teenagers today may have a hard time placing Orlando Jones at
first glance, almost anyone else would have no trouble associating
the funny-man with his role as 7-Up spokesman in early 2000s
or as one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy
Jones turned his seemingly comedy-based interests into a
full-fledged acting career, not moving away from comedy necessarily
but certainly embracing the dramatic roles that were offered
to him. His latest endeavor mixes both comedy and drama together
as he takes on the2-episode guest-role of life coach Lazarus
"Laz" Collins in USA's summer hit series Necessary
PCM's Allison had the opportunity to participate in a call
with Jones and asked about the differences and challenges
of establishing a character in a mere two episodes versus
developing a series regular.
"It's a little - it's a totally - to some degree the
approach is the same and to some degree the approach is different.
You know, most of my career has been in the movie business
where, you know, you're going to live with whomever it is
for, you know, three, four months or longer," Jones began.
"A lot of the ground work I think ends up being done
by sort of the writers and you ultimately look at, you know,
the arc of the episode and try, at least from my perspective,
to - and view the character with as much nuance as you possibly
"And I think that's really been the challenge,"
Jones continued. "I mean, it's really easy to play Laz
to me as this really sort of sleazy guy who just sort of comes
in and takes advantage of TK. I kind of feel like that's kind
of straight on - up the middle and on the (nose) and you should
have seen it coming."
"So what I wanted to kind of get my head around when
approaching something and it gets kind of low, low, low, what's
the reality of it and what's the best side of the worst guy,"
he explained. "And often when you're doing something
where you have a role, this guy, you know, is a lovely person.
He's welcoming. Well, what is he trying to hide? What's his
"So, I mean, ultimately I think, you know, we're kind
of binary people and there's two of us living inside all the
time, you know, that get into (bad)," Jones revealed.
"So I think the tough part is trying to (curse) that
and then try and find the moment in the scenes that you have
in order to give the character some, you know, life and, you
know, some interest and nuance."
"So that's generally the approach, you know, and it's
difficult primarily because, you know, it's (relegated) by
screen time so you try and deal with it as best you possibly
can and look at each scenes and not what the objective is
that's happening in the story but then how you can make the
objective of the story a little bit more interesting than
it's going to be than if you just hit it on the (nose),"
While Jones is no stranger to most mediums of acting, we
also asked if there was anything he was surprised to learn
about himself from the character. Did he walk away with any
life lessons from playing a life coach?
"I don't know that I have time to do that," Jones
laughed. "I definitely have previously not been, you
know, the biggest fan of the life coaches. I always thought
of it sort of like, "Seriously, that's really what you
do?" So I think I definitely gained a little bit more
respect for that profession because like I do think that,
you know, at their core, they really are trying to, you know,
help people so it's kind of positive look on people who are
devoting their lives to try and to go for the - you know,
do better for themselves and do better for others."
"So that, you know, I think I gained a little bit more
respect for the profession and that," he revealed, "you
know, for me that was because it was something I previously
just made fun of."
But playing the troubled TK's life coach means while he does
get to spend quality time with Mehcad Brooks who plays TK,
he doesn't have all that much interaction with other characters.
So we wanted to know who he would have liked to share a few
more scenes with.
"I really - you know, Callie and I have known each other
for a while from New York so, I mean, I definitely wanted
to - I would have loved to interact with her more," Jones
began, "as well as, you know, Marc Blucas' character.
I like the characters on the show. And it was - I certainly
was (focusing) more on TK and Nico and, you know, Callie and
I a little bit of running into each other but for the most
part, our interaction is (relegated) through TK. I would have
loved to have gotten through the differences in our philosophies
and the differences in our approaches to working with athletes.
That would have been interesting. I would love to do that."
Jones had plenty more to share about his career, his role
on the show, and the show itself! Be sure to check out all
that he revealed below!
Now, what type of research did you do for Laz? To get into
the head of a life coach?
It's funny you should ask that. I actually dated a girl
many moons ago whose best friend was a life coach and I actually
called her just because at the time that I was dating her,
she was just the girl I was going out with crazy friend and
all of a sudden I was interested which I think threw her for
And I just kind of wanted to understand what the training
background was for being a life coach, you know, with like
a weekend seminar type thing and what it was. And also (to
know) what kind of credentials they had and what most of her
clients had been. So that was sort of my first call.
And my second call was to a couple of my buddies who were
professional athletes. I just wanted to see what their therapy
life was like for a lot of the problems they go through, you
know, adjustment to family or, you know, things going on with
the team and so on and so forth.
So that kind of was the - that was the gist to the research
but I got wildly different answers from the professional side,
more like the (unintelligible) than I did from the side where,
you know, girl in California who professes to be a life coach.
And can you talk about working opposite Mehcad Brooks
and what that was like?
Mehcad is awesome. I think we are convinced that we were
separated at birth. Obviously, he got more of the hormones
than I did. So he's a little bigger than me which is usually
unusual because, you know, actors are often like, you know,
midgets. So it was kind of funny that the onset was, you know,
I'm 6'1" and I think he is like 6' 2" or 6' 3".
So Mehcad Brooks is I think wildly talented and a really
fantastic actor but most importantly to me, I just think his
ethic about working and sort of wanting to do everything he
can to have all the elements there when you're doing the scene
are really incredible. I love the guy. I really look forward
to working with him again.
Getting back to the research you did for Laz, I just want
to know, since you grew up around professional sports, what
was your first impression of the character? Like, did he remind
you of anybody you knew?
Yes. I mean, he did. You know, it actually feels like, you
know, a lot of times assistant coaches, you know, fulfill
that role because they're the ones often that meet the family
and sort of know the dynamic of the player before the player
comes in to the system.
So it's interesting, you know, how much of that and how
much, you know, the guys who do what Laz does (appear) and
what their perspective is. You know, because they all have
this sort of very plenty perspective which is, you know, "I'm
going to go out there and hustle and I'm going to make you
some money. And I'm going to make you do the right advice,"
and so on and so forth.
But, you know, it's really like, "You know, as long
as you can put money in my pocket, I'm willing to help you.
And if you can't, I'm not." But they don't see it like
they're being sort of, you know, bloodsuckers. They really
see it more like somebody who's going to fulfill this role
no matter what and they are sort of doing you a service by
virtue of the fact that they put a lot of money in your pocket
in the process.
So, you know, it's interesting to me that professional sports
has this on - (in its face), but it's rarely talked about.
So it was kind of exciting to me that somebody was delving
into that area and talking about sort of, you know, what happens
sort of, you know, off the field as work. So I think, you
know, that's most of it.
And we understand you're doing a two-episode arch. Would
you relish the opportunity to be a reoccurring kind of arch-nemesis
of Dr. Dani and/or Nico?
Yes, I mean, I love the show. I think it could be a lot of
fun to see where that goes. I mean, I (therefore) think it
really changes that - the dynamic because, you know, Dr. Dani's
approach is so - you know, it's clinical, it's factual, it's
based on something. So I think anything that gives her something
to play off of is wonderful as Callie is I think is great.
So that comes (about and) be amazing. Had a great time in
the show and, you know, it'd be fun to go back.