Andy Samberg, left, and Andre Braugher clash in a police precinct in the Fox comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
By Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Were you as surprised as I was to see Andre Braugher in a half-hour comedy Tuesday on Fox's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (8:30 p.m. WPGH)?
It's certainly a departure for the actor, who first made his mark in the NBC drama "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Granted, Mr. Braugher also starred in the lighter TNT drama "Men of a Certain Age," but viewers have never seen him in a half-hour comedy.
"There's a different spirit with a comedy," the actor said at a Fox press conference this summer. "So there's a little bit of a learning curve from the pilot to the first couple of episodes. But I'm watching these guys like hawks. So I feel like I'm getting on board with the right spirit of the comedy and learning a lot and exploring a new way that works. So spiritually these comedies are just -- they're just so much more uplifting than the dramas I've done. I was here last year with something that wasn't uplifting, and I'm loving this."
He was referring, of course, to ABC's submarine drama "Last Resort," which was canceled after a single season.
In a one-on-one interview at a Fox party, Mr. Braugher said he wasn't necessarily looking for a comedy -- he had done comedy when studying acting in college -- but he was pleased to have someone ask him to join the cast of this sitcom as Capt. Holt, the straight-laced (but gay) boss to goofball Jake Peralta, played by Andy Samberg.
"He's on the top of his game right now, and he has an extensive body of comic lore," Mr. Braugher said of Mr. Samberg. "He's been studying comedy his entire life and I've been studying drama my entire life, so we have two different frames of reference and I have to go back to school and catch up very quickly with what he's talking about and what's current. So I'm training, studying so I can catch up with him. He's very quick, has a terrific sense of humor and he's very sharp. I have to step up my game if I'm going to work well with him."
Mr. Braugher said the prospect of starring in a TV comedy was scary, but he's got faith in the show's leaders, who also work on NBC's "Parks and Recreation."
"Leadership is by far the most important quality when it comes to making a show that's going to last and of superb quality, something classy and fun," Mr. Braugher said. "Leadership was a more important [factor] than the script. I've been involved with great scripts and so-so leadership, and it's clear to me that leadership is the most compelling factor."
A version of this story first appeared in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.comtv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook. First Published September 19, 2013 4:00 AM