Gardell said he spent the offseason studying entertainers such as Johnny Carson, Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason and Desi Arnaz to learn more about how to better react to another person's antics in a way that connects with the audience and enhances the experience for everybody.
When he has breaks in production, he does as many live comedy shows as he can. "Stand up is my first love," he said. And he has sentimental reasons to make a stop in Atlanta: he lived in Marietta in the mid-1990s and met his wife Patty and manager Chris DiPetta while in the area.
DiPetta, who co-owns the Punchline Comedy Club, “is a dear friend as well as a professional partner. He’s the godfather to my son and I consider his son a nephew. We’re more family than anything else.”
Gardell is planning to star in his first film this summer. He'll play a cop who ends up with a dog. "It has a John Candy feel to it," he said. He also co-wrote a comedy script and hopes CBS will pick it up as a pilot. "I've been able to live my dream by starring in a big sitcom and having a lucrative stand-up career. I would also love to try my hand at running a television show."
Here's a little sampling of his comedy, which includes a story about how he met his wife here in Atlanta:
8 p.m., Saturday, January 18
$35-$50 before fees
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta