Jeffrey Tambor, <EM>Welcome to the Captain</EM> Jeffrey Tambor, Welcome to the Captain

From Arrested Development's George Bluth Sr to The Larry Sanders Show's Hank ("Hey now!") Kingsley, Jeffrey Tambor has made a career of playing scene-stealing characters. And in CBS' new sitcom Welcome to the Captain (tonight at 8:30 pm/ET) — which features an odd assortment of tenants in a Hollywood apartment building — Tambor adds another eccentric to his canon as Uncle Saul, the Captain's good-hearted resident busybody.

TV Guide: What attracted you to this sitcom?
Jeffrey Tambor: I read the script and thought Uncle Saul was a lot of fun. He reminds me of every single one of my uncles and a lot of my father. I also like that it's one-camera, which I think is better for our times now. And I get to dress very comfortably, which is sort of selfish on my part.

TV Guide: How often do people bring up Arrested Development?
A lot. I was just in Budapest [filming] Hellboy 2 and people would come up to me on the street and ask me about [the show]. At my local yogurt place, my yogurt server goes crazy. The college kids really got it. For the first time, I have street cred. I am actually hip.

TV Guide: On paper, your NBC sitcom with John Lithgow, 20 Good Years, looked like a slam-dunk. Why do you think it didn't work?
I have no idea. I thought we were funny enough. I thought the chemistry was good enough. I hope it wasn't the age.... I bet it was me and not John. I probably am the ruin of that show. Maybe it was my hairline. It threw people. But who knows?

TV Guide: You were in two classic sitcoms, Arrested and Sanders. What was your most fulfilling role?
I would say it's a tie between [a 1995 installment of HBO's] Tales from the Crypt, where I played this ugly, gargantuan 500-pound man... and [1979's]... And Justice for All. That was my first film, opposite Al Pacino. I thought at any point someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and say, "I'm sorry, there's been a terrible mistake. We were looking for 'Jerry Tabor.'"

Get a sneak peak of Welcome to the Captain 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