Today we are joined by actor Briant Thomas Smith to talk about his time on The Big Gang Theory and his work on Udrive Me!
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Brian Thomas Smith – Video Interview
[00:00:00] Jeff: All right. Thank you so much, sir. So I’ll pause. I’ll do the intro and we’ll get we’ll get rolling. Cool. So you said by 50 basically, right? Well, okay. Perfect.
Hello. Let’s there’s a spoiler country today on the show. We have a very special guest. Mr. Brian, Thomas Smith.
How’s it going, sir? Hello,
Brian Thomas Smith: what’s up Jeff? Good to be here, man.
Jeff: It’s a different pleasure to have you. I’m a big fan of yours. As most people who watched TV know you had Zach from big bang theory. That’s where I first heard of you. And I’ve been a big fan of yours
Brian Thomas Smith: ever since. Oh, thanks man. Yeah. The big bang theory was definitely.
Probably the coolest job, one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had a lot of fun playing Zach on that show, for sure. Me and
Jeff: my wife had been bingeing it for maybe the third or fourth time for the last few weeks. And I think we’re, we’re actually on the final 10 episodes of season 12. And it’s a, it’s a, it’s a little troublesome, cause it’s almost over, but at the same time, You know, w we’ll probably end up bingeing again another month or two.
Brian Thomas Smith: It’s crazy that that show holds up because it’s just so fun. And the writing, the writers are so [00:01:00] great at throwing so many jokes. And to each episode that you could just rewatch episode after episode and.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s kind of funny. It’s a lot of people give credit to the Marvel movies for kind of making geek culture popular, but I’m thinking it actually started with big bang there.
They were the first show that really mainstreamed geek culture, and then people started clutching onto it. Right.
Brian Thomas Smith: I’d absolutely. They definitely put the geeks on the maps. They, they were catering to a specific audience that loved all these things that some people don’t think are cool. And. And I found, I found its audience and there was a lot of people that really enjoy all the stuff that they cover and the science and the just the, all the topics for the big bang theory that they cover.
So it’s pretty cool.
Jeff: Now, do you watch the big bang theory or is it hard when you’re starting the episode to watch it as a fan?
Brian Thomas Smith: I love watching the big bang theory. No, I didn’t watch the big bang theory before I had my audition. For Zack I had never seen the show. I had, I had known what the [00:02:00] show was.
I had seen commercials and trailers for it, but I had never had seen it. And I watched some YouTube clips. It was season three. So, You know, unless you were, I think had TiVo or something for record shows. But there were some YouTube clips of the show. I was able to get the tone and the multi-camera comedy is a different type of comedy than a single camera comedies.
There’s not too many of them left, but the big bang theory what, you know, turned, it turned into the actually The longest running. It has the most episodes for a live audience. Multi-camera sitcom in history. Oh wow. That’s that’s a cool fact. Cool. Pretty cool.
Jeff: Yeah. So, so where did your love of acting originate?
What is the Arden story of Brian Thomas Smith? Great.
Brian Thomas Smith: Okay. So, I was in high school back in the late nineties, the date myself. Well, let’s go mid nineties actually. I I was playing basketball and all kinds of stuff and I was really into basketball. And then when basketball was over I auditioned for the spring play.
I was like, you know, there’s nothing to do. [00:03:00] There’s no more practices. And I, and I just loved it. I loved being on stage. I was taking theater classes. My senior year I had a video camera and I was making little home movies with my buddies for like a book report. I would do like a fake talk show and interview the characters from the book.
Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. I was super into it making my own stuff. And so then when I went to college at central Missouri and. Yeah, in Missouri there, I was a theater minor and Phil broadcast major. So I was taking a lot of production classes. But I, and then when I started doing plays in college, I was like, I really, really like acting more than making movies.
And I said, I just said, I’m moving to LA and I’m going to give this acting a shot. And it was the summer of 2000. And then I moved out here. I knew one person. I stayed on his couch for about six months until he let me move into his bedroom. Two grown men sharing a room for about a [00:04:00] year. It was awesome. But I was Adobe into some acting classes.
And that’s what I really, really, really started loving acting was taking classes out here and driving home from class, being like, ah, I love it. Yes. This is so fun. It’s just so cool. I can’t wait. It’s going to happen so soon. And it was just like, I took me five years to even get a manager or an agent.
I mean, it was, it was a big time of awakening with the, with how many people are out here doing this, but So
Jeff: while you were attending central, Missouri state university, I read that you were, you were a brother as Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which is a very well-known fraternity in this country. So how did that happen?
How did he get a part of it? What was that like? And also, how did, was there, did that help you as pursue your credential? Was that a distraction from getting a career in acting. You know
Brian Thomas Smith: what? I think it might’ve helped me because you know, I, I, I joined a fraternity that SIG ups and, and my freshman year, and I met some of my best friends there.
