MADtv Comedian Michael McDonald Takes Off His Pants for New Times
Michael McDonald might be easily recognized for cracking us up as cast member on MADtv for a staggering 10 years. But having been in the biz for that long, he has found his own path to success that includes a number of ways to make us laugh besides a good old fashioned "Look what I can do!"
Michael McDonald will perform live this weekend, June 7th through June 9th, at the Fort Lauderdale Improv.
The seasoned comedian comes from a deep improv education as a member of the notorious Groundlings. So, before he goes deep into the Fort Lauderdale Improv this weekend, we chatted about how his early career still played a big role in MADtv, chasing down Sandra Bullock with a knife, and playing the voice of Gandhi on the greatest and most forgotten cartoon of all time. All, for the most part, with his pants off.
New Times: So, you are actually the third MADtv alum that I have interviewed.
Michael McDonald: Really? Well I hope to maintain the tradition of us all being terrible interviews.
Me too. Most recently, we talked with Bobby Lee.
Bobby actually is the main reason I got into stand up, so we have him to blame.
We talked about MADtv and I asked whether or not the cast reunites like a fraternity, and his quote was "not like a fraternity, more like we went to war. Like we were on the Titanic and we survived, and we all have this deep connection."
I like to think of it as we all found out later in life that we are blood related and there are varying degrees of happiness about it. You know, it's weird. How do I put this? I was going to say sketch shows are hard to be on and then I think about people that have really hard jobs like soldiers or doctors, now that's actually hard. But, relative to another TV show, sketch shows tend to have a little bit more drama behind them because you are kind of responsible for coming up with material as well. I think because of the uncertainty of it from week to week, it causes a lot more stress than the average show.
I know that you were a Groundlings guy. Did any characters that you developed while a part of the troupe make their way over to MADtv?
Oh yeah, I would say most of the characters I ended up doing on MADtv started out as Groundlings characters.
What about Stuart?
Yes. Stuart was something that I created at the Groundlings with Mindy Sterling, she played Frau Farbissina on Austin Powers. She originally created Stuart's mom and then when I got to MADtv, I knew I could do Stuart, but it really need the mom character too, and I asked her if I could do a version of that character. Obviously, it wouldn't be the same, Mindy does it differently than Mo [Collins]. But I needed to get Mindy's permission, and it's always ranked at the top of my definition of a generous actor and performer that Mindy could have said no and she didn't, and that doesn't always happen.