Tonight at 10 pm/ET, Showtime presents the first-season finale of Weeds, its half-hour dramedy about widowed mom Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) and the pot-peddling she does to make ends meet. Supplying Parker with her parsley (as well as a bit of sexual tension) is Conrad, played by Romany Malco, who was more than happy to speak with TVGuide.com about the "buzz" he has enjoyed as of late on screens both small and silver.
TVGuide.com: My wife loves Weeds — no small praise coming from the woman who's too scared to watch Prison Break with me.
Romany Malco: Dude, that's the bomb. I can't tell you how many people I've run into, from how many different walks, who are like, "Oh, man, I love the show, whoopty woop." I've been on some shows that weren't that hot or weren't critically acclaimed, so it's nice to feel like I'm a part of something that's dope.
TVGuide.com: What led you to start a rap career at age 7?
Malco: When I lived in Laurelton, Queens, there was this guy named Mark, one of the bad boys we used to hang out with, who used to DJ and do battles at the park. One day, some kind of confusion broke out and a friend of his got shot. I remember Mark had this rap: "I heard a shot/I heard a cry/I said Timmy, Timmy, Timmy/Did you have to die?" He was sitting on the boy's bed when he said that, and from that point forward, my desire to put whatever I was feeling on paper was clear.
TVGuide.com: When you formed the group College Boyz, what surprised you about the rap industry?
Malco: The haterism within it. We were living in Texas, and then we come to California and are living our life as we know it, kicking it with the people we know in Long Beach.... We make our record and get some hits, amongst all these people we grew up admiring from the East Coast.... Yet when we got to do shows with them, they would literally come on stage and dis us. Our saving grace was we had one of the best hip-hop shows of the decade, and with that we were able to kind of earn a respect. Now don't get me wrong, we got love back in them days from like, Naughty by Nature, A Tribe Called Quest, cats like that who were off doing different things, but there was also a lot of haterism, bro.
TVGuide.com: Tell me how John Leguizamo got you into acting.
Malco: Before I signed at Virgin Records to be a rapper, I was writing the rhymes for that animated cat that Paula Abdul had in her videos. I refused to sing them, but it doesn't matter — people still tell me I'm MC Skat Cat. Anyway, years go by and I get this weird call saying that John Leguizamo wanted me to do that kind of music for The Pest. I was like, "Cool, hook it up." So I start teaching John how to rap, and he's just a dope cat to kick it with, so we became friends. He and his wife were like, "Yo, you should be an actor, Rom. You are a clown." I auditioned for the movie and didn't get it, but like, a year later I got all these calls from different casting agents saying that [Pest casting director] Wendy Kurtzman said I was her favorite audition of all time.
TVGuide.com: Do you still have the parachute pants from the MC Hammer movie you did for VH1?
Malco: Aw, dude, I've got them on right now because they're lined really nice, so the shingles....
TVGuide.com: Haha. You were one of The 40 Year Old Virgin's buddies. Did you sense it would be a hit?
Malco: I never know what a project I'm working on is going to be. I just knew that it was something that I "got" and could enjoy — and a lot of that came from the fact that [writer-director] Judd Apatow was like, "Just say it the way you'd say it." That gave us the freedom to contribute jokes and ideas and pull together what appears to be one of the bigger movies of the year.
TVGuide.com: What is your favorite scene?
Malco: It's got to be when Seth [Rogen] tells Steve [Carell], "Just ask the girl questions," and Steve does that with Elizabeth Banks. At the end, she's all smitten with him, and he asks us, "Do I get her number?" Seth's like, "No, you've gotta wait till the seed grows into a plant. Then you've gotta f--- the plant!"
TVGuide.com: The dialogue in Weeds is equally colorful and hilarious. Who gets props?
Malco: We've got a mad crazy team of writers. We've got a genuine Latin side covered, a genuine African-American side covered... every possible take you could have. One thing I give [series creator] Jenji [Kohan] incredible credit for is that she's very thorough in her research. You gotta make adjustments because of the fact that it's television, so people who really are out there selling weed might go, "You wouldn't do that." Yeah, you'd do that in a half-hour [show]!
TVGuide.com: Are you glad they haven't played the Conrad-Nancy card yet? They hooked you up with Elizabeth Perkins for a romp instead.
Malco: That was a nice way to throw off the audience, but wait until you see season finale.
TVGuide.com: Oh, but I have.
Malco: Oh, s---. I thought I was saying something. But yeah, I am glad, because [what transpires tonight] makes for a way more colorful experience.
TVGuide.com: What is your take on the very last scene?
Malco: Oh, that was a good blow. For me, it was probably one of the best pieces of foreshadowing in the entire show. I was like, "Damn, that's good. Oh, that's good."
TVGuide.com: How's it looking for a second-season pick-up?
Malco: I've heard a little rumor here and there, but I would say that because of the critical acclaim of the show and the incredible job Mary-Louise is doing, and for the sake of Showtime getting a few Emmy nominations and for the [network's] profile, it would be wise. And you know what, I am really interested in seeing Sleeper Cell [a controversial series debuting on Showtime Dec. 4], and if you can sustain the life of high-profile shows like Weeds, you create the potential for even more people to be aware of Sleeper Cell. There is no excuse for [not wanting] to utilize what I consider to be one of the trailblazers for that, Weeds.
TVGuide.com: They would be, um, high not to.
Malco: Yeah, I agree.