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Q&A with Jeff Garlin: Taking a swing at parents

Jeff Garlin

Jeff Garlin Credit: Jeff Garlin

Comedian Jeff Garlin has built a nice acting career, with a role in a cult favorite show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and voice-over work in some Pixar movies.

But the funnyman — who also hosts a podcast, “By The Way, In Conversation with Jeff Garlin” on Earwolf and has a new sitcom, “The Goldbergs,” premiering this fall on ABC — has carved out a gig as a writer-director of improvisational indie films.

In his latest movie, “Dealin’ With Idiots,” Garlin stars as a father who works as a comedian and intends to make a film inspired by the parents at his son’s Little League games. The impressive cast also includes Bob Odenkirk, Fred Willard, J.B. Smoove, Jami Gertz, Gina Gershon, Richard Kind and Nia Vardalos.

amNewYork spoke with Garlin about the film, which opens in theaters tomorrow and on VOD Friday.

Some of the actors aren’t known for improv. Did anyone surprise you?
I wasn’t surprised by anybody. Surprise means that I was taking a big risk, and that was just not going to happen. I mean, I’ll take risks creatively, but to me, I’ll take a risk because somebody may say, “Oh, I would never think of casting that person,” but I’m not going to take a risk in hiring someone that I’m unsure of as an improviser.

How was it for director Jeff Garlin to work with the actor Jeff Garlin?
It’s the easiest because the actor Jeff Garlin knows what the director wants. He’s the one actor I don’t have to tell what to do.

Did you play Little League?
Sure, I played every sport, football, baseball. … I was a very good baseball player, [a] very good power-hitting first baseman.

How do you think the film fits in alongside some of the great baseball films?
Oh, I couldn’t compare it to any great baseball film. I just hope people dig it. I can’t do that. Put it this way, it’s not as good as the great baseball films!

Any word on new “Curb”?
I think there’s a good shot we’ll do more. I talked to Larry \[David\] recently, but he didn’t bring anything up. But we’ll see.

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