There’s your run-of-the-mill goofy guy, there’s antic, then there’s Josh Gad, who brings it to a new level as Skip, the oldest son on NBC’s Thursday comedy “1600 Penn.”
Gad, who was hilarious and Tony-nominated as a clueless missionary in the Broadway smash “The Book of Mormon,” plays the president’s ne’er-do-well son, who treats the White House like a frat house.
“He is a lovable golden retriever-type character,” Gad says of Skip. “He wants so badly to do the right thing, and that leads to a lot of trouble.”
He and another co-creator, Jason Winer, had long wanted to work together, Gad says. Gad likes the idea of putting a typically dysfunctional family under the 24-hour news glare.
“I think to a certain extent, because the White House has been a closed-off commodity over the years, dysfunction has existed over the years,” but people didn’t see it, he tells Zap2it. “You hear stories about Mary Lincoln. You hear stories about these people and even going back to Jefferson and Sally Hemings, and you hear about the history of those halls that hold a lot of secrets and now constantly under the microscope.”
As a comedy, “1600 Penn” takes the situations to preposterous levels, but presidents with embarrassing relatives aren’t limited to sitcoms. Remember Billy Carter and Roger Clinton?
“After the first couple of episodes, it starts to hit on all cylinders fairly quickly,” Gad says. “If people are patient I think they will find it to be one of the most extraordinary comedies on TV. The Gilchrist family is like any other with one big exception as they live in the White House.”
Besides working on this, Gad is developing other projects, including the movie “Triplets,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Eddie Murphy playing, yes, triplets.
Favorite movies: ” ‘The Goonies.’ I grew up with that movie. I love ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘The Godfather’ 1 and 2.”
Favorite books: ” ‘Team of Rivals.’ I am a huge nonfiction fan. ‘Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America’ and ‘Ready Player One.’ “
Favorite musical artists: “I am much more of a 1980s fan. A little A-ha, Bananarama. I grew up in the ’80s. I am kind of a product of the ’80s in South Florida.”