It could shock you to listen to that Tony Danza sings the theme track for his new Netflix collection, The Good Cop, which co-stars Josh Groban.
It shocked Danza, too.
But the actor has a idea about how he received roped into it: In addition to enjoying Big Tony — a disgraced former NYPD cop whose son, TJ (Groban), is now essentially the most by-the-book detective in Brooklyn — Danza is a producer on the hour-long comedy, which premieres Sept. 21. And he thought it was his behind-the-scenes function that led showrunner Andy Breckman (creator of Monk) to nonchalantly ask him to come back to the recording session the day earlier than it was scheduled.
“So I stand up within the morning and clearly don't do something that I usually would do if I used to be gonna sing. I get to this place, and he goes, ‘Listen to this track,’ and he performed a melody on the piano for me. And then he goes, ‘Here, look, I wrote these phrases. … Okay, let’s do it,’” Danza says. “I'm going, ‘What are you speaking about?’ Nobody mentioned to me, ‘We need you to sing.’ I'd have mentioned, ‘By the way in which, we've Josh Groban! What are you speaking about?’”
The proven fact that Danza has a touring cabaret present, Standards & Stories, in all probability didn’t harm both. Danza put down the observe that day within the studio, however he insisted on getting one other crack at it later with the band he works with for his reside present.
Get your first hear of the theme track in our debut of the collection’ opening credit sequence, above. Below, Danza tells Billboard about working with Groban, introducing his mom to Frank Sinatra, and that point he needed to tap-dance proper after Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. on nationwide TV.
When did you first know you and Josh Groban would have such good chemistry?
Well, I had been solid, and Andy referred to as me up and says, "Listen, Josh Groban needs to do the present." I'm going, “Josh Groban? Does he act? I don't know.” Andy despatched me some stuff, and I don’t know if he’s Laurence Olivier, however he actually commits. He's very earnest. I’m with Andy -- if I signal on with you, I'm with you. I need to do each syllable of the phrases, and I need to help his imaginative and prescient. I name up my good friend, who’s an enormous TV producer, and I'm going, “What do you concentrate on Josh Groban?” He goes, “Tony, it's both impressed or a f---ing catastrophe." [Laughs]
Two weeks into the present, I wrote Josh an electronic mail. I mentioned, "Josh, I need to let you know how impressed I'm along with your work and your work ethic. I don't presume to be the best choose, however I'm telling you, I'm having a good time working with you.” Josh turned out to be essentially the most common man. And he's a little bit of a clown, he likes to do jokes, and he performs the piano. It's actually sort of sickening after some time. [Laughs]
Your character is darkish and humorous. It looks like an incredible function to have presently in your profession.
I haven't had this a lot enjoyable performing since Who’s the Boss?, the reality of the matter is. I'm telling you, I'm finding out strains, engaged on my script, and I'd name Andy and say, "Andy, thanks for these strains. I can't wait to say them tomorrow." Plus Netflix offers you plenty of help, so the units, the areas -- all the pieces was firstclass. I simply felt like a present. What a present. This 12 months is the 40th anniversary of Taxi, so for me to be in a brand new present 40 years later is fairly good.
The Good Cop shot in New York. What had been followers’ responses to seeing you guys on the road?
Mostly they'd be like, [whispers] "Is Josh Groban right here?" [Laughs] And I'd completely give him up instantly. "Yeah, he's proper over there." We're an enormous operation. We land in Long Island City, and we take over this complete intersection. For some purpose, there's this large building web site. And I used to be pondering, "Who picked this location with large again hoes, dump vans, guys standing round doing nothing?" I assumed they had been working for town. So I stroll over to speak to them, and it seems they had been environment, they had been extras. It was like, what a jerk I'm.
You talked about it’s been 40 years since Taxi premiered. Is there a brand new problem this present offered that possibly you hadn’t skilled earlier than?
