Call with Darryl Hall and Mike Henry of "The Cleveland Show" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Cleveland Show cast and logo

Interview with Darryl Hall and Mike Henry of "The Cleveland Show" on FOX November 18th, 2009


Hailey St. Phillips, FBC Publicity
Mike Henry, Co-Creator & Executive Producer of The Cleveland Show
Daryl Oates, Guess Star, The Cleveland Show


Moderator Welcome to The Cleveland Show with Daryl Hall and Mike Henry conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Hailey St. Phillip. Please go ahead.

H. St. Phillip Hello, everyone. Good morning. Thanks for joining us for The Cleveland Show conference call with co-creator and exec producer, as well as voice of Cleveland Brown himself, Mike Henry, and special guest voice, Daryl Hall, of Hall and Oates. Daryl Hall and John Oates guest voice appearances debut this Sunday, November 22nd, at 8:30 p.m. in a very special Brown Thanksgiving episode on Fox. As a reminder, Hall and Oates have just released their first ever box set, and Daryl is currently working on his monthly Internet series called Live from Darylís House. At this time, Iíll turn the call over to Mike and Daryl to introduce themselves, and then weíll start with our first question.

M. Henry This is Mike. Iím also Cleveland from The Cleveland Show, and we are thrilled to have Daryl and John on our show, and Iím thrilled to be on the phone here with Daryl, who Iíve been a fan of forever. And I donít know if you want to say hello, Daryl, and then I can give a little pitch on the show.

D. Hall Yes. Iím glad to have been asked to do it. Itís been a great experience. I hope we do more of them, and itís a great show, and John and I are both having a lot of fun doing it.

M. Henry Cool. Yes. Having my own show, so to speak, not that itís literally all mine, but being able to kind of reach out to people that I personally am a fan of or admire the talent of, itís just a thrill to have Daryl and John. Basically they play an angel and a devil over Clevelandís shoulders, and they give Cleveland conflicting advice on what to do about kind of a touchy situation, if you will, in this episode. Thereís a relative of Clevelandís wife, Donna, who has come to town, Auntie Mamma, who is voiced by Kym Whitley, a very funny actress/comedian. She is a little bit larger than life, and letís just say that Clevelandís dad, Freight Train Brown, who is voiced by Craig Robinson, who you all most know from The Office and pretty much every Hollywood comedy that comes out right now.

Freight Train is kind of a tough guy and is not real nice to Cleveland, and is immediately enamored with Auntie Mamma. And Cleveland finds out a secret about Auntie Mamma, which Iíll leave for the on air audience, and heís having a dilemma as to whether or not he should tell his dad about it, and Daryl and John play an angel and a devil over his shoulders, I believe Daryl tells him to go ahead and tell his dad and stick to honesty in the relationship, and his dad will respect him. And John goes ahead and tells him to let his dad go ahead and get into some trouble.

I donít want to give too much away about the episode, but I will say that it is personally my favorite so far, and I think the funniest so far, and it will be on at 8:30 eastern on Sunday on Fox.

D. Hall I think Iíve been totally miscast as an angel.

M. Henry Yes, you know, one of the writers pitched that you were the angel, and I was like, it seems like Daryl may have had more fun along the way, no offense, John, but yes. I donít know ifÖ.

D. Hall No worries.

M. Henry I donít want to give too much away about the episode, so itís hard not to give it away, but maybe Auntie Mamma has got a penis. Letís just say that. There. Iíve given it away.

H. St. Phillip I think we can open this up for questions.

M. Henry Yes.

Moderator Your first question comes from the line of David Martindale from Hearst Newspapers.

D. Martindale Hello, guys. Thanks for doing the call. I was going to open with the devil and the angel thing. Was there really a discussion about whether I get to play an angel or whether I get to play the devil? Did you fight over it? Tell me more.

D. Hall Not really. The script was given to me and John, and we just went with it. I figured, as I said a couple seconds ago, itís a little stretch for me to be an angel, but I can be an actor.

D. Martindale I think it was the blond flowing locks thatÖ.

D. Hall Thatís it, of course. I look angelic, of course.

D. Martindale Thatís right.

M. Henry Let me just say, I first met these guys in Las Vegas about a year ago. My wife and I were there for a weekend, and our casting director, Linda Lamontagne, put us in touch with these guys, and we went back and talked to them after the show and had a nice chat, and they were interested in doing this, so we wrote the part and sent it on over.

D. Hall You planted the seed a year ago saying, hey, would you like to be on the show thatís not on TV yet.

M. Henry Pretty much, but we do have a built in audience from Family Guy, so thatís a huge advantage for us, and I think weíre being pretty well received as far as ratings go. And critically being different from Family Guy, and weíre in the middle of production on our second season already, even though only six have aired. They have committed to 34 episodes, so weíre feeling good.

