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Back to You's Fred Willard Is the Life of the Party

On Back to You (Wednesdays, 8 pm/ET, Fox), the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton sitcom vehicle, Fred Willard plays freewheeling sportscaster Marsh McGinley, whose lead foot alarms a coworker tonight when they carpool together. Marsh is the latest in a gallery of grinning goofballs that Willard has given us over the course of a career that spans 40 years. TV Guide: What do you enjoy about Marsh?Fred Willard: I love it that he's a sports guy and that he says whatever comes to his mind. He doesn't think things through too much. Nothing seems to perturb him. It's pretty much opposite to the way I am in real life — I tend to overthink things. TV Guide: You have so many TV credits. An

G.J. Donnelly

On Back to You (Wednesdays, 8 pm/ET, Fox), the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton sitcom vehicle, Fred Willard plays freewheeling sportscaster Marsh McGinley, whose lead foot alarms a coworker tonight when they carpool together. Marsh is the latest in a gallery of grinning goofballs that Willard has given us over the course of a career that spans 40 years.

TV Guide: What do you enjoy about Marsh?
Fred Willard: I love it that he's a sports guy and that he says whatever comes to his mind. He doesn't think things through too much. Nothing seems to perturb him. It's pretty much opposite to the way I am in real life — I tend to overthink things.

TV Guide: You have so many TV credits. Anything make Back to You special?
Willard: Kelsey Grammer is the kind of guy I love to work with because he doesn't want to overwork anything. As a result, you tend to focus more.

TV Guide: You excel at exaggerated stereotypes. Are you a cutup in real life?
Willard: If I'm in a good moodand around people I feelreally comfortable with, I can be the life of theparty. But I can also be the guy at the table whopeople turn to and say, "You're awfully quiet."

TV Guide: One of your louder characters was Fernwood 2-Night's Jerry Hubbard.
Willard:
I loved that show andworking with Martin Mull. That's my favorite TVcharacter. I think it was the first time I ever playeda character who never thought twice before hesaid something. And there's been kind of athrough line into the things I did with ChristopherGuest, particularly in Best in Showwhen I was the dog-show announcer.

TV Guide: How is it working with Guest and his rep company?
Willard: It's like being called upwith the Dodgers. I'm a longtime friendand fan of Eugene Levy andCatherine O'Hara. I just love [Guest's] quiet, offbeat sense of humor. I thinkeverybody who does hismovies is on the samewavelength.

TV Guide: You never seem to age. What's your secret?
Willard: [Laughs]I'm a big square, I love to exercise. I'm just a step away from being a hypochondriac. And a sense of humor helps.

Watch more of Back to You in our Online Video Guide.
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