Colantoni guest starred as Joe
Christie on the season three episode
"Mr. Monk and the Employee
of the Month" much to my
delight. I first noticed Rico
Quest which also starred
Tony Shalhoub. Their individual
performances in the film were
brilliant and since then I've
followed both their careers closely.
That's why I started watching
Monk, but before there was The
Monk Fun Page, there was The
Enrico Colantoni Fan Site,
my first solo web page. So when
Rico's name appeared in the credits
of "Employee of the Month"
I was flabbergasted. It was divine
kismet, seeing my favorite actor
on my favorite show. Yes, logic
tells me that actors who have
worked with Tony Shalhoub have
an exponentially higher chance
of being cast in the show (John
Turturro, Tim Daly, Stanley Tucci,
etc.), but sometimes it seems
the Monk sun shines on me. And
it gets better. A couple of months
ago, out of the blue, Enrico Colantoni
emailed me. He'd seen the website
and, no doubt, his curiosity got
the better of him. A few emails
later, we had arranged to meet
here in San Francisco for this
Hilton in Chinatown
where we did the interview
I confess, until I actually saw
him in the hotel lobby, I thought
there was a chance I was being
punked. But there he was: a living,
breathing actor and all around
nice guy. We were joined by my
friend, Monk Fun Page photographer
Seth Williams. He chimes in with
an occasional question and he
took all these great photos, which
will get much bigger if you click
on them. (We talked for quite
a while, so only the Monk and
Galaxy Quest questions are on
this page. For the Veronica Mars
questions you can go here.
To read the entire, mostly unedited,
version of the interview, go here.)
Me and Rico and
my list of questions
in the hotel dining room
How did you get the role [of Joe
Christie]? Did Tony Shalhoub ask
You know what? It was interesting
because…. Remember the John
Turturro character? His brother,
his sort of reclusive brother?
Right, I never saw the episode,
but I met them
all. I mean I knew Tony from Galaxy
Quest, but I met them on
that role. They were considering
me for that role.
Seth: Oh, wow.
So when I went in and sort of
approached it from a realistic
kind of way, it was like a really
wonderful audition with me and
Tony. So I think that sort of
sparked something in them, because
then the next season they just
said, “Do you want to do
this?” I hadn’t really
watched the show, so I didn’t
realize how poignant that character
was, because apparently it was
a glimpse into Monk’s past
before the trauma.
We hadn’t really gotten
much of that before in his relationships.
So that was pretty cool, but that’s
how it happened, sort of like
a two step process.
Teresa: So have
you watched the show much since?
No, I don’t watch much TV.
It’s a choice I make, because
between the work and my kids and
Something’s got to give?
Uh, huh. You know, plus all the
good shows are on at like nine,
ten o’clock. And I like
to be in bed by then. And you
know if I try to watch a show
that’s intense like Sopranos
or something like that I tend
to carry it with me so I don’t
sleep and if I don’t sleep
I’m an asshole. You know?
Teresa: Did you
get enough sleep last night?
I did, but you know I was writing
until midnight and I didn’t
realize it was so late, but I
did get eight hours.
Yeah, I won’t be an asshole
anymore. Even if I feel like an
asshole, I won’t be.
Seth: How many
kids do you have?
Two. Yeah he’s…. the
boy is eight and the girl is five.
Teresa: Is the
girl easier to raise?
You know what, psychologically
easier, but not in the moment
Because I sort of I look at him
and I realize that he is more of
an extension of myself and I feel
the weight and the responsibility
of like having to be a good example
for him. And not that I don’t
with her, but I know she has her
mother to teach her all the things
that I know nothing about like earrings
and make-up and nails and fashion
and shopping. Aaaaah, you know what
I mean? So my time with her is just
sort of spent just sort of hugging
Seth: Being Daddy.
as opposed to my son. I have to
“You know what, dude, this
is how we do things. This is, you
know, this is how we deal with things.”
With her it’s like, oh, mom
will worry about that. But she is
much more temperamental and just,
well, she’s a girl.
Teresa: Would you
say she’s more like you?
I think so. I think when push comes
to shove she is much more articulate
and dramatic and expressive than
he is. So maybe, you know, who knows?
getting back to Monk, do you have
any interesting stories about what
went on on the set?
Teresa: Was it
all pretty smooth?