I feel one of many issues I received to do right here was not get in my very own means. Somebody as soon as advised me there’s a guide Zen within the Art of Archery, and in it [the author Eugen Herrigel] mentioned there's two selfs: There's the self that does it, and the self that claims, "How did I look?" [Laughs] And so what occurs is, as you become older and higher and simply extra skilled at performing, you're capable of not get in your individual means. And it might not work -- a few of the decisions could possibly be loopy once you’re not in your individual means -- however I used to be completely by no means in my very own means on this present, and that's why I feel it was a lot enjoyable to do.
Without spoiling an excessive amount of, there’s an episode by which we get to see you sing. Bob Saget visitor stars in it. How would you tease that specific hour?
Andy writes these nice mysteries, and I like the names of the episodes: "Who is the Ugly German Lady?" "Who Killed the Guy on the Ski Lift?" And this one was, "Did the TV Star Do It?" Saget performs a late-night host like Jimmy Fallon, Johnny Carson. And in fact, Josh is after him to nail him for the homicide, and I simply need to be on his present. So to be able to smoke-screen Josh, he makes me a part of the present. I turn out to be the announcer, I'm dancing, I'm singing -- neglect about it, you recognize. But it's all an try to muddy the waters so he doesn't get caught. And Josh goes, "Great." I'm irritating to him at instances.
That’s a pleasant segue to Standards & Stories. Which a part of the present do you stay up for most every time you get on stage?
The factor that the majority excites me is singing the songs. I'm so in love with the American songbook. Don't get me unsuitable, I'm not presuming to be like anyone else, however there's part of me as I'm going up there that’s like, "Let's go be Frank Sinatra." And so for that 75 minutes, as I'm singing and dancing and enjoying my ukulele… I inform this story: [Songwriter] Sammy Cahn ended up turning into a extremely good good friend of mine, and he took me beneath his wing and launched me to everyone in previous Hollywood and gave me a bit of little bit of legitimacy. I used to take a seat subsequent to him on the piano and sing with him at his home at dinner events. And his affect was great. I lot of instances I feel it's the phrases. Some of Sammy’s phrases had been, “This is my first affair, so please be form/ Handle my coronary heart with care, please be form/ This is all so grand, my desires are on parade” — wait a minute. Come on. [Laughs] Just the picture of your desires being on parade, I get that. So I get a thrill out of that.
And there are a myriad of tales -- my mom and her love for this type of music and her affect on me. The one factor that kills me about doing this act, that simply breaks my coronary heart, is that she didn't see it. She died younger, so she noticed a few of my profession, however she didn't see plenty of it. And she didn’t see any of this, and it’s the one factor that I do know she can be most pleased with. They introduced me again in New York 3 times with this act, might you consider? That's remarkable. The act was killin’, in order that they stored bringing me again.
I’ve seen a teaser for the act, and in it, you point out that anytime your mom felt you had been getting an enormous head, she’d let you know that you simply’d be a star once you launched her to Frank Sinatra. Did that second occur when he guested on Who’s the Boss?
It was one of many best issues I did in my complete total life. You gotta keep in mind, she was a bobbysoxer. She’d be on the Paramount Hotel in her socks yelling with the opposite women, “Frankie!” So she was completely dedicated to him. This is a narrative I inform within the present: When I used to be a child, she'd make me clear the home together with her on Saturday mornings. She wouldn't let me exit and play. And when she wasn't saying, “Don’t floor clear,” she was making me hearken to Frank Sinatra information. And each now and again, she'd cease me and say, "Stop, wait, wait, wait, hearken to the way in which he sings this half." And I'd sit there and hear, however I'd watch her. And she can be so moved. And you recognize once you're 9 years previous and also you see your mom act like that, it freaks you out.