D. Martindale Mike, why did Cleveland get his show as opposed to any of the other characters on there? Why not Stewie, for example?

M. Henry Well, Stewie kind of has his show, and thatís Family Guy. You know, when we were looking at spinning off, Cleveland was kind of the only character ever mentioned. A spin-off is a dicey thing because you donít want it to be a clone of your show, and Cleveland really is kind of a step removed from all of the other characters on Family Guy. Heís a little more thoughtful and kind of a nice guy. So we figured we could kind of easily make it more of a family show. Heís the kind of guy that weíre hoping people are rooting for because heís doing things out of the goodness of his heart. Heís not just bumbling into situations like Peter or Homer Simpson, you know, just kind of being idiotic or not caring about whatever, and then here we go. But Cleveland gets himself into situations by trying to do the right thing.

D. Martindale Yes, this is true. Thank you much. Iíll let some other people ask questions. Itís been a pleasure.

M. Henry Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Angela Henderson from The Herald Dispatch.

A. Henderson Hello, guys. Thanks for taking the time. Daryl, this question is for you. No doubt youíve heard some talk lately that Hall and Oates is becoming cool again or that you guys are making a comeback, and those of us that are fans know you guys never went anywhere.

M. Henry Amen.

A. Henderson Does that kind of talk bother you guys at all about making a comeback?

D. Hall Yes, of course. Well, it doesnít bother me, but you said it yourself. We never went anywhere. This sort of concept of mass popularity in our careers has come and gone more than once, and we take the ups and downs of the masses in stride. Thatís not what weíre really all about. Weíre musicians. Weíve always been musicians. We always will be musicians, and we just do good work or do the best work we can. If a lot of people like it, thatís good, and Iím glad. I think circumstances have come our way and a lot of old battles that weíve fought, weíve long won, and weíre just happy to be intergenerational.

A. Henderson Mike, you said amen to that. Would you like to add something there?

M. Henry Amen. Yes, I mean, as an artist, Daryl and John obviously experienced success relatively early on. Would you say that, Daryl?

D. Hall Yes, well, I mean we were recording together about five years before we really had success as far as commercialityÖ.

M. Henry Right, so thatís some chops right there, but then once you hit it, then everyone is expecting something Ė I mean, I donít even know what people are expecting, but I think just Ė and you can speak to this much better than I. You hit the mainstream, and thenÖ.

D. Hall Every artist has to hit the mainstream. Thatís part of a career.

M. Henry Right.

D. Hall We did it a number of times. You know, I donít care what kind of music you make. You have to be a pop star at some point, whether youíre Bob Dylan or Daryl Hall. So, I mean, thatís just all part of it. But weíre not really attached to any era. People try and tag us in the Ď80s because we had success in the Ď80s. We had success in the Ď70s. We had success in, you know, more recent times. You know, itís hard to put us in any kind of place.

M. Henry I think you can, too, as an artist, you can only control what you put out.

D. Hall Sure.

M. Henry And whether itís received by a relatively small, enthusiastic group, or the whole country or the world, itís really, itís a fickle thing, but Iíve always loved your guysí music. Individual songs take you back to a certain time, and I wonder if thatís why people are feeling or are expressing what youíre saying, which I actually havenít really heard.

A. Henderson Mike, let me amen at your comments that any time you guys can be on TV, Daryl, for anything, itís great, and we look forward to seeing it on Sunday. Thank you, guys.

D. Hall Thank you.

M. Henry Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Reg Seeton from

R. Seeton Hello, guys. How are you doing?

M. Henry Great.

R. Seeton This question is for Daryl. Walking into The Cleveland Show, is it easy to throw your act away and have some fun even though youíre playing yourself?

D. Hall Iíve tried to figure out what my act is for a long time. You know, I donít actually have an act. Maybe thatís something unusual about what John and I do. Weíre just ourselves. Because of that, I think that I can sort of stretch in any direction. I love doing comedy. I did a show called Z Rock about six months ago that was a lot of improv and a lot of fun, and Iíve done other things, even back to SCTV back in the early Ď80s, so this is one of those things I like to do occasionally. I think John is the same as me. We really feel sort of comfortable with this comedic thing, and we like to stretch.

M. Henry Let me just say that theyíre real good at it too. It didnít take much to get what we wanted. I think we knew how to write for them, and they knew how to deliver, so it was certainly not one of these things where we just started trying to shoehorn somebody in. It was really just kind of the perfect thing. From our end, they were right on.

