Brad Garrett and Robin Williams
How does one keep a straight face when acting opposite Robin Williams?
"You just have to think of, like, orphans or hurt puppies or things in your mind that just keep you in the moment and not laughing," Brad Garrett, who's making his debut in a recurring role on The Crazy Ones this week, tells TVGuide.com. "At the end of the week, you kind of figure out what kind of concentration you have as an actor."
Garrett stars as Gordon Lewis, the somewhat uptight business partner and best friend of Simon (Williams), who tries to keep things running like clockwork in the business/accounting side of the advertising firm they founded together. That's easier said than done with Simon heading up the creative department.
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"Gordon is a little OCD when it comes to handling the agency," the Everybody Loves Raymond alum says of his character. "He lives in the realm of everything having to be a certain way. ... To [Gordon], it's all about getting the account, keeping the account happy, and then moving on to the next account. With Simon, it's about relationships, it's about the creativity as it hits him. Simon has to teach Gordon how to let go a little bit and maybe meet in the middle."
On Thursday's episode, Gordon confronts Simon after discovering that he may have been working with a client off the books. "They have a 25-year relationship," Garrett explains of the two. "Gordon knows Simon inside-out because he was hanging with Simon in the days before his sobriety ... I just love that friendship angle of it."
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Another running joke throughout the episode is that Gordon is suffering through a juice cleanse in solidarity with his husband Timothy. Garrett says playing a gay character whose sexual orientation isn't used as a focal point or punchline was one of the things that drew him to the role. "He's been married to a lovely man for 20 years," Garrett said. "I love how he's a guy that happens to be gay. There's really nothing stereotypical. It was written very naturally."
While Williams and Garrett, who is scheduled to appear in four more episodes this season, may play longtime pals on The Crazy Ones, they've never worked together in real life before. "Robin is truly one of my heroes," Garrett says. "It's just been great to be able to jam with the maestro."
The Crazy Ones airs Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS. Check out an exclusive sneak peek of Thursday's episode below.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)