Bryan Callen is a man of many talents.
He’s an actor, writer, podcaster and stand-up comedian.
All of the above keep him extra busy, yet he takes it in stride.
“It’s funny because it only takes 25 years to be an overnight success,” he says in a recent interview. “When you do get famous, it’s not like anything changes. What am I going to do? I just have to keep being funny.”
Callen broke ground as one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy series “MADtv.”
Since then, he’s kept busy with appearances on various TV shows. Most recently, he’s become known as Coach Mellor on ABC’s “The Goldbergs” and the spinoff show “Schooled.”
Mellor is a physical education teacher and coach at William Penn Academy in the series.
Callen says he got into the character by watching his father.
“When I first read the script, I thought, ‘This is my dad,’ ” he says. “That 1980s male who said, ‘Rub some dirt on it and walk it off.’ That’s how I was raised to be a man. But Coach Mellor has something to offer and he’s hit a cord with audiences. He’s honest and direct. With Coach Mellor, there’s no confusing his intentions. And then there are moments when we see that he’s vulnerable.”
Callen also hosts the podcast “The Fighter and the Kid,” with Brendan Schaub.
The podcast has featured guests including Rob Drydek, Conor McGregor, Chuck Liddell and Bill Burr.
Callen and Schaub are known for their differing comedic perspectives. They formerly focused on mixed martial arts, but now consistently talk about pop culture and current events.
“This is a business that always requires you to do new things and push boundaries,” Callen says. “You better figure out how to make money. With me, that money comes from being funny.”
Callen also has a small role in the coming “Joker” film, starring Joaquin Phoenix.
“Filmmaking is painstakingly slow,” he says. “When everything comes together, it’s brilliant. If most actors saw what it takes to transform like Joaquin did, they wouldn’t want to do it.”
When it comes to his stand-up comedy, Callen wants to start conversations without taking sides.
His recent special, “Complicated Apes,” tackled plenty of current events.
“I want to make people think and persuade them,” he says. “The problem with being political is that you are going to shut people off. The way to get people is to get them laughing first and get them on the same side.”