|Name:||William "Billy" Gardell|
|Born:||August 20, 1969|
|Occupation:||stand-up comedian, actor and voice artist|
Born in Swissvale, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Gardell attended Winter Park High School in Orange County, Florida during the mid-1980s. As a child, he moved to Florida with his mother and his younger brother and sister after his parents divorced and only visited Pennsylvania in the summers. He has said living in Florida was a positive experience. At the age of 15, he started working at a department store warehouse in the receiving area where he would unload trucks and stack pallets. In 1987, he started cleaning bathrooms, seating people and started answering phones at a local comedy club, Bonkerz. On December 28, he started performing at the comedy club's open-mic night after he made a dare with some co-workers. "If I didn't do an open mic night, I couldn't cover the bet. I was running my mouth that I would do it. They bet me I wouldn't", he explained. He eventually started opening for Dennis Miller and George Carlin.
Gardell was a member of International Thespian Society Troupe 850 (which also included Amanda Bearse, also a graduate of Winter Park High School and Ben Rock of The Blair Witch Project).
Gardell is known for his comedic roles and is influenced by Jackie Gleason. He has also listed Richard Pryor, George Carlin, John Candy and John Belushi as his influences. Although Bonkerz helped launched his comedy career, he has credited the support of his grandmother saying, "She told me when I was 8 years old that I could be a comic". Before Mike & Molly, Gardell revealed that he was actually considering a career in radio after being on the road for his comedy act was affecting his family time. He has performed in several feature films including Bad Santa (with Billy Bob Thornton), You, Me and Dupree (with Owen Wilson) and Avenging Angelo (with Sylvester Stallone and Anthony Quinn) as well as appearing numerous times in recurring roles in several U.S. television series including NBC's Heist, The Practice, Yes, Dear, Desperate Housewives, Lucky, My Name is Earl, Monk and The King of Queens. Gardell appeared as himself on the Comedy Central series Make Me Laugh. Subsequently, he appeared on Miller's television program Dennis Miller, telecast on the U.S. financial news network CNBC (conducting man-on-the-street interviews) Notably, he created and staged an SNL-style charity performance of a piece called Winter Park Live, the proceeding from which were donated to Comic Relief.
Gardell continues to make weekly appearances on hometown local radio station, WDVE, appearing on The DVE Morning Show. Gardell also appeared on Chelsea Lately as a roundtable participant. Gardell appeared on a special for Comedy Central Presents in 2007 that aired on April 4, 2008. Gardell also played the host for Pizza Talk, an imaginary TV series in commercials for Round Table Pizza.
In 2006, Gardell's first comedy album, Billy Gardell: Throwback was released.
Since September 2010, Gardell has starred in Mike & Molly, opposite Mellissa McCarthy.
In November 2011, he lent his voice to Santa in Ice Age 2: A Mammoth Christmas.
He new stand-up special Halftime was released in 2011, and aired on Comedy Central. It was filmed in Pittsburgh and profiles working class Americans. As of 2011, he continues to tour as a stand-up comedian in addition to acting. In a 2011, Orlando Sentinal article, Gardell said he wouldn't mind doing movies again.
In 2015, Gardell will host Monopoly Millionaires' Club game show, featuring contestants who bought tickets for the Monopoly Millionaires' Club lottery game; the latter debuts simultaneously in Syndication on March 28, 2015 and on GSN on March 31, 2015.
Gardell has been married to Patty (nee Knight) Gardell since 2001. They have an 11 year old son, William. In a 2011, USA Today article, Gardell said he may retire when his son is a teenager to spend more time with him. His parents still live in Florida and he occasionally visit them. Regarding his weight, Gardell explained that he "always had a little gut" and weighed 350 lbs. at one point. Gardell is allergic to dogs.
Gardell is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, having participated in several Terrible Tower waves with other Steelers fans at Heinz Field. His favorite player growing up was Jack Lambert, with his son linking former Steeler Hines Ward.