By: Allison Ebner
no point in denying the love we have for USA Network's
fan favorite series, Psych. Between the wit,
the writing and the cast, every single episode reestablishes
why it makes our list of best series of all time. While
the lead roles are undeniably great, there are some true
gems in the form of recurring characters. One of which is
the slightly creepy, but ever-loveable Woody, the Coroner.
Now, there are many reasons to love and cherish the screen
time that Woody receives, with one of the biggest being
the actor behind the role: Kurt Fuller. He's a name
and face we all should know and love and I recently had
the chance to catch up with him and chat about the unforgettable
character of Woody, his love for the show, what else Kurt
is up to, his take on pop culture and we may have even laid
the groundwork for a get-Kurt-Fuller-on-Twitter campaign.
Kurt is a man of many talents with a career that spans
decades and genres, but Woody is a role unlike anything
he's ever played (and, we'd venture to say, probably unlike
anything any actor has ever played!). Of course, if you
know anything about Kurt, you'll probably know that means
Woody must not be a bad guy then, because Kurt broke out
thanks to his ability to play the not-so-great, antagonistic,
slightly shady characters we all kind of love to hate.
"What happens is, I started out playing sort of a
corporate bad guy in Ghostbusters II years ago, 25
years ago, and the first thing you do that's memorable,
people just try to keep hiring you to do that because they
know you can do that," Kurt explained of his typecasting
"And so because that was the first impression I made,
it followed me for 25 years! I mean, I could list the odd
nicer guy I've played, but Woody, even as this season goes
on, you find out more and more about Woody. He really is
an odd duck," he laughed. "He's a little sort
of cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Hugh Hefner."
Accurate, Kurt, accurate.
He went on to talk about Woody, "[He's] a really nice
guy and he just- he works for the dead but he loves those
guys and everyone else who works at the Santa Barbara Police
Department. He just wants to, sort of, fit in and if it
were up to Woody, he'd go out on every case. It was like
in Ghostbusters, Rick Moranis wanted to be
a Ghostbuster... I think Woody really wants to be a detective.
He'd be out there solving crimes with them; he'd go on every
case if he could. So it's very exciting for him when they
come down to the morgue and he is, at his core, a very sweet
It's not just exciting for Woody, but for fans alike to
see the show venture to the morgue where we get to see Woody
in his element. So while we may not see Woody in every episode
and Kurt may not be a series regular, to which he says "better
to leave people wanting more than to leave them wanting
you to go away," he still remains in the constant Psych
"Because I'm not signed on as a regular, it's very
weird," he began, "because I have a family, so
I have to work as much as I can. And I do other jobs and
apparently in the Psych writers' room they have my
schedule on the wall, I found out," Kurt laughed. "And
they sort of know, I guess my agents keep them apprised
of what I'm doing, and then they try and fit me in."
"And every time they call, I get very excited,"
he elaborated, "because, I have to say, yes, I like
what I'm doing with Woody, but it's written incredibly well.
They write for me, they've figured out Woody's voice. I
hate to use these little actor terms. They really figured
out what makes Woody tick and every scene they write for
him is a little gem. It's unlike anything I've ever done,
where I read it and instead of going 'Oh, God, what am I
going to do with this?' I get excited, because there's so
much possibility, even with the small scenes. It's amazing
how talented they are, I have to say."
But Woody isn't just limited to the morgue or a few minute-long
scenes. As many fans will fondly recall, there was just
the hugely successful episode "Late Night Gus"
from this season where Woody went out on the case with
Shawn, Gus and Lassie, forming their own boys club, if you
So how was the experience of getting out of the morgue
for Woody and Kurt? "Well, first of all, all those
people, Tim [Omundson] and James [Roday] and
Maggie [Lawson] and Corbin [Bernsen] and
Dule [Hill], they're all friends of mine," Kurt
explained. "We just love hanging out together. There
are some good shows where I am sure they don't have that
much fun working, because that's just the way it goes -
like any business. But these people are genuinely friends
and great people, so to spend a whole week was, for me,
just like a dream come true. And it made me wish that I
could do it more, I have to say. Because they're just fantastic!"
"And to actually be part of the case and trying to
solve the case and feeling like I was part of the team,
it was sort of like art imitating life a little bit because
it's sort of how I felt," Kurt continued. "I've
always been such a fan of the show and when James called
me and asked me to do this a few years ago, it was just
going to be one episode, and I said, 'Sure, I'd love to!'
and it turned into this and the more I do it, just like
Woody. The more he goes out with them, the more he wants
to do it. I'm telling you right now, Woody wants a badge
How badly? Well, Kurt has a theory as to how badly Woody
would love a badge. "I have a feeling Woody actually
has a uniform in his closet that he tries on every once
in a while," he laughed. "I would love to do that!
