Brent is a Filipino-American actor, writer, and comedian and recently has appeared on HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, CBS’ “Living Biblically” and FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”. Additional acting credits include ABC’s “Speechless”, FX’s “Better Things”, and Fox’s “Rosewood”. He has also lent his talents to prestigious festivals such as The San Francisco Sketchfest and The New York Television Festival.
You recently appeared on “Roseanne”. Did you watch Roseanne growing up?
I grew up in the Midwest, and Roseanne was always very popular in that part of the country, so I was definitely a fan of the show. John Goodman’s character, Dan, was just such a cool dad, and Sara Gilbert played sarcasm better than almost anyone. My favorite part of Roseanne was always the Halloween episodes. I’m a huge fan of Andy Kaufman, and they would pull these elaborate, Kaufman-esque pranks during the Halloween episodes. I also loved how true to life Roseanne was. They could have you rolling on the floor one minute and fighting back tears the next.
How did you land the role on the revival of the show?
I talk with my agent and manager regularly, so when the Roseanne revival started happening, it was a show that I had put on my wish list. Luckily, the casting director, Susie Farris, was familiar with my work and had previously helped get me cast on Speechless. Plus, my character, Valente, is a grocery store manager who gets upset because all of his cakes got smashed: that’s me all day! I can’t go to a grocery store without someone thinking that I work there. The better question is, how do we get Valente to come back? He’s got a steady J-O-B, and both of the Conner daughters are single, let’s play matchmaker!
How did you get started in acting?
The first play I ever did in high school was Up the Down Staircase. I played the “bad” student, Joe Ferone, who the schoolteacher tried to save. I remember that my cousin Scott played the Principal, and we had this scene where he would kind of grab me by the collar of my leather jacket and tell me how I was blowing my future. Every show, I had to literally bite the insides of my cheeks to keep myself from laughing. I was actually supposed to make my debut in a holiday play at a church camp when I was 6, but right before the show, I quit without telling anyone. So my mom went to the play, but I wasn’t in it. I thought it was hilarious; my mom did not.
You have appeared on TV shows like “Speechless”, “Silicon Valley” and “Living Biblically”. What has been your favorite role to play so far?
I love to surprise people, and I also love proving people wrong, so roles that allow me to do those things tend to be my favorites. I shot a commercial last year where I played a country singing supreme-court justice; that was pretty great. And I just recently shot a music video where I played a giant donut who is married to an apple; having a stunt scene where I get punched in the face and a bunch of sprinkles fly out of my mouth is about as good as it gets.
What other projects do you have coming up?
In July, I will be appearing on the show Casual on HULU. I’m also in the process of creating more episodes of my web-series, Table for Two. My character, Bill, in Table for Two has an awesome pencil mustache, so I can’t wait to grow that bad boy out again!
You and your wife have adopted special needs cats and dogs over the years. Why has it been important to you to adopt with special needs?
Because they have the hardest time finding a home! We recently adopted a cat with CH, which is the feline version of Cerebral Palsy. This guy was in a litter of 9, and all of his siblings and his mother were adopted before him, partially because people were afraid of his disability. As it turns out, all he really needed was some steps to get up on the bed, because he doesn’t have good enough balance to jump all the way up. And this amazing cat, who has earned the name Dapper Dan, is honestly one of the coolest souls I have ever been around; he just needed the chance to show it. He plays and snuggles with rest of the family, and he is a purring machine! I would encourage everyone to take a chance on someone that will have a harder time getting adopted: special needs, seniors, victims of abuse or neglect. We have found that they can be diamonds in the rough.
For more about Brent check out his personal website.