18 years ago, Lance Barber had one goal when he moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. He didn’t want to wait tables or do construction to support his acting career. Fortunately, the 44-year-old has never had to do either. While there have been some leaner financial times for the Michigan native, Barber has had a steady flow of work since making the jump to LA. Barber stars as George Sr. in the new CBS sitcom “Young Sheldon.” George Sr. is struggling to find his footing as a high school football coach and as a father to a son he doesn’t really understand.
Barber chatted with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about working in network television, what to expect on tonight’s new episode of the show and how his time at The Second City in Chicago impacted his career.
DJ Sixsmith: You got your start in comedy at The Second City in Chicago. What do you remember most about your days on the stage in Chicago?
Lance Barber: I remember the camaraderie for the most part. I learned a wealth of knowledge that I still use today. What a fun community of people, it was a lot of smart and funny people coming together to do the same thing. Doing it in a city like Chicago was very memorable and there were nights that weren’t so memorable. I had a good time in that town in my early 20’s. I’m still pretty tight with much of the community and people I met there.
DS: How does your experience on “Young Sheldon” compare to other shows you’ve worked on?
LB: There’s a difference in network television in regards to the broad audience that you reach. I’ve done a lot of shows before and I’m a lucky enough person to be in this business to do roles that I get recognized for in public on occasion and it’s been just the right amount. It’s big for my ego, but no one bothers me. On a random occasion, people will come up to me and tell me they like what I do and it feels great. It hasn’t been bothersome by any means yet. You think about all of that stuff when you become an actor on television and what goes into the job for big business television.
DS: A new episode of the show called “A Brisket, Voodoo, and Cannonball Run,” airs tonight. What can people expect to see?
LB: I’m looking forward to this episode. This is an episode that deals with beef. I ate nearly my weight in brisket when we shot this episode. I ballooned, my heart has slowed down considerably, but it was well worth it. I committed to eating a lot of brisket to shoot this episode and I hope that it shows. I think it’s going to be a really funny episode. It’s not just a comedy, you’ll get to know the people. You’ll get to know Meemaw and George a little more tonight.
DS: You mentioned how you get noticed for certain roles in public. People must recognize you for your role of Bill Ponderosa on “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” What was the best part of that experience?
LB: Always Sunny is a group of buddies that make a show and do what they want to do. They’ve been doing it for over a decade and being a part of that group and that little family is a delight every time. As you can imagine, they are fun and funny and good guys to be around. It’s been a highlight for me to play Bill Ponderosa. There’s definitely a certain demographic that watches that show.
DS: Finally, what’s been the proudest moment of your career?
LB: That’s a tough one, because I’m lucky that there have been a lot of proud moments. I’ve gotten to work with people I admire. When I came to Los Angeles from Chicago, my goal was to not wait tables and do construction anymore. In over 18 years, I haven’t done either of those things. I think that’s what I’m most proud of. I’m a working actor. There have been some lean times, but I’ve maintained my goal of being a working actor in Los Angeles.
“Young Sheldon” airs 8:30pm EST/PST on CBS.