Patrick Warburton has a knack for scoring roles that foster pop culture obsession. Back in the 1990s, he played Elaine Benes' boyfriend, David Puddy, on Seinfeld. He went on to star in the short-lived, yet beloved live-action adaptation of The Tick. More recently, you can hear his deep, booming voice as Joe Swanson on Family Guy and professional badass Brock Samson on The Venture Bros. Currently, he plays Jeff Bingham on Rules of Engagement, which airs Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.
Certainly, if you have a television set, you're familiar with Warburton. But what's he like when he isn't slaughtering Henchmen on The Venture Bros. or cracking jokes with the neighbors on Family Guy? Find out after the jump.
4. He has an “inner nerd.”
It's hard to believe that Warburton– all 6 foot, 3 inches, broad shoulders and chiseled features– has what he calls an “inner nerd.”
“I don't think that's people's perception of me now,” he says over the phone while on break from rehearsing Rules of Engagement.
But, the truth is that he was kind of a nerdy kid and that experience is part of the reason why Warburton is the funny guy he is today.
“I weighed 95 pounds my freshman year and had thick, Coke bottle glasses and needed humor to survive, really,” he recalls.
Heavily inspired by Jerry Lewis movies as a child, Warburton describes himself as being “a bit of a goof” back then. But, he has another reason for gravitating towards comedic roles in his career.
“After I saw a couple of really horrible movies I did in the early days, I thought, nobody is going to take me seriously for a while,” he says. “I better not take myself seriously.”
3. He drives the same car as Brock Samson.
One of Warburton's most popular roles is that of Brock Samson, an assassin turned bodyguard/nanny for the titular clan on The Venture Bros. Warburton says he's not like Samson at all. Well, except for one thing.
“We do both drive a '69 Dodge Charger,” he admits. When Warburton says this, he drops his voice, sounding exactly like Samson in one of his many cool dude moments.
Warburton's Charger is a jet black vehicle named Angelina, after Angelina Jolie.
“She's dark and dangerous,” he says of the car.
Warburton says he was more interested in Corvettes and Camaros until one of his sons hipped him to the Charger and found Angelina online.
“Of course, now he thinks he partly owns it,” says Warburton. “I said, 'Listen, it will be yours one day. Don't go wishing for my death, but it will be yours one day.'”
2. He helped Pearl Jam put together a set list for an L.A. concert.
Warburton is a big fan of the music that came out of the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s. For him, though, the band that matters most is Pearl Jam.
“I will always argue that none of the bands have the depth and the breadth and the pathos that Pearl Jam has proven to have,” he says.
To say Warburton is a big Pearl Jam fan is an understatement. He first saw the band back in the early 1990s when he was working on a movie in Oklahoma. Since then, he's seen them play somewhere between 13 and 15 times.
“That's not really that many,” he says. “I have friends who have seen them 150 times.”
Were it not for his responsibilities in L.A., he says, Warburton would volunteer to be a roadie for the band.
“I really would,” he stresses.
About a year-and-a-half ago, Warburton was invited by Eddie Vedder to help put together a set list for Pearl Jam's gig at Gibson Amphitheatre.
“Out of the 32 songs in that set list, 25 or 26 were the ones that I delivered,” he says. That's pretty amazing.
1. He speaks out against bullying.
At the beginning of our conversation, Warburton mentions a storyline on Rules of Engagement involving a lesbian character. This prompts a discussion about bullying and acceptance.
“I think that we as a nation are in dire need of tolerance and acceptance of all those that are different, that people don't seem to understand,” says Warburton.
He adds, “My whole life, I was brought up that being gay is a choice and I see in the world that it's really not.”
Warburton brings up the recent suicides of LGBT youth in the U.S.
“It's the greatest tragedy,” he says. “As a father of four, I see the pain of another parent. I just see pain.”
“It bothers me when there are those out there are that are so self-righteous and pass judgment,” he says. “If we expect kids to not be bullies in school, then the elders in society can't be bullies either. They have to be tolerant and understanding.”