That would be a good little scene, wouldn't it? You just
see him posing in his Santa Barbara Police uniform."
Clearly the answer is yes. And we hope he passed along
the idea to the writers who are in the process of brainstorming
the episodes we'll be getting next season. Fingers crossed
we'll get another episode with that Shawn-Gus-Lassie-Woody
dream team, again, too!
But this season is far from over and Kurt promises that
there are "some UNforgettable moments coming up,"
including a big storyline in the March 28th episode,
"Autopsy Turvy" where Kurt told me that "an
old love affair in Woody's life pops up."
Kurt assured me that it's "very juicy" and the
love affair is "not Lassiter." But hey, "with
Woody, you never know!" But that certainly doesn't
mean Woody isn't capable of love!
In fact, it's what Kurt would most like to see explored
with Woody next season. "Woody, we know, has a troubled
marriage and I would like Woody to have a relationship,"
"He's down there with corpses all day. Can't he have
a little love in his life?" he reasoned. "Yeah,
I'd like Woody to fall in love. He'd probably fall in love
with whoever turned out to be the killer that week, but
for those 45 minutes it would be great."
We know it would be! After all, when don't the actors and
writers for Psych impress us? But how does Kurt feel
about Woody and his actions when he first reads a new script?
Well, as excited as we imagine we'd be!
"Sometimes I go, 'Are they going to let me say that?'
because, boy, you know, Woody's relationship to the dead
is... it's very interesting," Kurt talked about reading
the scripts. "And this is a comedy, so when you're
dealing with dead people you have to remember you're in
a comedy. But, I laugh! I just laugh and when I read [it]."
"You know, I'm a huge fan of wit and these shows are
very witty and very - the back and forth between Shawn and
Gus and Lassiter and Juliet, everybody! It's so well written,
but I have to say, I think Woody gets some of the funniest
lines in the show," Kurt revealed.
"Because, in Psych, the way it works is James
is funny, [while] everyone else is pretty serious. They
play it pretty straight and James is the wisecracker. And
Woody is allowed to be funny sometimes where other characters
usually play it straight and I think that is sort of what
helps him stand out, that they allow Woody to actually have
a sense of humor. It's a very odd sense of humor, but they
actually allow him to be funny," Kurt explained Woody
in a way we'd never thought of before.
"And I think that's another reason it stands out because
like Lassie plays it very straight, Juliet is very straight,
and Corbin, the Chief, they're all... the humor is their
reaction to how odd James and Dule are. So everybody gets
to react to how Woody is, so that just helps make Woody
funny," he concluded.
But both Kurt and James also have a good deal of input
into how funny Woody turns out thanks to their skills of
"They let me do whatever I want, I have to say. They
let me do whatever I want and then, if it's wrong they stop
me. But most of the great improvs have come from James.
James will throw lines out and he's just brilliant. He's
just brilliant! And right just off the cuff, while we're
working he'll say 'say this,' 'say that,' 'say this,' and
I'll do it and, you know, he's an amazingly talented dude
and a lot of Woody's humor has come from him. I'm like a
trained monkey when he's around," Kurt laughed amidst
So, clearly it sounds like the Psych set is the
perfect atmosphere for a cast and crew to put forward such
a creative series. But Kurt pulled the curtain back even
further and talked about the "well-oiled machine"
that is the show and what it's like on set.
"Actors don't really get tired because they're sort
of pampered, but they do get bored!" Kurt laughed.
"So, I would never call acting hard work but sometimes
you wait hours and hours and hours and it's amazing..."
Kurt went on to describe how the cast goes from acting to
non-acting on a moment's notice even on the long days.
"Like, James and Dule are huge sports nuts! Huge!
Oh my God! Dule watches every game and he's always got a
game on because people are often watching the game, talking
sports and goofing off and laughing and stuffing food in
their mouths until the second they say action and then...
boom! They're into it! And the second they say 'cut,' it's
over and they're back to what they were doing." Kurt
"It's just amazing. They all know their characters
so well that it's sort of like you can't tell the difference
when the acting starts and the non-acting is happening because
it's just... I mean, it's so comfortable," he acknowledged.
"And we all sort of hang out in each other's trailers
and talk and laugh and goof off. It's not like a big party,
because it's a lot of work, but it's as pleasant an environment
as you can possibly imagine."