The comedian-turned-actor and Albuquerque native explains whether Breaking Bad gives an accurate portrayal of his hometown and identifies the funniest other person on set. (Hint: It’s not a guy.)
Q: Gomez just barely misses getting into a bar fight with Hank this season. Have you ever been in a bar fight?
A: Yeah, unfortunately. I was a comic for many, many years, and I kind of lived working in bars, so bar brawls happen a bit. I wish Gomez would at least have gotten out of the car, though!
Q: You and Dean Norris are friends. Is it weird seeing him made up to look like he’s at death’s door?
A: It’s pretty hardcore. It’s funny, when I read those particular scripts it was kind of scary, but it’s such great drama. We’re like kids, each script we read is like a new comic book, because they are so good and so intruiging. But it was tough to watch Dean lay there in bed, not have much to say. Hank’s character is never at a lack for words.
Q: In the hospital, Gomez displays a lust for the Cousin’s blood. Was that tough to pull off?
A: Realistically I played it as if someone had really shot my friend, so it was pretty easy for me to be that upset. It was wild how Gomez gets kicked out of the waiting room with the family and just keeps his eye on the Cousin, hoping the guy will die. What’s cool about Gomez this season is that he was always sort of the quiet one, playing off of Hank. And now they put more depth into him and into his true character.
Q: What was it like having Betsy Brandt yell at you?
A: It was strange because I’ve never been yelled at in a scene by a woman. I’ve never been kissed in a scene by a woman either. So at least I got being yelled at out of the way. It’s funny, on set that day she didn’t want to talk to me or anything. She walked by me and put her hand up. I was sitting, waiting for them to set up scenes and change the cameras. And I laughed, but when we did the scenes she let me have it. I knew she was working up to it, because I’m not an easy guy to yell at. I don’t do anything that deserves yelling.
Q: You’re a comedian by trade, but most of your scenes this season are anything but funny. Is it hard not to try to make Gomez funny?
A: From the get-go, they made sure I didn’t make Gomez funny, and so now when I show up to work I don’t even consider comedy. You’d be amazed: All the scripts I get are bad guys and tough dudes. That means I’m doing my job on Breaking Bad, portraying that kind of character.
Q: Bryan Cranston is also a comedian, so who’s the funniest guy on set?
A: The funniest guy on set is probably Betsy [Brandt]. She’s so funny, and Dean [Norris] is super funny and Bryan’s a funny guy and Aaron is funny and Anna Gunn is full of life. This is the coolest set ever. Vince put these people together that would probably do a great comedy to do this really serious dark comedy. There’s still comedy in it — they still add that dark comedy and weave it in there.
Q: What’s it like filming a show that portrays the seedy underbelly of the place you grew up?
A: I grew up on the rough side of town. I had to fight my way to and back from school, so I know that part of Albuquerque. They’re not sugar-coating something. The good news is that it’s not just Albuquerque, so it doesn’t make me feel bad. People say they make it look bad, and I say do you watch Law and Order or CSI? It makes me not want to go to Las Vegas man. Breaking Bad gives a realistic view of what really is going on. They really show Albuquerque for what Albuquerque is.