LaMonica Garrett admits he played his character Adonis a little over the top in "The Hotwives of Las Vegas," but his role actually may skew closer to the "reality" shown on "The Real Housewives" that the Hulu series parodies.
Garrett joins the "Hotwives" cast in its second season when the hilarious housewives move their drama from Orlando to Sin City. Adonis is a "reformed criminal" who tends to talk himself into trouble, but his lady Phe Phe Reed (Tymberlee Hill) is willing to look past all that.
"She sees the world in him but he really doesn't live up to what she sees in him," Garrett told Headlines & Global News in an exclusive interview. "He's a fast talker and it catches up to him at some point."
Comedian Paul Scheer, executive producer of "Hotwives," offered Garrett the role after the two worked together on the upcoming comedy movie, "Daddy's Home." He only needed to see the cast list, which includes Angela Kinsey ("The Office) and Casey Wilson ("Happy Endings"), to immediately sign on.
"I was like, 'I don't even need to read the script. Just tell me what time to be there. We're going to have some fun,'" the San Francisco native said.
Unfamiliar with the first season of "Hotwives" and the "Real Housewives" franchise, Garrett binge-watched "The Hotwives of Orlando" with his friends and then dug into a couple seasons of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."
"That was outrageous and that's not even scripted. That's just them being them," Garrett said of the Bravo series, which now stars his ex-girlfriend Claudia Jordan. "I'm looking at it like, 'This is a trip.' She's going to laugh when she finds out what I'm doing now."
For those who don't have the patience to sit through a "Real Housewives" episode, Garrett assures viewers that they don't need to see the show to find "The Hotwives of Las Vegas" hilarious. He also compared the women lampooned in "Hotwives" to the women he sees on a daily basis, like at his local yoga studio.
"It's like uncharted territory as far as reality shows go," he said, suggesting the idea of a yoga studio reality series. "Half of these women are in my yoga studio. It's funny drama. It's stuff that you can't write, it just creates itself."
Garrett has managed to avoid the reality circuit himself, racking up a steady list of credits since 2010 in both comedy and drama. His recent work includes guest star spots in popular shows like "Bones," "Rizzoli & Isles," "Veep" and "Mr. Robinson" as well as a recurring role on "Sons of Anarchy." He made the conscious choice early in his acting career to keep all options open when it came to picking roles.
"You don't want to limit yourself. I have buddies that when they first got into acting said, 'No, I'm not doing comedy. I'm a serious actor.' You can do both and now they're regretting that because they've pigeon-holed themselves," Garrett said. "You gotta keep yourself open."
One of his first auditions wasn't even for a comedy or a drama, but rather a new sports series called Slamball in 2002. The former college football player attended the audition for the extreme sport, which combines basketball and trampolines, and made the final cut of 65 players.
The sport started nationally before it headed overseas to Europe, South America and China, where Slamball is still popular. Public Slamball courts in China can be found just as easily as regular basketball courts here in the States, according to Garrett.
He played for nearly six years, but then made the decision to direct all his efforts toward acting.
"I was in and out. I had one foot in Slamball and acting and then in 2008, I came to the point where I just had to focus on acting," Garrett said. "I couldn't play Slamball forever although I'd wanted to. But I put it away and started working more in acting and things went great."
In addition to his many TV credits, Garrett next stars in "Daddy's Home" (premieres Christmas Day) with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as one of Wahlberg's former basketball teammates from Italy. Working with two megastars, the actor feared what many do when they meet their heroes that they wouldn't live up to his expectations. Fortunately for him, Ferrell and Wahlberg didn't let him down.
"Mark is like the coolest dude you could ever meet and Will is a very funny guy. He's also really humble and gracious toward everyone," Garrett said. "You can see why they work well together. The dynamic and energy that they bring to the set. It's a good environment to work on."
Garrett will also star in the upcoming Netflix movie "XOXO" as Chopper, the manager and right hand man to superstar DJ Avilo, played by Ryan Hansen ("Party Down," "Veronica Mars"). The film takes place over one night at the eponymous Portland, Ore. media festival as six strangers lives become intertwined in a series of hopeless romantic entanglements.
Garrett warns though, audiences may not like his and Hansen's characters too much.
"We're not going to be the likable people in this film, me and Ryan. We're not going to be the people you root for but we have good intentions... I've been seen in a better light, let's put it that way," he laughs.
In a project that hits closer to home, Garrett will star in an AFI short film that shines a spotlight on the ever increasing problems of concussions in football. "The Duke" tells the story of J.P. Duke (Garrett) who has suffered multiple concussions but still believes he can make it back to the NFL.
"It's very relevant to all that's going on right now with all the sudden retirees in football. Quitting at 25 just for their health," he said. "I played football with concussions before and it's dangerous... We didn't know it back then and there's more technology and medicine now that can figure out what's a concussion and what's not."
"The Duke" will hit the film festival circuit this fall.
Be sure to catch Garrett on "The Hotwives of Las Vegas" now streaming the first two episodes on Hulu with new episodes premiering on Tuesdays through September. He also returns to "Mr. Robinson" on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 9 p.m.