And it really made college fun. I [00:05:00] joined cause I loved intermural sports and they had a really good inner real sports program and we were just competing in everything. And so it was, that’s kind of why I got into the program. But when I started getting into theater they would show up to all my plates.
I mean, there’s 30, 40 brothers there, like cheering. When I came on the stage, they would cheer, you know, it was kind of ridiculous. And then all these production classes. But I had to make these videos for, I used my fraternity brothers as actors and a bunch of them are really, really talented. And then I had, you know, what I had plays, I had to learn all these lines for these plays and.
It was always a brother around a couple of them, really loved it and they would run lines with me, like for hours. So I would get off book for it for certain plays that I was doing. So it was cool and they all thought I was talented and it kind of boosted my ego. I think that’s why I was like, I’m good enough to go to LA, you know, so maybe that’s maybe that’s what happened, you know?
That doesn’t amazing level
Jeff: support. They’re like a fraternity always. I bet when [00:06:00] watching movies and TV always has this almost like negative reputation, but what they did for you, that sounds like a huge level of support and such a confidence boost to, to perform on stage, to know you had these 40 people cheering you on and no matter what happens, these 40 people still are
Brian Thomas Smith: going to root for you.
Yeah, for sure. They, and what’s crazy is it’s 20, 20 years later and they’re still rooting for me. It’s great. It’s Every time I’m if I’m in a commercial or a TV show or movie that not a lot of people see, they seen it. And it’s, it’s insane. How supportive these old friends have still been. Pretty cool.
Oh, that’s a, that’s a fantastic
Jeff: story. That, that, that is amazing to think that this many years later they’re still supporting you and it must be pretty cool to be you’re now Brian Thomas Smith. The one that they’re going to put on there, you know, former, I guess you former brother, or are you always a brother?
I think we’re brothers for life. I don’t know. So you’re one of the, you’re now at the point where, when they, when they say these were the former members, or these are the current [00:07:00] members of our fraternity, Brian Thomas Smith is now part of it. It must be nice to reach that level. That you’re probably one of the people now that the count towards best promotion
Brian Thomas Smith: for them, maybe they do.
I don’t know if I’m that famous for them to do that, but you know, the even central Missouri has been really kind and they’ve done a couple alumni write-ups for me in some magazines and stuff. Cause there’s a few people there that have followed my career as well and pretty proud of the fact that I’m from a small school in Missouri.
And I mean, I’m
Jeff: sure your brothers supported your move to LA. What did your parents think of? You were like, you know, I’m going to move all the way down to LA. I’m gonna take this crack at acting. Were they thinking good job, Brian, were they thinking son of a bitch?
Brian Thomas Smith: My parents are pretty cool like that.
They, they haven’t really guided any of my siblings in a, like, this is what you should do. This is kind of like up to us situation and, and No, I did kind of like talk to them about maybe going to film school because I did have a video camera in high school and I was making these little [00:08:00] movies and productions and I did have a degree in film and broadcasting.
So I kind of was like, maybe I’ll come out and do film school. I just definitely want to move out there for sure. I definitely didn’t sell them on, like, I’m going out there to be an actor. Even though they still would have. They wouldn’t have my care. They, I think they would support me no matter what.
So that was always nice to have and they have still supported me. So that’s great. So you’re part of a pretty
Jeff: big family. You have like four siblings.
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. I got three brothers and a sister. So
Jeff: does that, did you grow up then having to, in a competitive environment that kind of helped you with acting?
Brian Thomas Smith: Well, I think when you’re four out of five, everyone forgets about you.
I don’t know. Right? You’re like, you’re not the oldest thing. Has it the hardest, you’re not the baby of the family that has it, the easiest, and you’re not the middle. Like, I was just like the second, last. They’ve kind of been there, done that, raising all the kids. So I think I was fighting myself, entertaining myself a lot and playing and having his imagination.
And, yeah, I don’t know. I [00:09:00] don’t know if it has to do with the order and how many kids, but like before,
Jeff: like the fourth alien movie I’m going to quite remember, but I know the first he went really important. The third one, I kind of lost track the fourth one. They’re like, well, let it do its thing. It’s it’s out there.
Totally. Totally. That’s pretty funny. So when you, when you went to central Missouri university, and you said you studied a film, which is, I guess, I assume it’s different than going for theater. How did learning film and the ins and outs of the profession help you as an actor now?
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. Yeah.
That’s a great question. Because. Because it isn’t the film broadcast, the film classes. You’re learning, you’re learning how to tell a story and you’re learning, editing, and things like that. Theater and I really didn’t. I learned a little bit about theater in college when I moved out to LA and started taking acting classes here.
That’s when I really. That’s when I was like, Oh, [00:10:00] okay. I, I had some really great teachers out here that really taught me a lot. And there was also a lot of really talented actors in my classes that you got to witness and see and be like, I’m a part of this community here in college. I learned how to shoot stuff, which was really cool.
