In just a few short years, STEVE BYRNE has risen through the ranks of the comedy world to become one of the industry’s most innovative and sought-after performers. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Steve Byrne was born to a Korean mother and an Irish father. His unique background has given him the base comedic material for his first television show, Sullivan & Son, which premiered on TBS July 19th. We asked Steve questions about his new show, his new baby and his take on hair styles in the NHL.
In your new show Sullivan and Son, you play a Manhattan corporate attorney who comes back to his hometown in Pittsburgh, where he takes over the family bar from his Irish American father (played by Dan Lauria) and his Korean American mother (played by Jodi Long). We all know the networks are big fans of showing diversity on TV. Can you explain a little bit of how the show came to be?
It all starts with Vince Vaughn (Executive Producer). We’ve been great friends for quite some time and he encouraged me to create and write a vehicle for myself. So, I did. I went ahead, got some books, read up and hit the ground running. I spent months writing the initial pilot. When I finally turned it into Vince, he and Peter Billingsley set up some meetings with writers and I was fortunate enough to partner up with Rob Long. Rob and I spent another few months retooling the pilot and we went out with it and sold it to our incredible partner TBS.
Working with Vince, Peter and Rob and all involved in the show has been the highlight of my professional career. It’s truly a team effort with an all star team.
Jodi Long (a Visual Communications Board Member) plays your mother on the show. How close is her performance to your actual mother? And does your mother approve of Jodi?
My mom LOVES Jodi!!! Absolutely loves her. There are times when Jodi will perform a line and it really resonates with me, “She is my mom!!!!!” She nails it but truly makes the character her own. Jodi takes the role of Ok Cha to a whole new level. A level that I never anticipated. We hit the lottery with her.
You and Daniel Henney both share a Caucasian/Korean background. He started off as a model and now has become a full-fledged movie star. What’s your excuse?
He has model looks and a defined physique. I look like I should manage a PF Chang’s in Ohio. Damn you Henney!!! When I look at Daniel Henney and I look at myself, I simply want to sue my parents for the hand I was dealt!!! He’s absolutely an awesome dude and glad I got to meet him.
We hear you’re a big hockey fan and your two favorite teams are the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Please list your fantasy NHL All-Hair lineup and your reasoning behind each selection.
I love hockey. It’s the greatest sport in the world. Fast and physical. My opinions will be very biased due to my Pittsburgh connection but my favorite player of all time is Mario Lemieux! He’s literally a guy who could make the impossible possible on a nightly basis. When he retired, gone are the days of a player putting up 5-6 points a night. I not only appreciate his on ice play but what he did off the ice as well. He battled cancer and still won the scoring title that same year. He had chronic back pain that forced him to retire. He came back a few years later and didn’t miss a beat. He single-handedly saved the Penguins from leaving Pittsburgh and has been an incredible owner of the team presently. I love watching Sidney Crosby. His work ethic is inspiring. He’s a guy that is the best because he does the hard work to be the best. Evgeni Malkin is just a force on the ice. He’s so talented and lacks ego, which I love. I also love watching my friend Dave Bolland play for the Hawks. He’s a guy that does all the little things on the ice that don’t show up on a stat sheet but is in my mind more important and rewarding. He’s a work horse on the ice and his physical play is amazing considering he’s not a big guy. An incredible two way player. Come play off time, watch out, he always takes it up a notch. Always!
Um, you may have misread question #4 as “All-Star” instead of “All-Hair” (was of course expecting Jaromir Jagr and Al Iafrate).
I wasn’t sure if it was a typo, but all hair… JAGR!!! Hands down. In the ’90s he looked like a bass player in a metal band from the ’80s. The one today that can rival him is Scott Hartnell.
You graciously hosted Opening Night at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, where you sang the song “No One Will Let Me Play with Their Asian Baby.” Now that you’ve recently become a father, will you let others play with your Asian baby?
I absolutely will!!! I know the heartache in seeing the most adorable Asian baby and not being able to hold it. It’s the cruelest punishment a human can endure!!! I’ll let anyone hold my quarter Asian baby!