Ecollywood: Odds and ends
Billy Gardell listens to his eco-conscious wife, the Prince of Wales ponders 'The Future of Food.'
Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
"My wife is very good about being green. She's got different garbage cans, it's all her. I do what she says," says Billy Gardell, confiding that his Mrs. keeps his household eco-conscious. "She sets the rules and I follow them."
Gardell is enjoying the success of his CBS sitcom "Mike & Molly," in which he plays a Chicago cop opposite Melissa McCarthy. It's a new chapter for the standup comic, whose roles had previously been "the bad guy, the neighbor, the best friend ... so this is a big challenge, but I'm holding my own," he says.
Unsure that he could pull off a romantic lead, "I was scared to do this," he admits, but producer Chuck Lorre convinced him "that I could take this journey. Then they found Melissa, and it got better and better." The show's popularity means he plays to bigger crowds for his comedy gigs. "Before the show started it was 65 people who'd gotten a coupon to get off the casino floor for a little while. Now I get out there and it's 1,000 people and 890 of them are there because of 'Mike & Molly," he acknowledges, not surprised that people have embraced it. "It's a story about two people falling in love who thought they were never going to get to fall in love," he says, "and if you can't root for that, you're a little dead inside."
When he's not playing the title character's (Laura Prepon) dad on NBC's "Are You There, Chelsea?" Lenny Clarke lives on Martha's Vineyard, where he composts and has rain barrels to collect water for his garden. "We have over 250 different kinds of trees, none of them over 6 feet so we have a view of the ocean," says Clarke, who will get solar panels if he puts in a pool. The actor is a shadow of his former self, having lost 192 pounds since he played opposite pal Denis Leary in "The Job" and later "Rescue Me." How did he do it? "Weight Watchers, and I work out every day. I feel good. I don't want to go back," he says.
Last May at the Future of Food conference in Washington, D.C., HRH the Prince of Wales spoke about sustainable agriculture and how the way we produce our food impacts and is impacted by health, environmental, economic and social issues and what we might do about it. His points have been published in the book "The Prince's Speech: On the Future of Food." To order, view excerpts from the speech, and find practical calls to action, visit onthefutureoffood.org.
Photos: Art Streiber/CBS (Gardell), Robert Trachtenberg/NBC (Clarke)