You know what? The only problem
that I remember was those damn
dogs. You remember they had dogs
for the security. They were the
nicest Dobermans. So we spent
more time trying to film it in
a way that could maximize their
aggressiveness. And me going like,
"Aaarrrgh!" and the
dog is like [unenthusiastically]
"Err err err aarh."
You know, and [the director]’s
just like cut. And you know they
had this bark for like two seconds
and all the sudden he’s
like…. [makes licking noises]
They’re lickin’ you.
Seth: I think
I saw a couple of scenes where
you don’t quite catch the
aggressive side of the dog.
No, it’s sort of like [doing
pretty impressive Scooby Doo imitation]
And when the dog’s running
through the store and he slips and
you just feel sorry for the poor
Right, poor dog. What a dummy. And
I think the cut they actually used
was me doing this. Uhhhh uhh huhh
uhh. The dog’s like okay.
And the fact that I got to hang
out with Tony again. And just sort
of have this relationship with him
in a character way, plus the past
that I’ve had with him.
That’s something I really
saw translate across the screen,
that you two knew each other.
That there was a betrayal in the
friendship and it really came across
The coolest thing about Tony is
that he’s an old world guy
and I think we share that. We have
that immigrant sort of mentality
in a way.
Well, that’s right. I guess
both your fathers are from the old
Right, so we have that in common.
You also both went to Yale.
Yeah, and I knew of him before.
One of the greatest theatrical experiences
I ever had was watching Rameau’s
Nephew at CSC in New York and
I was like 23 or 24. And Shalhoub
was doing it. And he was like the
greatest actor and it was the greatest
performance I’d ever seen
up until that point. And I’m
reading his bio and I go, “Oh
School of Drama. I wanna go
there.” So it was a combination
of watching his performance and
Alan Grier [also a Yale Graduate]
in an audition room. The two of
them together sort of made me go,
“These are the greatest actors
I’ve ever seen. I want to
go to Yale.” So I owe them
a lot, especially Tony, because
if you’d ever seen Rameau’s
Nephew, he was like he was so fucking
What was it about his performance
that you think made it really stand
Well if you know the play, it’s
a two hander and it’s about
I guess Rameau, some painter or
something during the French past,
I don’t know the history
of Rameau at all, but his nephew
was a scoundrel and a cheat and
a vagabond and a drunk and a whore
and when an actor gets to play all
those things…. he was having
the best time. And his voice and
his vocal range were just so beautiful
because it was like a whole…
I remember this coughing fit that
he had that lasted ten minutes and
just how it built and what he did
and it would stop and it would go
back again. His physicality was
You and he really seemed to have
a great rapport in your scenes.
I think so, yeah.
Do you attribute that to having
the past together?
Well, yeah. That’s valuable
homework. You know somebody and
you already respect them and admire
them for what they do and what was
the characters name again?
Yes, you know the admiration he
had for Monk and his ability. You
know, he was like a true gumshoe.
He was like a true investigator.
Teresa: Have they
asked you to reprise the role?
I wonder why? Maybe they know I’m
Teresa: You do
have a series of your own.
But it’s sort of remarkable
how so many people have seen that
and they remember that episode.
There are a lot of fans out there,
I think I told you that’s
one of the most popular guest characters
they’ve ever had.
Incredible. You know I don’t
get out much. There’s a lot
of traveling a lot of time in the
car, going to San Diego and stuff,
so I’m always amazed when
people say, “Hey, I saw you
on blah blah blah.” I go,
“Oh yeah that’s right,
that’s what I do. Good to
see you.” I think it’s
a good place to come from.
Is that pretty much the only feedback
you get for television roles. I
mean for a play, of course, you
have the audience right there.
Yeah, I think that’s the best
that could happen, because when
people say, “I appreciate
what you do.” That’s
the greatest. So let’s get
back to Monk. [He leans
over to look at my questions.]
I think we’ve covered that.
[Reading] Would you consider returning…?
Yes, I would consider it. Oh yeah,
that would be great.
Okay. Where were your scenes films?
We’re curious because we like
to take pictures of where scenes
They have there own lot, right.
What was that? [Ren-Mar
Studios] I don’t know,
but I know we ended up on the Universal
lot, cause that whole diner thing
with the old partner was in a diner
there. That’s one of those
old streamliner things. And then
we were in Simi Valley, which I’ve
never been to Simi Valley the whole….
It’s funny all those years
in L.A. and I’ve never been
to Simi Valley.
Simi Valley: that’s where
the shopping center was. That didn’t
seem very San Francisco to me.
