by Ryan Meehan
Comedian Andrew Santino is currently a lead on ABC’s new series “Mixology” written and produced by the creators of The Hangover. He was recently named Comedy Central’s Top 10 Comedians To Watch and was in Montreal’s “Just for Laughs” comedy festival. His stand up television debut was on Adam Devine’s House Party on Comedy Central. He also recently Guest Starred on Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, on Netflix’s Arrested Development, HBO’s Family Tree, and NBC’s The Office. Andrew was also a Series Regular and writer on the final season of Punk’d for MTV, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: Who gave you the name “Cheeto Santino” and where did that originate? Do you consider the term “ginger” to be offensive or derogatory?
AS: My buddy Pookie gave it to me after we were playing basketball one day. We were in a bar drinking, as you do after an intense workout and he noticed my red leg hair. In a classic Pookie drunk east LA Mexican accent said, “You got ORANGE leg hairs dog? That shit is gross. It looks like you ate a bag of Cheetos and when you were done you wiped the finger dust all over your legs.” It was amazing.
I think the word Ginger is great. I use it all the time.
RM: Chicago has a very rich history of comedy…When did you go to your first comedy club and what was it about the whole experience that really drew you to want to get into the business of being funny? What was your first time on stage like, and what were the best and worst aspects of that first open mic?
AS: The first comedy club I went to was Zanies in old town Chicago. Burt Haas was the manager then and still is today. I only went as a fan. I didn’t get the balls to start trying stand up until I was in college at ASU (yes, the Ivy league one, Arizona State) I went to the Tempe Improv a bunch and it became a weekly thing. I performed my whole life but this was a whole different beast. The first open mic I did was awful, as they all are. I don’t have that vivid of a memory of it but I know I was shit and so was it.
RM: What can you tell us about “Mixology” and what we can expect from that show? Who are some of the people that put the series together; and how much more work is it to be a lead actor as opposed to just being a writer or having a cameo? Do you feel like you have to completely immerse yourself in that character throughout the duration of the shoot?
AS: The show takes place in a bar in Manhattan over the course of one night. Its like Cheers meets Lost meets 24…in a fucking bar! It was so fun to make and now it’s finally on the picture box. The show is written and created by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who are the genius writers of the Hangover. The pilot was directed by Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno, Curb Your Enthusiasm…he’s a fucking legend) It was a pleasure working with those dudes and a fucking honor. It is a lot of work but in the best way. My character was easy to jump into because he’s just a goofball and I it’s just an exaggerated version of me.
RM: What was it like working for Ashton Kutcher? Is he a pretty laid back guy behind the scenes; or is he pretty much all business?
AS: Ashton takes a while to open up but when he does he’s a solid dude. Very relaxed and down but he’s got a pretty big wall up. He SO fucking famous that he has to put up a wall to protect himself.
RM: Do you have any great stories from the set of “Adam Devine’s House Party”? How did you feel that viewers responded to your time?
AS: No great stories other than it was nice to work with Adam again. We’ve known each other for years because of stand up and when he called me and told me he had a new show and wanted me to be on it, I was fucking stoked. I think people liked what I did. I’m never safe and that’s also why I liked that his show was uncensored. It’s most likely why I haven’t done late night. I’m working with the booker of Conan to put a set together for that but only because I feel like Conan lets you play.
RM: What’s your favorite comedy club to work at on the West Coast? Do you still ever run across things in Southern California that give you a brief moment of culture shock, seeing as how you are from the Midwest?
AS: Denver’s Comedy Works in downtown Larimer Square is the best club for my money in the country. It’s small and low to the ground. You can touch the people in the front row and the stage is six inches off the ground, it’s amazing. I’m going to be recording my first album there at the end of May. Nothing in Southern California really shocks me. In Chicago we got it all man. We lead the fucking country last summer in the murder rate (whoop whoop).
RM: Which of the following is more relieving to you: Getting off stage after a gig that hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to, or leaving a television shoot where you’ve been on the set all day and finally get to go home? Why?
AS: I’d say those experiences are polar opposites but there were times when I would have a long day of shooting and I would go do a set because it was the only way to escape. So I guess sometimes those things go hand in hand.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
AS: I’m going out for a bunch of movies and I’ll be traveling around the country so come out and see me or I’ll come find you…
Official Website: http://andrewsantino.com/
Andrew on Instagram: http://instagram.com/cheetosantino#
Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cheetosantino
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