always remain on the level.
This is definitely one of the different roles you’ve played. It’s still a comedy, but your characters have always been kinda the…
Dumb guy. You can say it. Yeah, if you put a relatively attractive guy on a sitcom, they tend to make him dumb and, y’know, a womanizer. On this show, I’m not as dumb, but I’m still a womanizer. So, that’s progress – baby steps. He’s not a dumb guy at all. He’s just an underachiever, because he wanted to be a musician and they tend to be slackers anyhow. It’s interesting, because… there were some questions about my character’s intelligence level. So, I went to our executive producer and said, “I hope you’re not going to make him into the good looking dumb guy, because I’ve done that before… It’s so easy to write those kind of jokes for that kind of person.” I think it is much more difficult to write clever jokes and not make the good looking guy the idiot.
Is it true Marco Pennette (Crumbs’ executive producer and creator) based some of the show on his own family?
Yeah, in the show, kind of a big plot point that I don’t think I mentioned was that our characters had an older brother who died in a boating accident that my character was involved in… My character thinks that his parents blame him for what happened, for surviving. I think Marco cares for the show a little bit more than just a normal sitcom, because it is based on his life. Y’know, he’s gay and I think it took a while for him to come out to his parents and all the stuff that happens when you decide to do that.
What was your mindset when coming into this show?
I’ve done a pilot every year since I started, so it’s not really a question of if I’m gonna get a pilot. I kinda figure I’m gonna get one. It’s just trying to pick which one I want to do. There’s no real modulator as far as, y’know, this is a good script and then it gets made and it’s a not a good show. Or, it’s a bad script and it gets made and it’s a bad show, and it gets on the air and runs for ten years. You try and pick, but I think it’s pretty impossible to decide which one is going to be the right one. So, going into this, I had a meeting with Marco, and I had read the script the night before, and, to me, it reminded me of the old show Soap, with Billy Crystal. Ted Wass, who played Danny on Soap, is our director, and Ted had said the same thing. I was encouraged that Marco kind of sought me out for this role… That’s always a good thing, because it means the studio or the network didn’t force him to hire someone that he didn’t really want.
In this first series of questions, we cut to the chase and bombard our subjects with question after question, denying them time to think. That way we can expose their tendencies or secrets, confirm or refute their reputations and truths, or simply shed color on who they are and what they dig.
- Pink’s or Skyline?
- Dan Gable or the Junkyard Dog?
- Lars Ulrich or Keith Moon?
- Short Board or Long Board?
Depends on the day.
- Goofy Foot or Switch Foot?
- Psychosis or Neurosis?
- Crumbs – Bread or Cookie?
- Marvel Comics or DC?
- Jack Johnson or Dick Dale?
B52s or Jefferson Airplane?
- Boxers, briefs or commando?
I’m gonna have to go briefs, man. Well, let me… I like the boxers, but I feel I need to be more specific, because Calvin Klein makes a boxer cut in the brief style. A hybrid.
- Richard Pryor or George Carlin?
If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be, if the drink were:
- A glass of red wine?
- A beer?
- Gin Martini?
- A Wal-Mart Icee?
They call North Hollywood NOHO and West Hollywood WEHO. Rename the following parts of Ohio.
- North Canton?
- Shaker Heights?
Hell No Ho.
- Beaver Creek?
You are walking down death row. What did you just eat and what is your final wish?
A box of Sno Caps, some cookies-n-cream ice cream and Jujubees.
What was your last wish?
That my son would help out with world hunger. No, Jenna Jameson… No, wait, my wife will be all bent out of shape on that one.
You wish you had a bigger spoon for your ice cream.
Yeah, that’s good. Thank you.
The best role ever written was for what movie and who was the star?
Man, I’m thinking, I loved Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.
Did he do the role justice?
Absolutely. Y’know they hired Harvey Kietel, then shot like two to three weeks and fired Harvey Kietel.
Which actor gets the most kick-ass scripts?
Johnny Depp or Tom Hanks.
What is the most underrated career one can have?
Who is the biggest star to ever come out of Ohio?
What types of mental illnesses would make your mother harder to deal with?
God, she has so many. I’m trying to think of which ones she doesn’t have. I guess… Tourette’s.
“Douche bag! Douche bag!”
At what point does fibbing become lying to your child?
When he’s old enough to know better.
Would you rather have a family full of drunks or a family full of crazies?
Aren’t they the same thing. I would rather have a family full of drunks.
If you decided to become a Tibetan Monk, how supportive would your family be?
Not so much, because I couldn’t buy them things. They don’t have a lot of personal items.
How does an Ohio boy survive in California?
When you go to the Gym, never pick up the soap.
If a California guy were transplanted to Ohio, what advice would you give him?
Get yourself a can of Copenhagen and a Mullet.
How has fatherhood changed your lifestyle? What things have you had to put away or give up?
Actually, it has changed my lifestyle. I haven’t been able to go surfing in six months. I bought the new SOCOM for Playstation and haven’t even gotten into it.
What is the golden rule for working with an ensemble cast?
Be sure to tell everyone how great they are.
Which is the hardest muscle in the body to work out?
Crumbs airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.