Yeah, I know. I didn’t think
It’s funny to see a shopping
center in San Francisco.
Right. Because that’s insane,
You may get six cars in a parking
lot here and that’s about
There’s got to be a….
I mean didn’t it take place
in some suburban part of it?
Yes, probably. That’s the
way I think of it.
Yeah, how does that feel when you
know it’s clearly not….?
Oh, that’s okay with me.
You kind of let your imagination
go with it. You know, I tend to
kind of try and fill in the gaps.
That’s what I love about the
sitcom. They just have the stock
footage in the beginning and then
they’re in some stage somewhere.
Everybody knows it’s a stage
and that’s something they
Yeah, but we had that stock footage.
When I did Hope and Gloria we had
that stock footage of Pittsburgh.
It’s like, Pittsburgh? Awesome.
Weren’t you glad you didn’t
have to film there?
Well, you know when we first did
that pilot it was set in Philadelphia,
so you know I sort of had an idea
of a Philadelphia regionalism and
then they day we shot we go, we’re
in Pittsburgh now. I can’t
just drop a regionalism. So I resorted
What was the experience like working
on Galaxy Quest?
What was that experience like? Perfect.
From beginning to end. Because It’s
not often where actors are allowed
to do their work. Sometimes directors
have such a strong vision of what
Is that more true in films?
Yeah, I think so, because I think
they’re scared. They really
just want to hold on to that vision.
They’re afraid to sort of
let go and let all the elements
attribute the whole experience to
[Monk Pilot Director] Dean Parisot
who was the director who had this
very laid back attitude. He was
brought on it late. I think it was…
what’s his name? [Barry
Sonnenfeld] He had just done
Wild Wild West.
Uh Kevin Kline?
No, the director on that.
Oh, the director. No, shoot. And
I’m such a fan of the old
Harold Ramis, maybe? Somebody like
that was supposed to direct it.
He wanted Klein. The studio wanted
Tim Allen. He said “No, I’m
tired. I don’t want to do
it anymore.” So right in the
middle of it they brought Dean in.
He sort of started behind the eight
ball. Well, maybe that’s how
he works all the time. He’s
just sort of like, “Whatever
you guys want to bring,” which
allowed me to just be goofy and
bring that guy in. He said, “Great!”
Actors usually don’t have
The nice thing about Galaxy Quest
is the parody was spot on.
The writing was great, you know
what I mean? It was such a good
story. So everybody was having fun.
There was not one ounce of drama
going on. It was perfect.
There was nobody who thought they
were bigger than everybody else?
It had a very big name cast.
Nooooo. And Tim couldn’t do
it. You know, I’m sure he
was capable of being the Prima Donna,
but Sigourney [Weaver] was there
you know to keep him in check and
Alan [Rickman] was there to just
remind everybody that there was
a real fuckin’ actor on stage.
So everybody was like hmmm. Even
Tim had a wonderful sense of humor
about it. He goes, “Huh, I
guess this isn’t a Tim Allen
movie is it?” I go, “I
don’t think it is, Tim.”
And he realized that it wasn’t
his movie. He had to interview.
He had to meet the people and then
in the middle of the interview he
realized, “Oh, this isn’t
mine, is it?” He realized
it and that just brought him right
down. He was actually a joy. He
had such humility about it and I
think to date it’s still his
favorite thing that he’s done.
I think it’s the best thing
he’s ever done.
It’s funny because the thing
about the character, you know, he’s
the Captain he’s supposed
to fix everything. He’s perfect.
That’s what he brought across
in the character. “It’s
Right, right, but not really though.
Yeah, it was all just great. And
Chill was… I just remember
him as Chill.
Yeah, he had an accident, right?
Yeah he’s like…
He’s paralyzed from the waist
When did this happen?
Years ago. 7 or 8 years ago.
This was just a year or so after
Yeah, not much longer, yeah.
And he continues to act.
He sure does. And why shouldn’t
I heard some talk many years ago
that they were considering a sequel
Yeah, they’ve been talking
about it forever. I think the original
screen writer wrote a sequel. I
hope they don’t. They can’t.
It would be fun, but it’s
almost like past its prime sort
Yeah, yeah. And not only that, they
do it with every movie. You don’t
even remember the first one anymore.
Like Austin Powers.
Yeah, it’s like now they’re
just all one big blur. Like is that
one, two or three. If there’s
just one it’s like, there
It’s its own work of art.
Its own work of art, that’s
right. I’m glad they didn’t