The Closer's "Odd Couple" on Their Comic Chemistry
G.W. Bailey and Tony Denison, The Closer
's (Mondays, 9 pm/ET, TNT) G.W. Bailey
and Tony Denison
rap about Kyra Sedgwick
, comedy and how they're like Felix and Oscar.TV Guide: So, the Aug. 11 episode of The Closer is called "Dial M for Provenza" and features you two — what's it about?
] Well, there's more of Provenza in it than Flynn, so right away there's a problem.G.W. Bailey:
You find out that [guest star Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde
)] has hired a hit man to kill her husband, and the guy she hired went to the police. So they send me in to be the undercover guy. And we lose some stuff that we shouldn't lose. Flynn's there, too, but I get all the blame.TV Guide: Is that why Assistant Police Chief Pope (J.K. Simmons) wants Provenza to retire?
He says we've done enough. It really is very funny. But in the center of this maelstrom, it's very much about age and fighting to keep your place. Because with all the griping and grumbling Provenza does, he has no other place to go. And he obviously is down to only one friend, and that's Flynn.TV Guide: What's it like working with Jennifer Coolidge?
She's a real character. She goes off her instincts and all of them are funny. We're hoping the future will bring her back to the show, because she got real sweet on Provenza.Denison:
Can you imagine?Bailey:
Well, I told you it was a comedy. She gets sweet on him and eventually we have to send her away. But now I'm trying to talk the writers into letting me appear at her parole board. I'm trying to get her out on the streets again.TV Guide: Were your characters funny to begin with or did you two create that dynamic?
A lot of it has to do with G.W. Very early on, I sat down on his desk, and he says to me, "You want to get your ass off my desk?" And I looked at him and said, "Are you serious?" He goes, "Well, G.W. doesn't care, but Provenza cares." So that started the curmudgeonly nature between the two of them. We both take turns being Abbott and Costello. Bailey:
It goes back to the old Jack Benny and George Burns [routines]. George Burns would say, "Good morning" to Jack Benny and Benny would laugh — he was gone for five minutes! And I say anything to Tony and he starts laughing. Denison:
And it's just the opposite reaction with me. Almost everything he does irritates me. And he reminds me [of Felix Unger]. If we ever had time to do a revival of The Odd Couple
, obviously I would play Oscar.Denison:
A lot of what makes [the humor] possible is that Kyra likes to play, too. God bless her, out of a 46-page script, she's got 36 pages of dialogue, easily. Bailey:
And she's in the other 10 pages. But she loves those [funny] kinds of episodes. It's a pity that she has to do so much of the other stuff.TV Guide: You two didn't see each other for 14 years, when you both were in the short-lived show Under Cover, but you get together for The Closer and it's just like you…
...saw each other 14 days ago. Bailey:
Yeah. But I hadn't seen James Duff, the creator of The Closer
, in maybe 10 years. I've known him for 34, 35 years. I was his acting teacher when he was 16.TV Guide: Really?
Uh-huh. It was in a high-school workshop.Denison:
And you can see how good a teacher he was — James is writing now.Bailey:
Yeah, but due to my encouragement — I said, "Do anything."Denison:
Anything but act!TV Guide: Is being on The Closer the best gig ever?
If I were to design where I am in my life right now, I couldn't have written this scenario for myself, because it would have seemed unreal. I'm four miles from home, I have this great relationship with G.W., it's the No. 1 show on cable TV. I don't ever refer to it as going to work.Bailey:
I will say "Ditto" to all that. I agree with everything Mr. Denison has said. However, I will be honest — if, when I left this room and I checked my messages and Steven Spielberg had called, I'd leave these a--holes in a day, I swear to God! But until that day I'm a team player.
Watch full episodes of The Closer in our Online Video Guide.
Sign up now for our free Daily Scoop e-mail newsletter to get the inside scoop.
Send your comments on this Q&A to email@example.com.