Ted Danson appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers Tuesday night, where he described adjusting to the rapid-fire comedy of his new NBC series Mr. Mayor.
"It's a lot sillier," Danson said of Mr. Mayor. "And boy, do we go fast. You know, I grew up in the Cheers — 'here's a joke, it was really funny, wasn't it? Great, let's have a laugh. Okay, we're going to move on now.' And this is like... you just tear through the jokes and, you know, buckle up. You can always rewind it if you want and check it out, but they don't stop for the laugh. So, yeah, at 73, I'm having to learn how to speak quickly."
Danson then shared his Cheers-era trick for how to insert a natural pause in dialogue to let the audience laugh at a joke. "It started out, just eat a peanut," Danson explained. "Just say your joke, eat a peanut, and then we found out that wasn't funny, so we moved to pretzels. Ate a lot of pretzels. You know, it's funny, but with a live audience, you do need — in case your joke isn't that funny and you thought it might be — you do need that thing to go to so you don't just go '[jaw drop] oh no, it wasn't funny!'"
Danson also discussed working with his Mr. Mayor co-star Holly Hunter. "She's intense in this wonderful way. You know how if you play tennis with somebody and they're better than you, your game comes up? Man, she hits the tennis ball back so fast, it is incredible, and she's ferocious and relentless. Yeah, I'm really tickled to be able to work with her, because I love her and have loved her acting for so long."
Mr. Mayor airs Thursdays at 8:00 PM ET on NBC.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.