When you’re a dad, there’s no greater feeling than getting your child to say, “That’s… so… COOL!” when you regale her with a tale of one of your achievements.
My daughter loves me deeply (I suspect) but while she always listens attentively whenever I tell her one of my latest blog stories – she’s too busy crafting her own tales to read them online – she rarely jumps off the couch and exclaims, “You’re the best blogging dad ever!”
Until I told her about today’s guest, that is.
“You got Coach Tanaka? SERIOUSLY?”
poor, unfortunate soul honored guest will be forever known as Atilla the hungriest of all Huns (I just made that up; yes, I am a wordsmith of the highest caliber) in the Night at the Museum film series.
And Awkward Davies in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
And Detective Joe Finn in one of Canada’s finest television drama series, Da Vinci’s Inquest and Da Vinci’s City Hall.
And Gary the Bartender in Sideways.
The list goes on but to millions of kids, teens, adults and seniors with strong pacemakers, he will always be Glee’s Coach Ken Tanaka.
Honestly, a quick glance at his IMDb page will leave you breathless. And gobsmacked.
“He’s that guy? How on earth did The Hook ever get that guy?”
I literally have no idea. The credit is Patrick’s alone; he’s an unbelievably-generous soul who always makes time for his fans. Personally, I think it traces back to his Canadian roots and the fact he graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada. (Patrick really can act his way out of a paper bag.) His career began in Toronto’s vibrant theater, film and television scene and Patrick has never forgotten where he comes from; he supports the independent film scene wholeheartedly, playing numerous roles in projects by emerging filmmakers. As a dual US/Canadian citizen, Patrick has a stake in the future of both nations, though I know better than to discuss politics with my guests.
Being interviewed by The Hook is painful enough…
One last thing before I turn things over to Patrick: When I sent him his queries Patrick not only answered in record time, he went over the top, sending my daughter a video shout-out. Time is the most precious commodity we have and while we often think it will never run out, nothing could be further from the truth. Our lives pass in the blink of an eye and when I think of Patrick pressing “pause”on his life to make my daughter beam with joy, it leaves me feeling eternally grateful and humble.
And now, friends, it’s time to see what Patrick Gallagher has to say for himself. Enjoy.
ONE) You’ve had an amazing career spanning decades and a multitude of characters. As a classically-trained actor you can bring virtually any type of being to life successfully, but which roles make you salivate like a dog outside a bacon processing plant? (Bad guy? Good guy? Everyman? Elitist?)
I’ve been fortunate to play a lot of diverse types of characters, the types I wanted to portray have changed throughout my career. Right now the characters that I like the most are, for lack of a better term, ‘Normal’ types… like doctors or lawyers. Characters with some sensitivity and intelligence… ones that require emotional and mental deftness to play. The reason is that those are the closet to who I am ethos wise and the ones I haven’t really gotten to play much as a character actor.
TWO) If you could strike one word from human language – and for that matter, animal language – what would it be?
The word I would strike from the English language right now is probably “Kale”, because its a garnish and not a food! Second place would be “Awesome”, because it is used incorrectly and way too much.
(Awesome answer, Patrick! Oh wait…)
THREE) Glee is only one of the many, many blockbuster projects you’ve been a part of and yet, to millions of fans like my daughter you’ll always be Coach Tanaka. Can you share a single tale from the Glee set so I can cement my status as a cool dad in my daughter’s eyes?
A Glee story… hmm.. I guess the thing I could tell you was the fanny pack was my idea; it came to me after we had started shooting the pilot. If you notice it’s not in some scenes, the main reason was I needed a place to keep my sides and my phone and my smokes and those short shorts weren’t really conducive to that! Plus, I wore one for real in the 90’s when I lived in TO and had a girl literally say she would never go out with me because of it, so I thought that was perfect for Ken’s character, who was not all that great with the ladies, lol.
But mainly I wanted quick access to my smokes, lol.
FOUR) You were born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, and grew up in Chilliwack (you know this of course, but I’m sure it’s going to come as a surprise to many of my readers.) You’re also of Irish and Chinese descent. So what’s you favorite dish, Patrick Gallagher? Salmon? Black Pudding? Peking Roasted Duck? Kraft Dinner?
My fave dishes are Gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. My cousin Sean and I are two peas in a pod and we left a day out in London at a reunion in 2000 to get gai lan and go home and cook it. I also love dim sum and Nanaimo Bars are God’s gift to the world, IMO. And poutine too… I love it!
FIVE) Do fans (especially kids) approach you on the street and converse in Atilla’s gibberish language?
People don’t really approach with the language anymore, but did a fair bit when the first one came out,,they would ask me to speak it more than speak it at me, and I was happy to oblige.
FUN FACT: Patrick actually created the ‘gibberish’ language used by Atilla the Hun in Night at the Museum. (He’s not just a pretty face folks.)
“You’re doing the Hook’s blog and that’s it!”
Always leave ’em laughing, friends. My thanks to Patrick Gallagher, for being here, for Atilla, for making my kid think I’m cool, for inspiring kids to be themselves on Glee and for making me proud to be Canadian. Of course, I’m grateful you were here as well, readers.
See you in the lobby, kids…