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Exclusive Interview: Denis Leary

June 19th, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Rescue Me star Denis Leary has never been one to bite his tongue. The sharp-witted actor-comedian doesn’t mind telling it like it is, whether he’s mocking certain A-listers’ propensity for wearing wool hats when it’s 100 degrees outside or ranting about “facey-spaces and tweety pages“. It’s these stream-of-conscious tirades that make the Denis Leary Podcast series so much fun. In each session, Leary and his Rescue Me co-stars Lenny Clarke and Adam Ferrara gripe, riff and dig on whatever topic comes to mind. Earlier this month, Hulu asked Leary about the creative process behind these sessions, just as the trio’s Rescue Me Comedy Tour was hitting its stride. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

Want more Denis? Enter to win free tickets to upcoming shows on his Rescue Me Comedy Tour by signing up on the Denis Leary website. (See site for details.)

Hulu: So why did you decide to do these podcasts?
Denis Leary:
I decided to do it because I loved the idea of podcasts. I listened to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington’s and two other old friends of mine from England — comedians Frank Skinner and Dave Baddiel — and I thought Lenny and Adam and I could take what we do on the set of Rescue Me between takes and what we do on tour in between shows and what we do when we go out to eat — which is basically get into long ridiculous arguments over almost everything — and make money off of it.

What’s the process? How did you come up with the theme for each — do you have some talking points in mind beforehand, or do you just riff? (Which might explain how you end up going from the Ten Commandments to talking about Clint Eastwood cupping your balls.)

The process literally consists of us arriving at my office in New York and each of us mentioning a few subjects to each other — we write down a list that might consist of Ten Commandments/Auto-Asphyxiation/Clint Eastwood/Grapes and then we turn on the cameras and microphones and start arguing. That’s it. Seriously. Nothing else. The three of us have such a love/hate relationship with each other and the world at large that it doesn’t really take all that much to get us going.

Your Rescue Me co-stars Lenny Clarke and Adam Ferrara join you for these podcasts. You’re also on a Rescue Me Comedy Tour with them. Can you tell us a little about this comedy tour? I know it’s just started, but you aren’t sick of these guys yet? When you’re not filming podcasts and on stage, do you guys hang out together?
Like I said, we love/hate each other. Which — if you think about it — are the main two emotions in almost every successful marriage. And we are married, in a manner of speaking. The three of us will be friends forever. It’s court-ordered. The tour is going great. We’re two dates in and already it’s really cooking on stage, so that means its either going to be the best live stage show any of us has ever done or it’s peaking too early and by the time we get to New York to do the final three nights, it will just crash and burn like the Hindenburg. Either way, pretty goddamn exciting.

Let’s talk about Rescue Me … Season 6 is kicking off later this month. What can we expect from the new season? Where is Tommy headed?
To hell in a handbasket. Literally and figuratively. And Season 7? All I can say is you better wear a helmet while you’re watching it.

Do you spend any time watching TV online? Since you’re a writer, which shows do you enjoy, particularly on Hulu?
I watch a lot of stuff on Hulu. As do my children. They’re on there quite a bit. I kid you not — one recent night my son was watching Hulu on his computer WHILE he was wearing a Hulu tee shirt you guys sent me after I did that commercial for you.

My top five TV shows of all time are Columbo, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Sopranos, The Job (I get to pick one of mine I’m assuming), The King Of Queens ( Kevin James makes me laugh my ass off), the British Office, 24, All In The Family, and ALF. Okay, so that’s nine. Sorry. Eight, really. I was just kidding about ALF. Wait — speaking of puppets — make it nine: Craig Ferguson. The shit he does with puppets on his show is brilliant. BRILLIANT. A 53-year-old man with a sock on his right hand pretending to be a pissed off rabbit or an insanely hip crocodile? He’s gotta be on something.

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