The only problem is, is that. I was in college in like 99, 2000, you know, like those years were my big senior years production-wise and the equipment we were like, we learned on their ditis, the editing equipment that we learned is like, you would like set your effects to like, just like a wipe or a transition or like a credit, if you wanted to put a title on and then you would render it and then you would.
Leave the studio and come back in the morning to see if it was finished. Rendering was like, that’s the equipment we were learning on. So all that stuff that I learned, I, it, that stuff doesn’t exist anymore, but I did start a sketch comedy group out here and we would [00:11:00] make fun videos for all of our shows.
So I think having a film broadcast background really helped. So let’s
Jeff: go. So the schedule was explored in pajamas, correct? Correct. So w when you’re, what, what kind of group was X number? Did he say it was a sketch group? Were you performing on stages at clubs? What, what,
Brian Thomas Smith: what was this like? Yeah, so, Man.
It was, it was like 2005. Maybe. I think I, my brother, I don’t, I had just got back from doing the amazing race. I remember. And I was like, I want to get my funny actor, friends together and start a sketch group. And we were going to do it at some bars that I knew and worked at that we could do it at. But then we brought in some guys like JW Walterman and Kyle Roper and Dan Lindsay.
These three guys were so talented at writing that we had some like legit funny sketches that were like Saturday night live quality that we could keep building on these sketches. [00:12:00] And so we were like, we need a theater for sure. So we. What we did was we rented out theaters started off with like a 50 person theater, up to a hundred seats.
We Anheuser-Busch sponsored us. We had like, here in a cooler, like in the aisle. And, and you know, we, we hit the beer opener underneath one of the seats and whoever had the beer opener had to get beers for everybody all day, all the whole time. It was like, you sound to be you’re the bartender seat. So we had a lot of fun.
We did the sketch videos that, that, that people loved. And we did that for three or four years until we all kind of got busy doing other things, but it was fun time for sure. So, so were
Jeff: you acting sketch or were you writing
Brian Thomas Smith: your own? And we would all get together and come up with ideas, but there were like three or four guys that wrote most of the sketches.
I was kind of probably like helping with jokes and helping. Right. And come up with the [00:13:00] ideas and then maybe write a sketch for the show. But not like most of the writing, there was some other guys that were just really, really good. But I contributed a lot and I got people to the theater. We packed the house and it was it was a good, everybody kind of brought their own little something to the, to the team.
Jeff: I always wonder about comedy writing. I mean, I couldn’t recount it for life for me. I’m just not that funny, but, but I would say one of my comedy writings that so much of comedy. It’s dependent on timing. So when you’re writing comedy, how do you incorporate, or kind of guess that this will work if time just right.
Or, I mean, how do you know when you have something that is truly funny on
Brian Thomas Smith: paper? Yeah, that’s a great question because with my experience from the big bang theory, and now I’m working on this new show United States of owl, which we can get into A little later or whenever, but the writers like we do from the table, read to what we shoot in front of a live audience, which we’re not doing that right now.
But they [00:14:00] see, they see what works and they have so much experience that they know like. This joke is going to get a laugh. So we can’t write this joke here because it’s going to get swallowed by the laugh or the actor needs to time it out. Right. But if the joke doesn’t kill at the table rate or the run-through for the studio, they cross it out.
Like today I had, I don’t know, two, two new pages of completely new material as we were Hearst today that wasn’t in the read through yesterday. The run-through. So I feel like the writers. Especially in Los Angeles, if you’re are, or anywhere, if you’re writing on a television show, you have some really good experience in your, and you’re doing that.
I am not there. I have written a pilot for myself that I am very proud of and alike. And it’s not like a sketch or multi-camera comedy though. Those, I think that’s the hardest to write for. I think it’s those, those joke heavy Material with those projects. And
Jeff: that’s actually kind of funny that you mentioned United States of Al I have an interview next on [00:15:00] Monday with Jacob Murray, who I guess he’s associate director on the show and that’s, and that’s when I heard of the show and it’s good that you’re doing it, that you’re on it as well.
It’s like, Whoa. I’ve been hearing a lot about the show now.
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. Yeah. You’ll hear it a lot about it. It premiers April 1st. They some of the people involved with the executive producers and stuff are or they were on big bang theory and they liked my Zach character and. They wrote a funny role and they, and I got the part and I just I’m T this week I’m working on my second episode.
I’ll be in episode six and episode nine, and then they’re shooting 13 this first season. So there I might be popping back in before the end of the 13 are shot. I don’t know, but a love, love my character on the show funnier than Zach. I think I, this guy is he’s. So much fun and sweet and just it be, I think he’ll fit in well with the group on the show.
So we’ll see. So
Jeff: for our listeners, what is your pitch for what United States of owl
Brian Thomas Smith: is? United States of how it’s it’s a [00:16:00] funny comedy that it actually has a lot of heart to it because it’s it. It’s let’s say the, instead of like big bang theory was kind of about like geek culture. This would be more about maybe let’s say military culture.
