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Wednesday, January 16th 2008

Bill Chott 1
Bill Chott

Bill Chott will be guest starring in this week's episode, "Mr. Monk Goes to the Bank", as a bank teller and suspect.

Bill has a wide ranging career in television, film, voiceover and theater. He got his start in Chicago with improvisational theater including the Second City Troupe and he made his television debut as a writer/actor on The Dana Carvey Show. He has a brief but memorable part in 1999's Galaxy Quest and a co-starring role in the 2005 film The Ringer. Bill is also an improv wizard performing all over the world and teaching classes at The Improv Trick. I tracked Bill down on MySpace and I got my own space just so I could send him a message and ask him a bunch of questions.


Were you familiar with Monk before you got the role?

I love a good mystery story, so I had watched it whenever I caught it on USA. I was familiar with Tony because we were both in Galaxy Quest. I didn't get to meet him then. He's a really nice, friendly humble guy.

What was your first Monk audition like?

Tony was in the room and he seemed to remember me from Galaxy Quest. I have one line, at the convention, "By Grabthar's Hammer, by the suns of Warvan, I shall avenge you."

Why do you think they chose you?

I'm firmly convinced that the coaching I had with Lesly Kahn helped with audition. I was very natural, and long, long ago I was a bank teller.

Galaxt Quest
Bill Chott in Galaxy Quest

Who is your character?

I play a bank teller at Monk's bank. I'm one of the suspects in the crime.

What was your concept of the character?

I saw him as a bit xenophobic and guarded.

What do you think you may have brought to it that wasn’t in the script?

No one eats a melted chocolate bar like'll see.

What did you think of the Monk cast? Did you get to work with them all?

I worked with Ted and Tony. As I said, Tony is a gem. We all sat down and ate lunch together one day and he is such a sweet and soft spoken genius. Ted is fun to just listen to. He has a lot of great stories from his whole career and his time as a Chicago actor...something I can relate to.

Was the cast fun to work with or was it all business?

Bill Chott 3

This cast is super professional, but always ready to cut up and have fun. There were a lot of laughs.

Who’s the funniest member of the cast?

Tony, hands down.

Where were your scenes filmed?

Our scenes were filmed in a defunct bank deep in the valley. I can't remember exactly where it was.

What was your Monk experience like compared with work you’ve done before?

I hadn't spent as much time with the stars on a set. Everyone was very approachable. Not that stars on other sets weren't approachable, but I felt extra comfortable there.

Do you have any anecdotes you can share about the filming?

Can I share them after it airs? I don't want to spoil the ending.

Did you have the opportunity to meet Tony Shalhoub when you worked on Galaxy Quest?

No, I had my moment and as I was walking up to him his cell phone rang. Had I known he was such a warm guy I would have waited for the end of the call. I spent more time talking with Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver on that set.

You have a lot of experience with improv including teaching. Do you find scripted performing more or less exciting as a result?

I love to bring improv to a scripted piece. Improv doesn't need to be invented dialogue it can be a way of using your environment on a set. I love to improvise but I love working with a script from a great writer, which this was.

Did I mention I stand behind the Writer's Strike 100 percent?

What led you to acting?

I have no other marketable skills.... I love the sound of applause and laughter. I love slipping in and out of character.

Who were/are your role models?

I love WC Fields, John Candy, John Belushi, Harold Ramis and Joe Flaherty. I also looked up to Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell when I used to study at The Second City. Even when we worked together on The Dana Carvey Show I looked up to those guys for inspiration.

What was your best acting experience?

Bill Chott 4

I loved playing Thomas in The Ringer. It's the role of a lifetime and working with Special Olympians seems to really put a new perspective on life.

Your worst?

I hated this one commercial I shot for Checker's Hamburgers. Nothing against the burgers, I still eat them today. The director was not very professional. He was shouting at the actors, including me and he knew nothing about shooting stunt scenes. He probably caused some serious spinal injury to me, and then asked very intimidatingly if I was going to sue because of it. I didn't want to ever see him again.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

Yes, I play a recurring character, Mr. Laritate on the new Disney hit The Wizards of Waverly Place.

Is the name Mr. Laritate an homage to Bewitched? Is he a boss?

Yes, Mr. Laritate is a total homage to Larry Tate...good eye. I don't think the kids get the joke, but I'm tickled. I play a teacher at Waverly Place Prep.

Bill Chott
Bill's Demo Reel


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