“I Love My Job” Labor Day Column

“The Crazy Ones” star Robin Williams and Margie Barron.

“The Crazy Ones” star Robin Williams and Margie Barron.

There can be no doubt that I love my job. Interviewing celebrities and interesting people is pure joy for me, and there were an abundance of fascinating folks to keep me smiling during the recent Television Critics Association summer press tour. Some interviews produced funny moments, intentionally; others were hilarious with slips of the tongue and brutal honesty responding to reporters’ questions. So here’s a round-up of a few of my favorite quotes from the TCA interviews.

Robin Williams was rather sedate on the panel for the CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, until I noted the show’s poignant moments and mentioned there’s nothing more heart-wrenching than a sad clown. That’s all the Oscar-winning actor and comic genius needed to break into a sidesplitting riff. He faked crying about the “sad clown you wake up next to and go ‘Oh, my god, what are those big feet doing in the bed?’” Then he explained about balancing the comedy in the show. “You’re funny and then there’s that moment of tenderness. But you have to be very careful that it doesn’t go into too much sentimentality. There’s the sad clown, or the melancholy mime which sits next to the sad clown in a box with a window looking out.” You had to be there.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays Williams’ daughter on the series, said it’s great working with Robin, but it’s tough trying to keep a straight face. “It’s sort of like when my three-year-old says something really inappropriate and it’s really funny but I can’t laugh. That’s kind of like working with Robin.”

British author Phillippa Gregory, the executive producer of the Starz miniseries The White Queen, based on her historic novel, was on hand right after Prince William’s son was born. So when I asked her how she felt about the new royal baby she seriously shocked me saying, “I am utterly indifferent about Kate Middleton’s baby. It’s like blasphemy. I couldn’t care less. Except, of course, I’m very glad they had a baby. I’m very glad it’s all right. And I’m extremely glad for its sake that it’s a boy, because it’s going to have a terrible life. And if it had been a girl, it would have been a nightmare.”

Michael J. Fox is back on NBC this fall in The Michael J. Fox Show, and he said his kids are really glad to get him out of the house. “My kids are happy for me that I’m going back to work. But I think there’s a kind of scrutiny of their stuff that won’t exist if I’m occupied doing something else.” When asked if he’d ever consider doing another sequel to Back to the Future, he laughed, “I would have to play Doc Brown.”

Mike Tyson appeared at the HBO panel to talk about his show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, and said, “Don’t get too close. I might bite you.”

Speaking of sports, Keith Olbermann is returning to ESPN with a new talk show, and he announced it will have a segment called “The worst person in the sports world,” because “people kind of like that.”

Andy Samberg, star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a Fox comedy, admitted, “I was literally voted class clown at Berkeley High School. That’s a big school too, so I was a real dumbass.” And his co-star Terry Crews said his cop role is a dream job, because, “I’m an old football player, and I should be in jail.”

Adam Levine judge and coach for NBC’s The Voice referred to the talent show’s host Carson Daly as “the most high profile babysitter in the world.”

Claire Danes, star of Homeland on Showtime, acknowledged that her character is “off her meds, and Carrie is always sitting on her own personal ticking time bomb.” Co-star Damian Lewis said he’s back despite “these guys trying to kill me since the end of episode one.”

Kathy Bates, who has joined the ensemble cast for FX’s new season of American Horror Story: Coven, says shooting in New Orleans has added something very special to the scary drama, “humidity.”

Anne Reid has the wonderful Last Tango in Halifax premiering Sept. 8 on PBS. She noted that it’s a love story with co-star Derek Jacobi. They’re both in their 70s, and she bragged that they are both still sexy, and “we’ve both been to bed with Daniel Craig.” Reid in the film Mother and Jacobi in Love Is the Devil. Oh those sassy Brits.