It’s two guys that were in the military that come back and one of them is little bit jaded about coming back home and not being in the war. And You know, I think he’s kind of struggling a little bit. That’s Parker, Young’s character. And then at here who plays owl? He, this is what’s great about the show is I didn’t even know this program existed, but if you enlisted into the United States, military from a different country and you were like an interpreter or, or something.
And you served in the military, you get a visa, so you can come live in the United States. And there’s a big problem with these visas, not really coming through for all these immigrants. And so Al is a, you know, an immigrant who’s who grew up in Afghanistan and now he’s in Ohio and it’s kind of a fish out of water.
And he was pretty [00:17:00] excited about everything here in the United States as is, you know, it was his buddy Parker, who was his military buddy. Is like over it here, jaded and, and, and kind of an unhappy guy. He’s, it’s funny because he’s very dry. And then he lives with his dad and his sister, and he has a kid and it ex-wife, and my character dates, his ex I’m dating and the new boyfriend for the ex wife.
So there’s a lot of opportunity for jokes and stories. But I guess that wasn’t my long pitch. Well,
Jeff: the other thing is, like I said, it has to do with someone with war in Afghanistan. So how heavy will it dive into that? I mean, will it be kind of we’ll touch on, it will be kind of glossy comedy is,
Brian Thomas Smith: you know, you
Jeff: gotta be careful how deep, I guess you go into drama and when you, or will it be kind of more later, like big bang theory?
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah, it’s definitely lighter. It’s definitely I mean, it’s, it’s tons of jokes. You know, live audience are supposed to be alive audience. But so it’s like a lot of energy. It’s a lot of, you know, coming in [00:18:00] laughing fun characters, Dean Doris is in it. He plays the dad. He’s he’s so good.
He’s, he’s always a funny, tough guy type of guy. So, yeah, I, I think it’s funny. I don’t, I, the, the two episodes I did first one was a lot of military was discussed in it, and there was like a fundraiser, like a charity event that they go to. And then the one I’m in now is a little less, it’s more just about the family and about Al adapting to.
Jeff: this is created by this isn’t a Chuck Lorre who was getting his two and a half men. And just, I mean, his mom, I guess, I mean, his line of show that he created is a man it’s, this will
Brian Thomas Smith: be his fifth show on CBS right now. So that’s pretty nuts. That’s. Yeah. I mean, when you have a show like two and a half, man that goes 12 seat, 10 seasons and big bang theory that went 12 seasons and mom it’s like in its seventh season.
And yeah, all these shows he has a positive, this is new one. And then [00:19:00] this one R is two new ones that we’ll be going. So he’s good. And he’s very, hands-on, he’s very I’m involved. He gets the tape. He’s. He’s there at the table read and the run-throughs and has notes. And I don’t know how he does it for five shows.
Jeff: I mean, as an actor, does it help knowing that the person in charge of your show has a track record of basically nothing but success? I mean, does it make you eat, like when you easier.
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. I mean, for me, like knowing like I’m in episode six and I’m in episode nine right now and they were shooting nine this week.
So they’ve only had nine done. If it wasn’t Chuck Lorre, I, in the back of my mind, I might think, Oh man, I hope the shows get canceled. After three, four episodes, they won’t get to my scene. They won’t, my episodes will never be aired. And, and that happens to a lot of shows, a lot of shows, you know, it’s, if it doesn’t hit right off the bat, It’s canceled, you know, with this one it’s coming in right after young Sheldon.
So you’re going to have that fan base that loves Chuck Lorre [00:20:00] shows and it’s so good. The show is funny. I just be an audit. It has the same vibe as like, okay, this is well-written. Good stories. This, this will last
Jeff: how, when, when, when you, when you say, when you wanna show like big bang theory and also United States of Al how much input do you have into your characters?
Brian Thomas Smith: Well, this, you know what that’s a good question because I didn’t know much. This is my new character. His name is Freddy, and I did not know much about them, except for he’s a sweet guy. And I got the pages the night before the table read and, and I could see them thinking, maybe he’s clean, cut and wears khakis and polos.
And he’s kind of more of a goober guy. That’s just really nice. And I’ve had this quarantine hair where I drew it out my hair. I haven’t shaved like a bearded guy. And I was like, you know what? This guy needs to be the opposite of. Parker [00:21:00] young the, the, the military guy he’s tough military dudes and I’m like this sweetheart dude.
And I’m like, all right. I am going to go in with my hair up in a man bun, which is totally opposite. And this guy wears cardigans and shorts, and he’s just kind of a weirdo dude, you know, and I heard from one of the producers, Chuck Lorre, after the table raid was like, he has to keep the man bun. So that was my choice.
You know, I could have showed up clean-shaven and, and showed up. I’m a little more straight laced. And I said, no, this guy makes his own sausages. The skies as magic. This guy. He’s he’s a little different, he’s a little off. And so I kinda help. And it was Zach on the big bang theory, you know, they, they wrote jokes.
