Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Interviews: Brad Garrett, Elizabeth Perkins Chat New ABC Comedy HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS Premiering Tonight!


Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett star on the new ABC comedy HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS, premiering tonight Wednesday, April 3rd at 9:30/8:30c. (Check out a sneak peek here!)

The actors play eccentric parents Max and Elaine whose recently divorced daughter Polly (Sarah Chalke) moves back home. The transition has not been easy as Polly and her parents look at life through different generational lenses. Polly aspires to be organized and together, while Max and Elaine live a free-flowing, improvisational life-style.

Speaking exclusively to BWW, the veteran comics sounded a lot more like a seasoned married couple than two actors embarking on a new sitcom comedy!

BWW: You two play very unconventional parents on the new series. Can you talk a bit about your characters?

Elizabeth Perkins: Well Elaine is sort of a former flower child, party girl, pot-smoking sort of wild lady who had her daughter very young. She doesn't really remember raising her daughter, kind of remembers just bits and pieces, and now her daughter has moved back home along with her granddaughter and she's really at a loss as far as what to do with them.

Brad Garrett: Yeah, see we went through a mid-life crisis in our 20's and just held on to it. We're an unconventional couple on TV because we're happily married and once in a while I even get to have my way.

EP: Yeah and you even get to walk around naked.

BG: True, and we love our empty nest and I think usually when we see parents on TV they can't wait to have everyone move back, but that's not the case with Max and Elaine. We're starting to really enjoy our mid-life if you will, and all of a sudden our lovely daughter is back home which is fine...

EP: In small doses! But this is kind of permanent so we have to change the whole way that we live and that's very difficult for us.

BG: We have to wear pants.

EP: Can't have sex in the kitchen anymore.

BG: Well I can, but not with Elaine.

BWW: Brad, on 'Everybody Loves Raymond' you played a son who reluctantly lived with his parents. What is it like to be on the flip side of that situation now?

BG: Well, Marie loved having her boys around, whereas we're kind of the opposite. What really attracted me to this show was playing a guy that really enjoys his life, he's really the antithesis of the Robert character. He loves his marriage, he loves his career, even though he still pines away about being an actor, but he has a Comedy Club so...

EP: He's really kind of full of himself, but in a really great way.

BG: Well full of myself but out about it, you know what I mean. I have reason to be full of myself.

EP: Absolutely, cause he's fan-tas-tic!

BG: Yes I am. And you know Robert was on the ledge all the time.

BWW: You seem to have such great chemistry. Is this the first time you've worked together?

BG: Yes, but we've slept together before. No, I'm kidding, you know I was grateful about this chemistry that we had immediately.

EP: Max and Elaine will sort of finish each other's sentences...

BG: Yeah, or interrupt each other which is aggravating...

EP: Yeah, it's hard to get a word in edge-wise!

BWW: With the comedic experience you both bring to the show, do the writers allow you to ad-lib?

EP: No. Not at all actually. None. (laughing) No we do, we play.

BG: We play. I think in the beginning it's kind of set up a certain way to where, especially in single-camera, where ad-libbing is not as much...

EW: It doesn't allow for that much freedom, you're playing in front of an audience.

BG: But I would love that. We ad-lib in rehearsal a bit. But I love improv and so does... uh, give me your name again.

EW: Elizabeth.

BG: Elizabeth, Elizabeth Perkins, thank you. We feel like we're married, I mean we really do. In a good way. The chemistry I think is key in any comedy and it's rare. And Sarah Chalke is so wonderful and so available and generous as an actor too, so we got very fortunate.

EW: You mean we were very fortunate, not we got very fortunate.

BG: Did I say we got very fortunate? That's because we were talking to Witchita earlier...

EW: Yeah, and then there was Milwaukee before that.

BWW: Well you got New York here now so...

EW: (laughing), Yes we do!

BG: Well anyway, we got fortunate. Wouldn't that have been a good name for the show, 'We Got Fortunate'.

BWW: Well best of luck to both of you. I think it's going to be a big hit.

BG: Thank you. And we love Broadway by the way!!


Polly (Sarah Chalke) is a single mom who has recently divorced. The transition hasn't been easy for her, especially in this economy. So, like a lot of young people living in this new reality, she and her daughter, Natalie (Rachel Eggleston), have moved back home with her eccentric parents, Elaine (two time Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Elizabeth Perkins) and Max (three time Emmy winner Brad Garrett). But Polly and her parents look at life through different generational lenses. Polly (in contrast to how she was raised) aspires to be organized and together, while Max and Elaine live a more free-flowing, improvisational life-style. Polly wants to take it slow with new relationships, while her parents encourage her to be more sexually adventurous. Polly's co-worker and close friend, Jenn (Stephanie Hunt), also encourages her to jump right back into the dating world.

