|Birth name||William Gardell|
August 20, 1969 |
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
William "Billy" Gardell (born August 20, 1969) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, voice artist, and comedian. He has been visible within the comedy world industry since 1989. Gardell currently plays police officer Mike Biggs on Mike & Molly. He also made an appearance in a dozen episodes of My Name Is Earl as a police officer. Gardell voiced Santa in Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas.
Originally from Swissvale, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), Gardell attended Winter Park High School in Orange County, Florida during the mid-1980s. As a child, he moved to Florida with his mother and younger brother and sister after his parents divorced and only visited Pennsylvania in the summers. He has said living in Florida was a positive experience. At the age of 15, he started working at a department store warehouse in the receiving area where he would unload trucks and stack pallets. In 1987, he started cleaning bathrooms, seating people and answering phones at a local comedy club, Bonkerz. On December 28th, he started performing at the comedy club's open-mic nights after he made a dare with some co-workers. "If I didn't do an open mic night, I couldn't cover the bet. I was running my mouth that I would do it. They bet me I wouldn't", he explained. He eventually started opening for Dennis Miller and George Carlin.
Although Bonkerz helped launch his comedy career, he has credited the support from his grandmother, saying "She told me when I was 8 years old that I could be a comic". Before Mike & Molly, Gardell revealed that he was actually considering a career in radio after being on the road for his comedy act was affecting his family time. He has performed in several feature films, including Bad Santa (with Billy Bob Thornton) You, Me, and Dupree (with Owen Wilson) and Avenging Angelo (with Sylvester Stallone and Anthony Quinn) as well as appearing numerous times in recurring roles in several U.S. television series, including NBC's Heist, The Practice, Yes, Dear, Desperate Housewives, Lucky, Bones, My Name Is Earl, Monk, and The King of Queens. Gardell appeared as himself on the Comedy Central series Make Me Laugh.
Gardell is known for his comedic roles and is influenced by Jackie Gleason. He has also listed Richard Pryor, George Carlin, John Candy and John Belushi as his influences. Subsequently, he appeared on Miller’s television program Dennis Miller, telecast on the U.S. financial news network CNBC (conducting “man-on-the-street” interviews). Notably, he created and staged a SNL-style charity performance of a piece called Winter Park Live, the proceeds from which were donated to Comic Relief.
Gardell continues to make weekly appearances on hometown local radio station, WDVE, appearing on The DVE Morning Show. Gardell also appeared on Chelsea Lately, as a roundtable participant. Gardell appeared on a special for Comedy Central Presents in 2007 that aired on April 4, 2008. Gardell also played the host of Pizza Talk, an imaginary TV show, in commercials for Round Table Pizza.
In 2006, Gardell's first comedy album, Billy Gardell: Throwback, was released.
His new stand-up special Halftime was released in 2011 and aired on Comedy Central. It was filmed in Pittsburgh and profiles working-class America. As of 2011, he continues to tour as a stand-up comedian in addition to acting. In a 2011 Orlando Sentinel article, Gardell said he wouldn't mind doing movies again.
Gardell has been married to Patty (née Steele) Gardell since 2001. They have a 9-year-old son, William. In a 2011 USA Today article, Gardell said he may retire when his son is a teenager to spend more time with him. His parents still live in Florida and he occasionally visits them. Regarding his weight, Gardell has explained that he "always had a little gut" and even weighed 350 lbs. at some point.
Gardell is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, having participated in several Terrible Towel waves with other Steeler fans at Heinz Field. His favorite player growing up was Jack Lambert, with his son liking former Steeler Hines Ward.
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