I came in, you, you get the character. I think they started leaning into, instead of making Zach just like a big idiot, which you know, that that’s what his [00:22:00] purpose was. His first episode was. Come in one day, guest star be a big dumb idiot that penny now can’t a big dumb idiots because she’s been hanging out with Leonard so much that she like likes Leonard and likes having conversations with a smarter guy.
And so she’s like, I’m over dating dumb guys. I want to hang out with you Leonard. That was the end of season three finale. And then they’re like, it was really funny. Let’s bring them back. And so they brought me back. And I think just me the way I was playing, I’m kind of naive and I didn’t really pick up on sarcasm or just just actually being a nice guy and loving science and the guys I know they started replaying into that part.
I think. I mean, they were writing it, but I think they’d like the way I was playing it. And I think they said, you know what? Zach is, he’s, he’s a sweet guy. So let’s just keep writing to that where he’s, you know, he’s not this ex-boyfriend friend that’s threatening and that’s [00:23:00] like, Oh no, it’s more like, he’s one of the guy.
And also he was just a joke punching bag. I mean, everybody, especially with Sheldon, it was so funny watching like Sheldon’s jokes when he’s around. Zach are so funny. It’s really great. Yeah. So I don’t, I don’t think he, the actors have too much that the writers of the audit, they they’re there to the, to the capital T in the period.
And the question marks there on the script, but you do bring something from yourself to the character. Well,
Jeff: and going back to what you’re saying about Zack and the big bang theory, the episode of lunar X, I think Taishan when the other guys are bullying Zach, which was a very intelligent, I think, turn for the writers to do that.
So to have the nerves be the bullies at this time and see how it feels to be on the other side. And I think that was the first episode where you, Oh, I think there’s a second appearance where. You get definitely a lot of empathy for Zach. Like Zach, you, you kinda, you feel for when you feels more like a person than he did in that first
[00:24:00] Brian Thomas Smith: appearance.
Yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah. The first so that I think you’re talking to the third episode I did, which was the the justice league recombination. I mean they do pile on jokes. They do bully me the first episode, which is the lunar. So patient, which is up on the rooftop. But that time when I come over and I meet licorice with them and hanging out and talking science, there are just piling on me.
And yeah, it was really smart of the writers to be like, this is reverse bullying, you know? Yeah, they’re ganging up on me and it was cool that penny had my back and, and that was my favorite episode by far, I felt like I was part of the team. I got to be Superman in the costume contest. And really that was like some heavy lifting for me.
I was in almost every scene. And as an actor, after shooting that episode with the live audience and everything going nuts for everything I was saying, and I was just like, Okay. Yeah, I’m ready for a series regular role where the wind’s my show, you know, I’m ready for it. So I’ve been ready for awhile, but [00:25:00] that like, you know, you always think you can do it, but I ha that was like the most I’ve done in a episode, you know, guest stars you pop in and you can do a couple of scenes here, but I was, I was just.
Like a series, regular that episode. And I left with so much confidence in my acting and I just was like, yes, I got this. And as an actor, that’s priceless. That’s that’s, it’s you go through so many swings in your acting career where you’re working a lot and then you’re not working and you’re mentally, you’re like, ah, man, what’s going on.
Especially early. When you have, and have all this experience, you kind of are like, am I good enough? I knew I was after the, after literally after that episode, I was like, I know I’m good enough. It’s just a matter of time when the next when’s the next show and what’s my role. So yeah,
Jeff: it’s still there.
Yeah. And like I said, hopefully we have some type of squeeze. It could also in a currently and move that. I think it’s either just released, are going to be called big muddy, correct?
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. I’m in a movie called big muddy. I shot that in [00:26:00] 2016, actually. It’s finally going to find distribution is what I heard.
It did. Some film festivals. It’s a great movie. It’s a, it’s a drama. It’s it’s about two brothers that, that actually canoe from Kansas city to St. Louis on the Missouri river. And their mom just dies and they take the strip that they did when they were kids with their dad, who’s passed away when they were younger.
And, and it, it was a very challenging movie to make because we were on the water in the middle of September, which was really hot. And it was a lot of work. It was, I mean, a you’re in every scene and, and It was a low budget movie. So it’s just not, it’s not like you were just chilling in your AC trailer while you’re waiting for the scene to get shot.
You’re you’re, you’re helping out you’re you’re in it. But the reason I wanted to do that movie was. Because it had this relationship with brothers and it took place in Missouri. And I was just like, yes, this is cool. And I used to go on float trips when I was in boy [00:27:00] Scouts and all this. And I was just like, I want to make this movie.
And it was like a month before my wedding. And it was like, babe, I’m believing for Missouri for a month, a call. I’ll get my tux. Did it? I don’t know, threw those out. But the movie that the last movie that I have, that’s the most recent that’s out that came out this summer was called baby splitters. And that movie is really, really funny.
