On the Button: A poker Q&A with Brad Garrett

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Brad Garrett is an actor, comedian and avid poker player from Woodland Hills, Calif. He’s appeared in numerous television shows and film roles, winning three primetime Emmys. He also won the fifth season championship of Celebrity Poker Showdown and enjoys playing the World Series of Poker almost yearly. Ante Up’s Mike Owens caught up with Garrett recently to discuss the game he loves most.

How did you first learn to play poker? My cousin and I started a home game 20 years ago… I still don’t know how to play. 

Do you play any other games beside Texas Hold’em? I like Omaha once in a while.
Who do you think is more talented, poker players or comedians, and why? I think it depends on the comedian and the poker player. I have met a few poker players who are a lot funnier than many comedians, but not on purpose. There’s a lot less luck involved in becoming a good comedian. 
Have you had the chance to get to know any poker pros? Annie Duke, but only sexually. Same with Dennis Phillips.

Can you tell us about your foundation and charity event? Every year I hold a celebrity poker tournament to benefit my charity Maximum Hope Foundation. It’s a non-profit organization that helps provide practical assistance to families caring for a child with life-limiting illness. Our past tournament guests have included Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Teri Hatcher, Kevin Nealon, Cheryl Hines and many more. It’s always a great time to support a wonderful cause. Details on future tournaments can be found at MaximumHopeFoundation.org.

What do you love most about Las Vegas? Anything at any hour.

How old were you when you started doing comedy? I was 16 when I did standup for the first time.

Who’s a better poker player, you or Ray Romano? That’s a tough one. He’s definitely more conservative and perhaps a little bit of a better player. But I’m more aggressive, so it probably evens out. Of course, he’ll tell you I suck. 

Are you working on any projects right now? I am currently filming a new show for ABC called How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), which is set to start airing on Tuesdays in January.

I also have a small role in the new Steve Carell and Jim Carrey film called The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and another small role in Not Fade Away, which is David Chase’s feature directorial debut.

This past spring I opened a comedy club in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which has been the realization of a lifelong dream of mine. I bring in the best comics from around the country seven nights a week, and perform myself every month.

For more information about the MGM Grand comedy club, visit BradGarrettComedy.com.