Archive for the 'Interviews' Category
Ty Burrell may have his own bar in Salt Lake City (true story), but when he’s in L.A., the former bouncer prefers the old-timey feel of Oldfields Liquor Room in Culver City. It’s the perfect place to tuck into some ice-cold gin over a round of ridiculously good-natured jokes. The only person better than Phil Dunphy? The guy who plays him on TV.
Of all the gin joints in Culver City, Ty Burrell walks into Oldfields Liquor Room with the disarming air of the everyman. The date is August 3, 2014; the time is a crisp 5:00 p.m.—the world’s most ideal cocktailing time; and, in precisely 22 days, the 47-year-old will take home his second primetime Emmy award for his portrayal of Phil Dunphy on the embarrassingly popular ABC sitcom Modern Family. And, yes, for the record, he is everything you want him to be—and then some. Ty Burrell is kind, but not phony; funny, but not insecure; and manly, but not patriarchal. It’s a far cry from the role he plays in The Skeleton Twins, out tomorrow, an incisively dark comedy about an estranged brother (Bill Hader) and sister (Kristen Wiig) who reunite after both attempt suicide on the same day. It sounds gritty, but the characters—including Burrell’s lecherous and closeted teacher Rich—are imbued with such humanity and humor that you can’t help but care about them. Here, over a round of chartreuse cocktails, Burrell opens up about his teenaged taste in music, three months spent as the “softest” bartender in Boston, and the culinary perks of being a child star on ABC’s most popular series.
Ty Burrell was presented with an award for his gay rights advocacy by his Modern Family co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Saturday at the 10th annual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Utah Gala Dinner at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
“Ty is an amazing guy and he’s an incredibly passionate advocate of equality,” Ferguson said in presenting the award. “And the thing that makes Ty such an amazing ally is his complete cluelessness. And I mean that in the best way. His default mode is inclusiveness and fairness.”
In accepting his award, Burrell said such an honor would not have been possible were it not for the efforts of activists who came before him.
“I say this award comes to me because of the hard work of others for two main reasons. Number one: It’s easier to be an ally for equality right now on Earth than it ever has been. And that’s due to the hard work and sacrifice, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, of so many thousands of people gay and straight who helped us get to this moment.”
“Number two, because I’m part of a show that’s made a real difference in the way people view same-sex relationships.”
“I’m honored to stand with you all tonight, and, yes, I’m even humbled,” he added.
He plays a bumbling dad on ABC’s “Modern Family,” but in Salt Lake City Ty Burrell is trying out for a role as restaurateur.
Burrell has just opened Beer Bar, a beer garden-like eatery that serves 150 beers paired up with an array of house-made bratwursts, local breads and Belgian fries. The restaurant, which has high ceilings and long tables and benches to evoke that Bavarian beer hall feel, is next door to the cocktail bar Burrell co-owns with an equally simple name, Bar X.
“It’s a super simple menu, which is what we wanted from the beginning,” says Burrell, sporting a scruffy beard and glasses. “Basic, but well-made and local. Instead of putting the energy into a lot of elements, making sure you have fewer elements and you are taking the time to make them right.”
For the menu, the Emmy-winning actor teamed up with Viet Pham, an up-and-coming Salt Lake City chef who was one of Food and Wine magazine’s best new chefs in 2011. Burrell met Pham when he and his wife ate at Forage, Pham’s Salt Lake City restaurant, and were blown away by Pham’s cooking. It turned out that Pham was a fan of Bar X, and the seeds for the future partnership were planted.
The bar and restaurant cement Burrell’s roots in Salt Lake City, known less for attracting Hollywood types and more as host of the 2002 Winter Olympics and home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Though born and raised in Oregon, Burrell says he now feels very much like a “Salt Laker,” having lived in the city since 2008. He and his wife, who was born and raised in Utah, live here part of the year with their two young daughters when Burrell is not in Los Angeles filming Modern Family or working on other projects.
“I loved it from the first time I got here,” he said. “It’s a very unassuming place, it’s a very humble place.”
Burrell said he often gets bemused looks from his Hollywood friends when they find out he owns a bar and beer garden in Utah — famous for its teetotaling culture and strict liquor laws.
“There’s usually some sort of confusion about why I’ve opened a bar in Salt Lake,” he said Burrell, laughing.