He is a good man. He’s a good dad. He loves his children and puts his family first. Sometimes he misses the life he had with his wife before the kids were born, which was more spontaneous and there weren’t many responsibilities.
But, reality bites. Although from time to time, he wishes it were the case, still, he loves his kids more than anything and will do anything for them.
That’s how actor and TV host Matt LeBlanc describes Adam Burns, the character he plays in the American sitcom created by Jackie and Jeff Filgo called Man with a Plan. It airs every Friday at 9 p.m. on RTL CBS.
In a phone interview with Manila Standard, the 49-year old actor gladly talked about the new character he breathes life into and went down memory lane with the role that made him a household name after playing it for more than a decade.
Sitcom is a very familiar arena for you, what’s it like going back to comedy after years of doing hosting jobs?
I was doing ‘Episodes’. I don’t know if you’ve seen that show. We did that for 5 or 6 years. That was a single camera comedy, though, so it was a little different. For me, coming back to a multi-cam comedy format in front of a live audience is really fun. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I got back into it again.
How do you feel that after a decade, people still associate you with the character you played for 10 years? Do you miss playing Joey Tribianni?
I love that people still remember Joey. It seems like every year there is a new generation that’s discovering Friends. I’m very proud to have been a part of that show. That was the highlight of my career. I don’t think I’ll ever be involved in something ever again that’s that successful. I love this new show ‘Man with a Plan,’ but that show ‘Friends’ and playing the character Joey, I mean, I’m Joey’s biggest fan and I will always be his biggest fan.
You became a household name when you played that character, now with Man with a Plan, do you think your character in this sitcom would achieve the same kind of success?
Since I’ve come back to a multi-cam format, the character has a little bit of Joey from ‘Friends,’ a little bit of me, a little bit of other friends of mine that have kids and the stories I hear about them. He’s this guy who is struggling to keep the ship afloat. His wife wants to go back to work now that the littlest one is going to school full-time. I’m my own boss; I run a construction company with my brother. The two of us are in a position where I can kind of adjust my schedule to help my wife who wants to go back to work. I think that’s kind of fun.
The show is getting mixed reviews from critics, how do you and your team deal with these kinds of feedback?
I feel good about that. I’m glad that it seems like people are watching the show and relating to the show. It’s kind of new territory for me. I played a dad in Episodes but we didn’t really focus on that too much. I’m also a happily married guy, which I’ve never played before. I think a family show felt to me like the direction I wanted to go. But as far as ratings and all that stuff go, yeah, I look at the numbers, but I try not to focus on that because that’s all stuff that’s really out of my control. All I can do is to make the best show possible that I know how to make.
In the story, Adam is more of a cool dad; can we assume that you are just playing yourself in real life?
I try to use the parenting tone that I use at home, but with a comic twist on the show. It’s all about where the funny is with this show. We try to take themes about parenting that are very relatable to a lot of parents and put a funny twist on it. Say the things that parents out there watching would like to say but can’t say.
We would imagine that part of these challenges is working with young actors, how is it like working with them, the actors who are playing your kids in the show?
The cast on the show has been fantastic. Everyone’s got experience. Even the kids are really fun and doing a great job. I’m really proud of them. The girl who plays my wife, Liza Snyder, she’s got a lot of experience on sitcoms. Kevin Nealon, who plays my brother, he’s in ‘Saturday Night Live’ and he’s a stand-up comedian as well so he’s got a lot of experience. We have a good group. We have some great directors, too.
What do you thin is the most important lesson sons and daughters can learn form thier fathers?
I think of a couple of important ones, but I don’t know what the most important one is. I think it’s important to believe in yourself. You can be anything you want to be in this life if you believe in yourself. I think it’s also important to be humble and not believe you’re better than anyone else. Everybody puts his pants on one leg at a time. That was something my grandfather told me. He also told me ‘Buy land. That’s the only thing they’re not making more of.