Jeff Garlin comes home to address his addiction
Jeff Garlin in ‘No Sugar Tonight’
7:30 p.m., July 13 - 24
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago
$15 - $25
(312) 335-1650, www.steppenwolf.org
Updated: July 8, 2011 9:08AM
Jeff Garlin, best known for his role as Jeff Greene, Larry David’s manager in the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” will be performing “No Sugar Tonight: An Evening of Stand-Up Comedy,” July 13-24, at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. The material in his stand-up show stems from the Morton Grove native’s addiction to sugar.
Garlin, 49, a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, started out doing stand-up as a young man, but has added the titles of actor, author, director, producer and writer to his credits over the years. He studied at Second City in Chicago and has appeared in several movies and televisions shows, including the film he wrote, directed and starred in, “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With,” in 2006.
His most recent film credits include the voice of Otis, the car, in “Cars 2” (2011), Buttercup, the unicorn, in “Toy Story 3” (2010) and the Captain in “Wall-E” (2008), all Pixar animated features. Some of his earliest TV credits include roles in “Roseanne” (1989) and “Baywatch” (1994), followed later by “The Michael Richards Show” in 2000.
Garlin took a break on June 17 to talk with Pioneer Press just before heading from Los Angeles to London, where he would perform “No Sugar Tonight” before coming back to the United States to do the show. In “No Sugar Tonight,” you talk about your addiction to sugar. How addicted are you?
In “No Sugar Tonight,” you talk about your addiction to sugar. How addicted are you?
Was it hard coming up with a whole routine based on this?
It’s hard coming up with anything for anything. It’s hard coming up with anything people would be interested in. But, I’ve worked my butt off out here and I’m leaving tomorrow for London and I’m doing five shows in London. Then I’m going to be performing in New York and then I’ll be in Chicago. So, I’m feeling really confident now, I’ll be even better when I get to Chicago.
You grew up in Morton Grove. Did your addiction begin there? How did it happen?
My addiction, yes, began in Morton Grove. I was a very young fella. I remember not being able to get enough Ho-Hos.
You’re a Cubs fan. Which is the more difficult struggle: Addiction to sugar or watching the Cubs this year?
Right now it’s the Cubs. For me, after the first two or three weeks without sugar I was fine. But the Cubs are more difficult. It is a misery this year. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I mean, I don’t even really know what to say. I mean, yeah... my God.
In “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” how close is your character to real life?
I talk like the character, I look like the character, but that’s about it. The character is pretty horrible, if you ask me.
You’ve been in three Pixar animated features -- “Cars 2,” “Wall-E” and “Toy Story 3.” Which one of those characters is most like you? Which was your favorite to do?
The one that’s most like me is “Toy Story 3.” Buttercup the Unicorn. They were all fun to do, but I’m more proud of “Wall-E” than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I love “Toy Story 3,” but it’s a small part. I was one of the little girl’s toys and it’s a small part. But, with “Wall-E,” it’s a big part. I’m mystified that I’m even involved with that movie. It’s an honor every time I see it. I think the movie’s magical, I think it’s one of the best movies ever made.
What do you remember from your appearances on “The Michael Richards Show,” “Roseanne” and “Baywatch”?
As far as “Michael Richards,” it was kind of a dark time for that show. It didn’t quite work. It wasn’t that fun. “Roseanne” was fun. I was very eager to have a bigger part. I had a small part and I wasn’t comfortable with that. As far as “Baywatch,” it was the worst acting I’ve ever done and the best acting I’ve ever done. You watch it, you’d think I’m terrible, but if you consider the fact I’m doing scenes with David Hasselhoff yelling at me and I didn’t laugh, I think my acting is remarkable.
Of all the things talked about today, which has been the most challenging and which has been most rewarding?
To tell you the truth, it’s all challenging. It’s just a big bowl of challenging. At least for me now, I don’t really do work I’m not proud of and I don’t do work anymore for the money, not that I’m rich per se. I pick and choose based on whether or not it’s something I’d find interesting. But, it’s all challenging. You know what? Let’s take a step back. The Cubs are the most challenging thing in my career.