R. Seeton Great. This is another one for Daryl. Given the huge success that you and John have had, can you talk about the challenges youíre faced with today as an artist? Is it easier or harder than it was?

D. Hall What Iím doing right now, what Iím doing musically right now is actually easier. I think that the way the world has gone in, i.e. the Internet and sort of the demise of powerful record companies and all that kind of thing is very much in tune with the way my brain works and the way my artistry can flourish. I think that thatís a big part of why thereís such an interest, a sustained interest in what it is that I do and what John does.

If thereís a challenge, I just take it in stride. I love challenges. The web show that Iím doing, Live from Darylís House, is a gigantic challenge because I was creating something that nobody had ever really done before on the Internet, but I really enjoy stretching myself and applying myself to situations.

R. Seeton Great. Thanks, guys. Itís been a pleasure.

D. Hall Sure.

M. Henry Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Nancy Basile from

N. Basile Hello, guys. Thanks for having the call.

D. Hall Sure.

M. Henry Sure.

N. Basile My question is mainly directed to Mike. I think itís kind of funny that you just described Cleveland as the nice guy when Sunday night, one of the ways he got his wife out of a sticky jam was hiring two hookers and promising to wear a condom.
M. Henry Well, let me just say that you can often take liberty with what we call a show blow or an act blow, which doesnít really, you know. In our minds, heís not really going to go do that.

N. Basile Right.

M. Henry Yes. He got into a sticky situation because his wife was in kind of a secret club of single women, and he outed her by being her husband, and so he was trying to do her a favor and get her friends back by acting like a jackass with a couple hookers, and then as a parting shot, he said, ďDonít worry. Iíll wear a condom.Ē

N. Basile And itís left to the imagination. My main question though is how do you work towards differentiating The Cleveland Show from Family Guy, because of course everyone is going Ė you know, the spin-off, all that stuff. How do you, in the writerís room, work towards making it different?

M. Henry Well, I think itís just, for a lack of a better term, itís a little bit sweeter of a show, and Rich Appel is my creative partner in this, along with Seth MacFarlane, but Seth is kind of not really involved on a day-to-day basis, so Seth has a certain sensibility, which is Family Guy. And we have a certain sensibility, which is The Cleveland Show, and I will say that going into that, as Rich and I both have kids and, frankly, weíre both divorced and remarried, so we have empathy for a blended family or for this type of situation. Itís a mixed blessing coming off a show that the standard of comedy is so high with Family Guy that expectations are high. Frankly, I think weíre meeting them and surpassing them.

Certainly in the episodes that are in production now, weíve really kind of hit a stride, and youíll see Sunday night. Thereís no lacking comedy, but youíll just see Ė we wonít tell a rape joke. We wonít tell an abortion joke. We wonít have Cleveland punch his daughter or stepdaughter. We wonít do the things that Family Guy will do just because we donít need it. Thatís kind of where weíre different, and we wonít take an awfully mean shot at a celebrity like Family Guy will.

N. Basile Great. Thanks for answering, and Iíll leave room for everyone else.

M. Henry Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Marie Cartel from Hollywood Outbreak.

M. Cartel Hello, guys. Hereís my question. We talked about being the devil and the angel and everything, but what sort of Ė you know, so often actors go into animation, and itís more difficult than acting. The same thing for singers, so youíre used to actually performing in a studio, but what was the experience of animation? What were the challenges for you creating, you know, your animated self?

D. Hall Well, we were sort of coached through it. John and I did it separately, and we were sort of coached through it. I didnít see the animation. I wasnít working to the animation. We were just working to the script.

M. Henry Yes.

D. Hall It was really just me reading it my way, and if the inflection that I put into it or whatever was different than what was required, then we talked about it, and I would change it. I would do it a couple times, so it really wasnít that hard. It was really just doing and re-doing the lines until we got what Mike was driving at, and so it really wasnít that hard.

M. Henry No, we just wanted them to be themselves, and essentially in an argument bickering at each other, and threateningÖ.

D. Hall Öby the way.

M. Henry Whatís that?

D. Hall Weíre good at having an argument.

M. Henry I canít imagine.

D. Hall It was not a stretch.

M. Henry Yes, I cannot imagine working together for that long and not having plenty of arguments, but we just pretty much wanted them to be themselves, but then get pissed off at each other, and as Daryl just said, that was not a reach.

D. Hall Yes, you know.

M. Cartel Did you feel your body language change as you were doing it? Mike, did you see his body language change?

M. Henry I did not see his body at all. We were on the phone.

D. Hall Yes. We did all this in my studio, and I was getting my directions over the phone. I donít know. I donít know if my body language changed.

