Bronson Pinchot (Dad’s Garage 4/28-29) talks improv, tiny homes and bald spots

NEW YORK – JUNE 14: Host Bronson Pinchot poses backstage during “Broadway Under The Stars” in Bryant Park June 14, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Kent/Getty Images)

This was posted by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk page

Bronson Pinchot was a big deal in the 1980s and 1990s, with notable moments in movies like “Beverly Hills Cop” and “True Romance” and a starring role in the hit ABC sitcom “Perfect Strangers” as sweet, naive immigrant Balki.

He has admittedly seen his career downsize a bit since then but over the years has found a niche as an audiobook narrator and restoring historical property. He’s also decided to try improv for the first time in his 57 years at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta for four shows April 28 and 29. (Buy tickets here.)

Kevin Gillese, who runs Dad’s Garage, ran into Pinchot in Los Angeles at a cafe and said “I was kind of gushing on him. I think he’s a brilliant comedic actor. I just wanted to hang out for a minute with him. I loosely floated the idea of bringing him to Dad’s Garage. We’ve done this before with Fred Willard, Colin Mochrie and Tim Meadows.

Pinchot said he clicked with Gillese and instantly said yes.

“I have always had an element of improvisation in what I do,” Pinchot said. “And I do love fried green tomatoes!”

Pinchot broke through in 1984 in the film “Beverly Hills Cop,” where he played Serge, the art gallery owner with a bizarre accent and penchant for espresso. “My whole performance was improv,” he explained. “I was 25. People said, ‘How in the hell did you bring that flavor to it?’ It was improv. We didn’t work off the script. The writer was incensed!”

At Dad’s Garage, he will tell stories during the Friday 8 p.m. show and the improv cast will re-enact those stories on the spot on stage. On Saturday at 8, he will take on a character in their long-running improvised soap opera “Scandal,” which preceded the ABC show by more than a decade. For the 10:30 p.m. shows, Pinchot will play improv games with the cast.

“I gave Kevin carte blanche,” Pinchot said. He is looking forward to the process. “It’s like walking on a tightrope covered in vasoline.”

Pinchot said his career has been a case of improvisation, for better or worse. At age 41, he said he tried out musical theater on Broadway and Shakespeare for the first time. “This was the first time I had ever sung in front of strangers,” he said. “That’s the way my life works.”

Even during talk shows, where producers would “prep” the guests to ensure they had funny anecdotes to tell, he’d balk and say he wanted to just wing it.

“Once I went on Letterman, and in those days, they still had a makeup artist put black goo over my bald spot,” he said. “I was sitting in the green room watching him do his opening monologue talking about his island of hair separated by an asphalt driveway. I decided to come clean on my own hair. I rubbed a piece of paper on top of my head to show the black mark. Then he did it, too, on my head. We just laughed and talked about baldness. It was much more interesting than some pre-packaged anecdote. We were two guys howling in the public eye about two different approaches to losing their hair. That’s improv with one of the greatest.”

Watch the interview below:

He has also joined the “Tiny Home” brigade. He owns two.  One is a whopping 77 square feet. The other is an even more spacious 153 square feet. “You can clean them in the amount of time it takes to wake up,” he said. While he doesn’t have room for big parties, he has friends over, usually two or three at a time.

The downsizing is likely related to past financial issues regarding overextending himself in Pennsylvania renovating homes after his DIY show “The Bronson Pinchot Project” was cancelled.  He was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in 2015 and his homes were foreclosed. 

By the way, the theme song and opener for “Perfect Strangers” are quintessential late 1980s!

COMEDY PREVIEW

Bronson Pinchot at Dad’s Garage

8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. April 28 and April 29

$21-31 on Friday for both shows, $21.50-$31.50 for 8 p.m. $21-$31 for 10:30 p.m. on Saturday

Dad’s Garage

569 Ezzard St SE, Atlanta

www.dadsgarage.com

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