Perhaps best known as Arrested Development's Segway-riding magician George 'Gob' Bluth II, Will Arnett has more recently appeared as Jack Donaghy's evil nemesis on 30 Rock, Todd Margaret's sham of a boss on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and, of course, stay-at-home-dad Chris Brinkley on NBC's new-parents comedy Up All Night.
Arnett took a moment this week to talk to me about how similar his on-screen parenting is to his real life, the TV shows he likes to watch with his wife, Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler, and what Arrested Development fans can expect from Netflix's upcoming new episodes.
Here’s what he had to say:
On Up All Night you play a stay-at-home dad. How much of your character on the show is in the real Arnett?
There are a lot of similarities between me and the character I play on the show, Chris Brinkley, which is what I liked about the show in the first place. I got to play a character that's much closer to me as a person than other stuff I've done. Not that I didn't like those other roles, they were fun, and part of the reason that I liked to do those roles was because they were fun whether it was Gob on Arrested Development, Devon Banks on 30 Rock, Brent Wilts on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret—those were characters I liked a lot because they were flawed. Because they were evil, not in touch with reality or whatever their particular psychosis was. And also I always shied away from playing something that was much more middle-of-the-road, because it never seemed that interesting to me. But now with this character Chris Brinkley, I can understand a bit more, and it's closer to where I am as a person in life. A lot of the experiences that this couple on our show is going through are experiences that I have had.
In real life are you more like Family Guy's Peter Griffin or The Simpsons' Ned Flanders?
I'm probably a combo of the two. I like to consider myself a "family guy." I'm kind of nerdy as a dad, I'm straight-laced, strict, and probably stricter than my wife. I've been brought up in a fairly straight household, and I think it's important for kids to have boundaries, and you know what, I'm closer to Ned Flanders now that I think about it.
What are the best tips you can pass along to new parents?
Biggest piece of advice I can give to people as a parent is a piece of advice that was given to me: Really enjoy it all, take a breath, don't go so quickly and really enjoy the moment, be present.
Tell me what a typical (Friday) night for you and Amy Poehler looks like?
We watch TV, like Mental Illness Mondays on A&E;—Hoarders followed by Intervention. [Also] Law & Order, Downton Abbey, and lots of sports.
What can we look forward to in the upcoming new episodes of Arrested Development on Netflix?
Jason [Bateman] having more terrible ideas.
Up All Night airs Thursdays at 9:30pm on NBC.