M. Henry It probably did.

D. Hall It probably did.

M. Henry Most people who are acting, and I definitely use a lot of expression when Iím trying to reach for different things.

D. Hall True, you get into a character.

M. Cartel The last question is for you, Mike. How many actors or musicians are coming to you wanting to be part of the show? And what determines when youíre going to say yes?

M. Henry Well, you know, yes, we hear pretty often that so-and-so wants to do the show, and itís frankly just writing a part for someone that itís kind of hard. Right now, we just donít have a whole lot of huge guest starring roles, so you donít want to go to some big star and say, can you play man number three in this incidental scene. So early on, you know, when we were putting the DNA of the show together, that was right at a perfect time when I met Daryl and John, and so we were able to work that angle and make that a component of the show. But thereís literally a list of people on the board in the writerís room who weíre actively trying to write parts for that have approached us or that we like and want to become part of the show. It really is just a matter of finding a part or finding a story that has a part big enough to go out to somebody.

We had Carl Reiner in a few weeks ago recording next yearís holiday Christmas episode, and that was a tremendous thrill, and that episode was actually quite a departure from most of our episodes, as it was Rallo, a young African American kid, and Murray, who is the character that Carl Reiner played as an 80-something-year-old man in a nursing home, and they take racial jabs at each other, and then they come together, and itís kind of a really sweet episode next Christmas. But that was kind of a departure for having such a big role.

M. Cartel Very good. Thanks so much.

M. Henry Thank you.

Moderator Your next question comes from the line of Alice Chapman-Newgen from the Times Courier.

A. Chapman-Newgen Hello. Thanks, guys. Thanks for taking the call.

M. Henry Sure.

A. Chapman-Newgen Mike, I was wondering, could you tell us a little bit about some of the upcoming episodes?

M. Henry Sure. Well, the Thanksgiving episode is coming up. I touched on that briefly. We have a wonderful Christmas episode coming up where, as you know, Cleveland and Cleveland Jr. are in a blended family now with Donna and her two kids, Roberta and Rallo, and as part of our Christmas episode, Rallo is missing his real dad who lives in town, and heís voiced by Corey Hokum, who is an absolutely hilarious standup. Ralloís real dad, Robert, is kind of a bad boy, and so Cleveland sets out in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to try to find Robert to bring him home for his stepson on Christmas morning. Thereís a great blend of sweetness and Christmas carols and everything else. And kind of a Ė I donít know Ė just a cede nightlife where Cleveland goes into a strip club where theyíre playing a honky-tonk Oh Come All Ye Faithful, looking for Robert. And itís kind of a blend of sweet and kind of hard jokes, so that one in particular Iím very excited about.

A. Chapman-Newgen Sounds good. Daryl, I was wondering, was there any funny or memorable moments that took place during your voice rehearsals or taping in the studio?

D. Hall No, not really.

M. Henry It was pretty straightforward.

A. Chapman-Newgen It wasÖ?

D. Hall Yes, it was straight ahead. I got on the phone and Mike told me what he wanted. We read the script, and got it the way he wanted, and that was it. You know, business as usual.

M. Henry Yes. Pretty much two takes on each line, one nailing it and the other just for a backup. It was easy breezy.

A. Chapman-Newgen Cool. All right, well, thank you, both of you.

H. St. Phillip We have time for one last question.

Moderator That question comes from the line of Nick Zaino from TV Squad.

N. Zaino Hello. How are you?

D. Hall Good.

M. Henry Great.

N. Zaino I was wondering how much screen time Daryl and John have on this. Is this just a cameo, or are they weaved in throughout the story?

M. Henry Iíd say itís a scene thatís about a minute, I guess. Itís kind of a cool thing. Itís a recurring thing in our series where, from time-to-time, theyíll pop up when Cleveland is in a dilemma. So itís a nice shot of Hall and Oates, a nice boost of Hall and Oates, including a little bit of a riff of one of their classics, so thatís the screen time.

N. Zaino Daryl, were you a fan of the show or did you watch Family Guy and The Cleveland Show?

D. Hall I especially liked a certain classic casting scene that occurredÖ.

M. Henry Thatís right.

D. Hall I was very flattered.

M. Henry Yes. That was very funny, and that was actually pitched by Alex Borstein, a female who voices Lois Griffin. Yes, that was hilarious. I should add that John Oatesí son, Tanner, is a huge Family Guy fan.