It starts Danny Poodie, who is exceptional. He’s a star. So I think this might be one of his first starring roles, but it’s Comedy about having kids. And what’s crazy is it’s about two couples sharing a kid. I played the gynecologist in it, which is right there as funny. But I, we, my wife and I had a baby the week that the movie came out, it was, yeah, it was
Jeff: really cool.
No. Or is that baby being split among another group or
Brian Thomas Smith: we’re sharing custody? It’s like, you know, there’s, there’s kids that are raised in split homes with your mom and dad and you know, they’re divorced and why can’t you just do it with couples, you know, So that way [00:28:00] you can have your freedom of having a single life, but also raising a kid.
And it’s kind of like you have half the responsibilities and you share and you share custody. And it sounds like a ridiculous idea until it starts working. And then it’s like, this is a bad idea. Uh it’s it’s, it’s Sam Friedlaender wrote it and directed it and he is awesome in it. He just, he’s great. He really delivered a funny movie, I wonder about because
As an actor, right. You, when, when you do a role really, really well, like really well, like you, like you do exactly. Like you just like nailed that role. People see you as that role. Cause you just became that character. Is it hard to shake that and do something like big muddy where you’re now being dramatic or it was, or was that a goal to do and be like that to shake.
Of those who saw you last as
Brian Thomas Smith: yeah. You know what yeah, it’s, it’s weird. Cause like, I think a lot of people will recognize me as Zach. And it’s like, like [00:29:00] what’s, it’s like the multi-camera world actually no shows, people kind of feel like it’s broad and it’s a little big, which it kind of has to be because it’s the way it’s written and there’s a live audience and it’s like, It’s bigger and it’s not as grounded as some of these other new comedies and especially dramas are.
So they might see me as an actor that plays a little too big abroad. So that is a struggle. But then also, you know, I did a guest star on the neighborhood which is a multi-camera show and I’m working on United States of owl and. That in that world that doesn’t hurt me at all. I think people know that I can play other parts in that world.
But I feel like it might, I think it might, you know, people watch my real, other casting directors that are casting something that’s different. I think they’re like, I ain’t play eight as well for the big dumb guy, but yeah. That’s why I love it. Like if I love, I tell my agents, get me in more dramas, more dramas.
You know, so that’s, and I’m also getting older now. So I feel like there are [00:30:00] some more roles in the drama world. For me. That’s not like you don’t have to be this like soap star guy, you know?
Jeff: I mean, it’s kind of interesting as an actor, you really do have the pilot a career. I mean like, my day job, I’m a, I’m an English teacher.
My job, I go to school, I teach English and maybe in 10 years I’ll still be teaching English and whatever. I mean, I don’t really have to think too hard over that. Get a job in English. That’s your job. As an actor, you really do have kind of, as a pilot, a career path, I’m going to do, you know, some of the beat, like a comedy that I’m focusing on a drama.
Then I want to focus on this. I mean, it must be a lot of strategy and w what seems to an outsider as just a standard career, but it’s such a strategic.
Brian Thomas Smith: Career, I guess. Yeah. I think, I think being an actor it’s not, yeah, you’re not doing this. You don’t know what I mean. You’re not doing the same stuff. I mean, it’s different.
Gosh, it’s different for me still, you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I’m not at that place where it’s like, Oh, I’m working on this show for five years and it’s, [00:31:00] it was it’s it’s I was, you know, a series regular and it was like a Zack roll or something. And now I want to pivot and do this because I want to challenge myself or I want to show case I can do more.
I’m still like get me in for everything. I’m going to audition book, you know, something as I get offered parts, which is great. But yeah. I can’t wait for the day where it’s like, Oh, I want to do this next. This is what we’re doing that, I mean, that is the goal. Right now I’m like sweet. I’m working, you know, what’s next.
And you know, it’s crazy. People don’t see that people see, Oh, you’re on TV all the time. You just must just be working all the time. And it’s like, no, you know what? I put myself on tape. Six times this week for shows that some of them work right. For some of the roles, I was like, They’re going to find a guy that’s like, you know, I went into like this bad guy, fitness trainer guy, and I was like, there’s going to be, they got that guy, you know, I’m going to do it [00:32:00] audition.
And I may make some fans with casting and producers might watch the tape. Like I like him for maybe some. Yeah. So you always, you always show up to your house auditions. I mean, back when they were in person, you show up prepared, you crush, you audition, you leap, you make fans and that’s the plan. And, and, but, cause you never know, but I mean, a lot of the times you go in and for stuff that you’re like, there’s, I wouldn’t cast myself in this.
Especially out here, there’s so many people, so, yeah. I don’t know where we’re going there, but I do feel like
Jeff: well, when, when you’re doing a movie too, like big muddy that. Was in your home States, do you, I mean, how close was it to where you actually grew up?
Brian Thomas Smith: We, we didn’t get all the way up to St.