Polly and her parents' views on parenting itself also conflict: Polly wants to be an involved modern parent, but Max and Elaine are laid back, hands-off parents from the 1970s. Polly believes children need to be sheltered and have structure and guidance, while Max and Elaine feel that children need the freedom to fall and pick themselves back up. After all, Polly turned out okay, so what's the big deal?

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in Polly's case, this village is on fire, and although her ex-husband Julian's (Jon Dore) intentions are good, he doesn't exactly help extinguish the flames. But through figuring out how to live with her dysfunctional family, Polly realizes she might even be able to learn a few helpful things about herself.

"How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)" stars Sarah Chalke as Polly, Elizabeth Perkins as Elaine, Jon Dore as Julian, Rachel Eggleston as Natalie, Stephanie Hunt as Jenn and Brad Garrett as Max.

ABOUT Elizabeth Perkins:

Elaine on ABC's "How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)"

Elizabeth Perkins has distinguished herself with an eclectic mix of roles over her career. Her critically acclaimed performance in "Weeds" earned her 2006 and 2007 Golden Globe nominations and 2006 and 2007 Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actress.

Perkins made her feature film debut in Ed Zwick's "About Last Night...." Her breakthrough performance was opposite Tom Hanks in the SMASH hit "Big," directed by Penny Marshall, and she received critical acclaim for her performance in Barry Levinson's "Avalon." In 1991 she starred opposite William Hurt in the touching drama "The Doctor," and with Kevin Bacon in "He Said, She Said." Perkins then went on to star in "Indian Summer" before bringing cartoon character Wilma Flintstone to life in the blockbuster motion picture, "The Flintstones." She portrayed Dorey Walker in John Hughes' remake of the 1947 holiday classic, "Miracle on 34th Street," with Sir Richard Attenborough, and also co-starred opposite Kathleen Turner, Gwyneth Paltrow and Whoopi Goldberg in "Moonlight and Valentino."

Other credits include "From the Hip"; "Sweet Hearts Dance," with Jeff Daniels and Susan Sarandon; Alan Rudolph's "Love at Large"; "Enid Is Sleeping"; "Lesser Prophets"; Bruce Wagner's independent film, "I'm Losing You", co-starring Frank Langella, Rosanna Arquette and Amanda Donohoe; "Crazy in Alabama," directed by Antonio Banderas and co-starring Melanie Griffith, Paul Mazursky and Cathy Moriarty; the independent feature "Under the Mimosa," co-starring Brad Renfro and directed and written by Bo Brinkman; "28 Days," opposite Sandra Bullock; "Cats & Dogs"; "Finding Nemo," as The Voice of Coral; "Jiminy Glick in Lalawood"; "The Ring Two"; "Must Love Dogs"; "Fierce People," in which she starred opposite Diane Lane, and this year's "HOP."

Perkins made her television debut in "For Their Own Good." Her other television projects include "Baby 2000," SHOWTIME's "The Rescuers," "WhatGirls Learn," "Speak," the series "From the Earth to the Moon" and the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "My Sister's Keeper," opposite Kathy Bates.

ABOUT: Brad Garrett

Max on ABC's "How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)"

Brad Garrett was only 23 years old when he first appeared on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson," making him one of the youngest comedians ever featured. As his career advanced, he began headlining at national venues and opened for the legendary singers Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr.

Garrett is best known for his role as Robert Barone on the Emmy-winning series "Everybody Loves Raymond," for which he won three individual Emmys. He starred as Jackie Gleason in the telefilm"Gleason," which earned him both Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Additionally he starred on Broadway opposite Matthew Broderick in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple."

His live action film credits include "Music and Lyrics," "Suicide Kings," "The Pacifier" and Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown." Garrett will next be seen in "Burt Wonderstone" and David Chase's directorial feature debut, "Not Fade Away." In animation his trademark voice has been featured in over 20 films, including the contemporary classics "Casper," "Finding Nemo," "Ratatouille" and "Tangled."

Having recently opened his own Comedy Club at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Garrett hopes it will provide both legendary comedians and the next generation of comics a place in Las Vegas to call "home."

Photo: ABC/Bob D'Amico/Jordin Althaus/Eric McCandless/Michael Ansell

Related Articles View More TV Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

From This Author Caryn Robbins