TV legend Ted Danson has played every role from Cheers bartender Sam Malone to an afterlife charmer in NBC's "The Good Place." Now he's the fictional Neil Bremer, the "Mr. Mayor" of Los Angeles, with Academy Award-winner Holly Hunter playing his no-nonsense second-in-command.
"Mr. Mayor" revels in the absurdity of big city politics, somehow finding edgy humor in everything from climate change to homelessness, while rarely offending.
"The vocabulary of the show starts with silly, and then it ends there, too," Hunter said. "And I spend a lot of time talking about diarrhea."
"Yes, to my chagrin," Danson said.
All that silliness is what attracted Hunter to this, her first television sitcom.
"I felt the absurdity knew no limits, which is enormously entertaining for me to play," she said.
Just then, we surprise the stars with an introduction to the real-life mayor of Seattle, Bruce Harrell.
"Thanks for having me, Ted and Holly," Harrell said. "I'm a little disappointed because I've been sort of patterning my administration on the show and now I've figured out it was not to be taken seriously, my goodness!"
Danson is delighted.
"Mr. Mayor," he said. "What an honor you pay us by even being in the same airspace as us."
So, does the TV mayor have any questions for the real-life version?
"Yes," Danson said. "How do you deal with what I assume is a natural human instinct to be liked?"
"Well, I sort of define my whole existence on whether I'm liked or not," Harell responded. "So when I go home to my wife of 30 years, I say, 'I think they liked me. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough?' And I do the affirmations."
Danson laughs as Harrell continues, "I have to ask you. Would Sam Malone have been a better mayor than Neil?"
"Way better," Danson said. "Sam was definitely a people person. I think my job as an actor is to represent older, white, rich men who should not be in power anymore. And yet, here I am."
"Thank you and Holly for bringing such laughter and joy to the country," Harell concluded. "I deeply appreciate that."
"This has been the best interview," Danson said. "Thank you!"
Two mayors — one real, one fake — and an Oscar winner, make for one very enjoyable conversation.
"Mr. Mayor" airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on KING 5.
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