D. Hall Yes.

M. Henry I think that was a lot of the reason that we got our toe in with these guys.

N. Zaino Just quickly, Daryl, do you have any plans on making any sort of cameo on J Stash?

D. Hall J Stash, no, I think Iíll let Johnís mustache speak for John, you know, no plans.

N. Zaino You donít think your hair and his mustache would be a good crime fighting team?

D. Hall No, I donít think so.

N. Zaino Thank you.

D. Hall One never knows.

H. St. Phillip Thank you everyone for joining us today. As a reminder, The Cleveland Show airs on Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. on Fox. I hope everyone has a great day.

M. Henry Thank you.


Daryl Hall and John Oates Make Guest Voice Appearances

Cleveland celebrates his first Thanksgiving with his new family,
including his own parents Cookie (guest voice Francis Callier) and
Freight Train (guest voice Craig Robinson) as well as Donna's Auntie
Momma (guest voice Kym Whitley) who all make a surprise visit to shake things up in Stoolbend. However, the holiday gets complicated when Roberta and Federline (guest voice Jamie Kennedy) decide to celebrate on their own, and Cleveland discovers a surprising secret about Auntie Momma that changes his impression of her forever in the all-new "A Brown Thanksgiving" episode of THE CLEVELAND SHOW airing Sunday, Nov. 22 (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (CLE-109) (TV-14 D, L, V)

Voice Cast: Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown/Teenage Cleveland and Rallo Tubbs; Sanaa Lathan as Donna Tubbs/Teenage Donna; Kevin Michael Richardson as Cleveland Jr. and Lester; Nia Long as Roberta Tubbs; Seth MacFarlane as Tim

Guest Voice Cast: Jamie Kennedy as Federline Jones; Kym Whitley as
Auntie Momma; Craig Robinson as Freight Train; Francis Callier as
Cookie; Daryl Hall as Himself; John Oates as Himself



(Voices of Cleveland, Rallo and others; Co-Creator/Executive Producer, THE CLEVELAND SHOW)

Mike Henry grew up in Richmond, VA and attended Washington & Lee University, where he was Class President for his final three years.
After a brief stint in advertising, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a
career in comedy. He performed stand-up and improv and acted in
commercials for several years before meeting Seth MacFarlane in 1995.
Henry was a writer and producer on FAMILY GUY for the series' first six seasons. He voices many of the characters he created, including
"Cleveland," "Cleveland Jr.," "Herbert," "The Performance Artist,"
"Consuela" and "The Greased-Up Deaf Guy."

His additional acting credits include "Scrubs," "Gilmore Girls," "Yes,
Dear," AMERICAN DAD and "Robot Chicken." Henry and his brother are the creators of the internet-based series "Kicked in the Nuts.

Henry lives in Los Angeles.


Daryl Hall and John Oates are the NUMBER-ONE SELLING DUO in music history!

Hall & Oates have sold more albums than any other duo in music history.
From the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s, the duo would score six #1 singles,
including "Rich Girl" (also #1 R&B), "Kiss on My List," "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) (also #1 R&B), "Maneater" and "Out of Touch" from their six consecutive multi-platinum albums-'76's Bigger Than Both of Us, '80's Voices, '81's Private Eyes, '82's H2O, '83's Rock N Soul, Part I and '84's Big Bam Boom. The era would also produce an additional 5 Top 10 singles, "Sara Smile," "One on One," "You Make My Dreams," "Say It Isn't So" and "Method of Modern Love."

On May 20, 2008, the duo was honored with the Icon Award during BMI's 56th annual Pop Awards. The award has previously gone to the Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Ray Davies, Carlos Santana and Dolly Parton.

Daryl Hall's latest project is a monthly Internet series, Live from
Daryl's House . "It was a light bulb moment," he says of the show's genesis. "I've had this idea about just sitting on the porch or in my living room, playing music with my friends and putting it up on the Internet."

Past episodes of Live from Daryl's House have featured a mix of
well-known performers like Smokey Robinson, The Doors' Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Gym Class Heroes' Travis McCoy, Finger Eleven's James Black and Rick Jackett and the Bacon Brothers, along with newcomers such as Philly soul singer Mutlu, Canadian
techno-rockers Chromeo, MySpace pop-rock phenom Eric Hutchinson, Cash Money rocker Kevin Rudolf, Wind-up Records' Chicago rockers Company of Thieves, Bay Area singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, Charlottesville, VA's rising Parachute, Chicago rock band Plain White T's and highly touted tunesmith Diane Birch.

In the Fall of 2008, John Oates released his critically acclaimed solo
album, 1000 Miles of Life.

Most recently, Daryl Hall & John Oates released their first box set, Do
What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates. The box set marks the first comprehensive multi-CD, multi-label deluxe box set compilation ever assembled from their entire career's work, four CDs containing 74 tracks (16 of them previously unreleased).

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