Louis where I grew up. We sh we cheat, we did do a scene in St. Louis, but I think we shot in like Jeff city and we’d kind of just cheated it, like we were in St. Louis. So. Not too close, but I was, you know, in Columbia where I, you know, I’ve been in Columbia a lot of times. I have a [00:33:00] brother that lives in Columbia still, so I was able to visit his family and yeah, it was, it was cool just to be home, you know,
Jeff: It kinda felt like, I live in Rhode Island.
So when something is in Rhode Island, everything is near me. So let’s just assume it’s in the same stage as like, Oh, it’s kind of it’s in my neighborhood. It’s I forget that Missouri is actually like a real estate.
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. I mean, it takes, I don’t know, four hours of drive across it, but yeah, there was I didn’t get to go home, but the film was in the St.
Louis film festival, and I got to go home. And guess what I would say about a dozen of my fraternity brothers showed up. Yeah. It’s funny that they, they
Jeff: literally it’s like a family, I guess it never literally depart from each other. Yeah. Yeah.
Brian Thomas Smith: And some high school friends showed up. And I think that, man, I just think a lot of my friends from back home are pretty proud of me for sticking it out and pursuing this dream of mine and, and You know, I, I was popping up in commercials back when I first started doing this.
And they were just like, so pumped that I [00:34:00] was pumped, that I was in a, you know, bud light commercial and, and yeah.
Jeff: Well, just to go back a little bit to the big bang therapy before you got to go. There, there was one episode that I really, I thought it was just so awesome. There’s the, the episode where Sheldon is trying to create a new social group and he brings in Barry, John Ross, Bo is Barry things in Stuart, Kevin Sussman, and then it has you, and he brings, they brings in together and then you.
John Ross Bowie and character and compass husband’s character bond and become like a group. And I thought to myself, I really would love to have seen the Zach Stewart Barry cookie, a TV show. Right.
Brian Thomas Smith: I think that’s a great idea. Like these strong supporting cast members these guest stars that the people got to know a little bit.
I mean, especially Stewart, gosh, Kevin Sussman is so funny and I. And anyway, I’ll, I’ll tell you, I was about to say, but, but yeah, that episode, I enjoyed that [00:35:00] episode a lot as an actor, I got to do a scene that wasn’t with penny and I was like, okay. I, my character has moved on from being the ex-boyfriend I’m now kind of part of the gang.
I thought, you know, I thought like, Oh, I’m part of the gang here. Cause I’m not with like all the other episodes, you know, I’m with penny, which is great. Cause I’m the ex-boyfriend and that’s my storyline. That’s how I was introduced to the group this episode. I just get invited over to hang out and it was so funny and we, we had a lot of fun shooting that episode doing karaoke and everything.
But then I thought as an actor, I was like okay, this is great. I have moved past the ex-boyfriend and I’m just kind of a friend here and that was. Shoot that was in season four and they didn’t use me season five or six. And I was like, I was like, Zach’s gone, he’s gone. And then the next episode that they brought me back for, out of the blue, I, you know, I don’t hear anything.
They don’t tell me. They were like, Hey. Well, a big bang came calling. They got a pin in you for this [00:36:00] episode in a couple of weeks. So I was like, sweet. Then they booked me and I get the script and we’re married. It was a Thanksgiving episode and we got to get the wedding and old. And it was like, we thought we got married by Elvis.
That was like fake. And it was like a real wedding. And I was like, Oh man, thank you, writers for being so creative. They really, they wrote that episode to bring Zach back. Because they were like, we haven’t had them in a couple of seasons. Let’s see what he’s up to. And they brought me back and that was awesome.
And then they kept bringing me back.
Jeff: It was amazing. Cause I like what the episode is that. Once again, they created Zack as a person. You know what I’m saying? He’s not, you know, he’s not the idiot. He’s not the asshole. Ex-boyfriend he is someone who actually shows that he says a line. I’m I remember the exact line when he’s talking to Leonard about penny goes, that’s not how I think what you talking to my wife and along those lines, that’s what the guy wants to do with my wife.
I was like, that’s, that’s the alert. I was like, he cares about petty. Is it X?
Brian Thomas Smith: Yeah. You’re not the type of guy. Wait. I don’t think you’re the type of guy. Why don’t you talk? [00:37:00] Wait, I don’t think I don’t like the way you’re talking to my ex wife or something like that. Something like that. I wish I knew it.
It’s a, it’s a great
Jeff: scene. I mean that, that episode, I mean, it’s kind of fun. It’s like, I do feel like the Zack episodes are so are such my favorite episodes and the ones. And I think what I liked the best is that later on the last season, They bring in Zach and Zach has had a good life. He’s wealthy.
He’s married. I mean, he they’ve made him actually
Brian Thomas Smith: happy. Yeah. I think that was that was pretty cool. They, they, they made them married and they, and they made them rich, which was hilarious because they’re like, wait, we’re the geniuses and we’re not rich. And this guy gets rich somehow and they had a deal with that.