So that is what occurred: We shot Who’s the Boss? on a Friday evening, however Sinatra was simply within the tag. They referred to as and mentioned he couldn't be there Friday evening however he’d come Saturday, so we reconvened on Saturday. I flew my mom in, and my daughter was a pair years previous possibly -- she's 31 now -- so she was there. We get a name from the gate, “He’s right here! He’s right here!” When you stroll into the constructing, should you made an instantaneous proper flip, you went into my dressing room. You needed to stroll down the corridor and make a left flip, and there was make-up.
The minute he got here in, he was going proper to make-up, however instantly he made the appropriate flip into my room. And my mom was sitting there. [Laughs] And she was consuming a cup of espresso. I’ll always remember this: She had a Styrofoam cup of espresso, and he walked in. She hadn't heard the cellphone name. So Frank Sinatra simply appeared. She. Was. Catatonic. She couldn’t transfer. He tried to speak to her. And I'm not kidding you, she simply sat there, two arms holding the Styrofoam cup. And then Sinatra noticed the newborn, and he picked up the newborn, and he mentioned, "Is this your granddaughter?" And nothing. NOTH-ING. He says, "Okay, I'm gonna go to make-up." He walks out of the room, and he or she lets out a shriek and throws the espresso up within the air. I by no means inform that story. My punchline is it’s the one time in my mom’s complete total life when she was unable to talk. Because that's what it was.
Speaking of the Rat Pack, I noticed a clip on YouTube of you tap-dancing to “The Candy Man” on the 1990 TV particular celebrating Sammy Davis Jr.’s 60th anniversary in present enterprise. You not solely received to carry out for Sammy, however you then received to introduce Dean Martin. What do you keep in mind about that evening?
One of the craziest nights of my life. I'll let you know what I keep in mind. So George Schlatter produced that particular. He says, “I need you to be on the present.” Sammy was an expensive good friend of mine. I received to know all these guys, I used to be actually fortunate. They had been nonetheless runnin’ round, and I received to hang around with them. It was fantastic. I’m gonna dance “The Candy Man,” so I practiced and practiced. I'm nervous past perception. This is once I was getting in my very own means. [Laughs] I didn’t assume I used to be any good at this: I used to be tap-dancing, however I used to be an actor; I wasn't a performer.
So we're within the Shrine Auditorium, and everyone who's anyone is there. You sit within the viewers till they name you onstage to do your quantity. All of a sudden, the manufacturing assistant comes over and says, "You're on after this subsequent quantity." I mentioned, "Okay, good, I'll be prepared." Just then, they introduce Gregory Hines. No, wait! Before they launched him, the crew guys begin bringing out what appears like some sort of platform. It seems to be a particular ground for tap-dancing that he had used within the film Tap. They're bringing out a ground, and I'm like, "I ponder who's up subsequent." They introduce Gregory Hines, and what does he do — Gregory brings up Sammy. And they begin to tap-dance.
The manufacturing assistant comes again and says, "Okay, come on." I'm going, "I can't be on after these guys! You can't make me dance after these guys, are you loopy? I can't do it!"
"You gotta go. You gotta go."
I inform the man, “I’ll be proper with you.” I mentioned to my spouse, "I would like a line! What might I say? What do I do?" And I did like three or 4 strains together with her, and every one she went, “Nah, no good. No good.” And my spouse is a bit like my agent in that once you inform them a joke, they don't chortle, they are saying, "Oh, that's humorous."
I mentioned to her, “How about this?” She says, "I feel that's humorous." So I'm going up, and I used to be so freaked out after watching them dance. They're virtuoso past something I might even aspire to. So I say, "I like Sammy, and I actually wished to do that, after which Gregory Hines and you bought up and danced, and now I'm not so positive I actually wanna do that anymore." I mentioned, “Ah, what the hell. I'm a white man." [Laughs] It was a predominantly African-American viewers. And then the crowning second is to introduce the good Dean Martin, who was additionally one other good friend of mine. Dean was possibly the sweetest man ever. Dean, Sammy — sweethearts. They would do something for you. Go out of their means.