For fans of TBS’ hilarious comedy, one might not expect tough-as-nails Ok Cha Sullivan to be known for her laugh. On the show, she has a difficult relationship with everyone and an opinion about everything. But for the woman who plays the character her laugh is one thing you notice immediately.
Jodi Long, who plays Ok Cha and I had a lovely chat while she made herself a cup of tea before heading into the set where Sullivan and Son is taping its third season. I asked Long if her cast mates were bawdy bar men and she unleashed her trademark laugh. “They’re so good-natured! We’re always trying to top each other. What’s better than making people laugh as a job? Really. And we have this environment where it’s just a supportive environment. It all starts with Steve [Byrne], the star. He’s the nicest person. When people go on the Warner Brother’s studio tour, Steve is always bringing people in, showing them the set. He really wants to reach out to the fans and he does it one handshake at a time. He brings everyone into the culture and embrace of Sullivan & Son.”
Season 3 of Sullivan & Sons has prior guest stars returning to their former roles.
Spills Long, “Billy Gardell is coming back, and last year I had a crush on him and I just saw him and he said ‘I hope you still get to have a crush on me.’ Our guest stars Kunal Nayyar from The Big Bang Theory was back and he did a bang up job. I mean, oh my gosh, I just said Bang! Like Big Bang! Bang up! [Laughs] He was amazing, it was such a funny episode.
“All of our guest stars all think this is the best gig. They come on and they’re like ‘The cast is so fun, everyone is so supportive and so fun.’ And it’s true, they get absorbed into us, instead of bringing their thing, which they do, they get absorbed into our energy. Which is this great fun, big family lots of support. I say to Dan Lauria all of the time, ‘There’s so much love on this set, I can’t stand it!!’ [laughs] I can stand it.
“Ken Jeong just was on last week reprising his role as my son-in-law and that’s really great episode too, where Susan (Valerie Bang) reveals she’s never had an orgasm and Ok Cha gets involved. So it’s pretty fun and actually a big surprise, and it’s just been made official: Margaret Cho is coming on the show.”
Jodi Long played Margaret Cho’s mother on the 1994 ABC sitcom, All American Girl.
“I don’t know what the storyline’s going to be but I think it’s going to be fun working. I haven’t worked with Margaret since the All American Girl was cancelled. We talk to each other and we’re in touch so it’s going to be so much fun. She’s so excited. I’m so glad that we all gather around and they made it work and it’s great”
Long may jokingly complain about the plethora of love on the set, but when she revealed that she wanted to be a performer, she got two very different reactions from her vaudeville-star parents. “My mother was horrified when I wanted to be an actor. She wanted me to be an English teacher. She said, ‘Oh no, you need a steady job!’ My dad was different. He just encouraged me to do what I love. He said, ‘You just gotta do what you love, if you want to be an actor now because you love it, great. If you want to be a truck driver when you’re 30, because you love it, do that.’ So I didn’t’ take my mother’s advice and get a steady job. I just followed what I love to do and I’m such a lucky person because I get to do what I love and make a living at it.”
image © Peter Svenson