First things first: Comedian/actor/producer/director Michael McDonald is a separate person from white fox/baritone/Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers voice Michael McDonald. The two inhabit very different worlds, but the former is slowly working his way toward a similar level of fame in his own mediums of stand-up and television. The former “MADtv” star has since found regular acting and directing work on hit shows such as “Scrubs” and “Cougar Town,” and still finds time to tour the comedy club circuit, which he’ll be doing this weekend at Cobb’s.
The prolific character actor recently sat down and answered our pressing questions via email:
Your Wikipedia page is fantastically comprehensive, like a detailed résumé of everything you’ve done since college, including where you were working before you started doing comedy. What else would you add if you had full editorial control?
I would mostly delete stuff. I've done a bunch of truly horrible B Movies. The only thing I would add is that I am fantastic in bed.
On Cougar Town, for which you direct, produce and now act, you play a snooty wine bar owner, which we seem to have on every block here in SF. Do you think there’s just something about working with wine that breeds snootiness, or perhaps the wine business attracts a certain type of person?
Actually, in my experience, I have found most people who are into wine are very cool people. I'll even go out on a limb and say that alcoholics in general are a wonderful bunch. I hate to stereotype, but it's true. I love drunks.
On MadTV, you played a sprawling list of characters from all walks of public life. Since the show ended, has there been a public figure who has made you think ‘man, I could do such a good riff on them’?
Nobody comes to mind at the moment. I do miss playing Tim Gunn. He was such a fun character to play, with his physicality and great vocabulary. John Kerry was fun too. People always say how different the country would have been if he had won the Presidency in 2004. Selfishly, all I thought after he lost was: "Damn, I don't get to play him anymore." In general, on Mad TV, I played any celebrity who was white, old, or a serial killer.
You’ve toured all around the country including several stops here in San Francisco. Have you noticed anything different about San Francisco audiences compared to the rest of the country?
Yes, the San Franciscans who come to my shows are very smart and extremely good looking. They also have excellent taste in comedy. The San Franciscans who don't come to my show are dumb and ugly and don't know how to take a joke. If you're reading this, which group do you want to be in? Now go buy a ticket to my show. Cobb's Comedy Club. May 19, 20, 21. End of shameless plug.
What’s going on in your personal life right now that you’re discussing in your routine, or perhaps you would like to work into your act?
Hm... just some fun stories about getting caught in a herd of Dutch travelers, meeting Carlos Santana, and being outed as a lesbian by my iPod genius bar.
Who are your favorite three stand-ups working today?
There's way more than three. There's a ton of great stand ups working today - and tomorrow, I will think of many I forgot to mention. But here's who comes to mind on the fly: Kathy Griffin, Daniel Tosh, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Andy Kindler, Patton Oswalt...
What does the rest of 2011 (and 2012 if you know) hold? Any new projects on the horizon?
Well, the world is ending in 2012, so I plan on running around screaming my head off and dying with the regret of not telling my friends and family I love them.