Yeah. And at the very end there, you know, I think You know, wanting to have a kid and and Leonard and petty thinking about having kids. I think it kind of was a good little storyline that they used.
Jeff: And I, and I think I really liked how SAC is always used as a way to reflect [00:38:00] upon the nerves as it were.
I mean, there’s the scene where they’re, they’re trying to make the that weapon for the government or that type of device. Literally. It is, but it’s like, Oh, that’s something like the military could use that could be used as a weapon. Right. They’re like, I don’t know. He’s like you guys are, are you sure you guys are smart and you like books?
I was like, constantly, like, it’s a way to reflect on just how. In many ways, dumb and normal, the nerds. Are you comparing what I’m saying? Cause he’s yeah,
Brian Thomas Smith: they, the writers did a good job with sometimes Jack has more common sense or said something that, that like that you sure you guys are smart, like couldn’t they use it, but yeah, I so I, I actually developed a Zach spinoff that I think is pretty genius, which is funny to say, but, but I put a lot of time into it and I developed all the characters and And the story and everything.
And it’s it’s so you left Zack with rich and married and wanting to have a family and he’s not able to have kids. And so I thought it would be a great storyline [00:39:00] to do Zach and his wife foster kids. I don’t think the fostering kids is a topic that a lot of sitcoms are doing or eating television or talking about.
It would be kind of cool to make that the backdrop of the. Of the show is a adoption fostering kids, finding home for kids and Zack is rich enough and happy enough and loves enough that he literally, he’s not the smartest dad. And so when he’s, you know, he, he fosters several kids at a time. And I, and I think that would be funny.
You would get a diverse cast here and, and fostering these kids and, and. You know, his, maybe his wisdom isn’t the smartest. And maybe the kids are smarter than him, but what gets him through each episode is his love for life and his love for these kids and that kind of prevails. And I even thought like Kevin’s dustman Stuart.
So Stuart could be like, I would like, I liked him so much because I did have a lot of scenes with him that I hire him to [00:40:00] be like my house help. So maybe even. He lives in the house. And he’s kind of like the, the, the Butler, the guy who like helps out, maybe there’s a little comic book store in the house.
I don’t, I, we have so many funny ideas for, for the show that it would be, it would be cool. And, and I tried to pitch it. But my managers and agents couldn’t get it to Chuck Lorre. Cause Chuck Lorre said no spinoffs. And his manager was like, no, Spinoffs were not interested, so they haven’t even read my pitch.
Oh. Which is a shame, but maybe, maybe, you know, after a while after the show has been done for a bit, They’re open to the pitch for the spin
Jeff: off. Well, you’re in United States of Al. I mean, every time you show up on the set, just have your screen, let’s be like,
Brian Thomas Smith: yeah, I have my little pitch for him. I mean, it’s all ready to go.
I have it. Like, I could just email you the, the pitch deck. It has pictures. It’s everything I would love to. I
Jeff: would love to look at it. Yeah. It’s pretty cool. It sounds awesome. Like I said, Zach is [00:41:00] one of those characters that you want more of, because like I said, he does feel not, I mean, not the first episode, he appears it, but as it developed, he developed into something that feels real.
And you feel that someone that you would like to see on your TV becomes like, almost like your friends decide somebody you want to see every week. And that feels like that guy. That sounds good. And we’ll see again, definitely when you have Stewart as well. Cause like I said, I think just between you Stewart and Barry was so awesome.
Brian Thomas Smith: What’s funny, what’s funny with Stewart Zach’s character, the dynamic is that Stewart is, self-loathing and, and just depressed. And he’s, he’s just like hates his life. And Zach like loves everything and everything’s cool. Like even like how much money he makes at the comic book stories like sweet, you know, and, and.
And then Kevin, or Stewart’s really dry too, you know, so I think it would, I would just miss all of his sarcastic jokes. It would be so funny. I, I really think
Jeff: so. So I know you gotta go. I just wanna thank you so much for talking with me and [00:42:00] I would love to have you back on specially with to talk about more about the United States about so definitely let’s set that up and, and you, and you need to tell me if.
You get that pitch to Chuck Lorre? Yes. You got to make
Brian Thomas Smith: it happen. I got to make it happen. Cause he’s there on when we’re taping. I mean, he’s, he’s there. I don’t, I maybe, maybe if, if Freddy’s around in season two, we’re going to give it to check and see what’s up. But Thanks for having me on Jeff. It was fun and yeah, hit me up.
Whatever, man. Maybe we can talk more about the United States out when that show’s blown up.
Jeff: I would really appreciate that. Have a great night, Lisa. Thank you for being so awesome. It was my honor to definitely meet you.
Brian Thomas Smith: Cool man. Take care of Jeff. All right. Have a great night. All right. See it. [00:48:00] [00:47:00] [00:46:00] [00:45:00] [00:44:00] [00:43:00]