For two seasons of HBO’s sharp reality-show satire The Comeback, Mickey Deane — played by Robert Michael Morris — has endured the plights of humiliation right alongside Valerie herself … all in the name of friendship. From Season 1’s cupcake fiasco to Val’s tasteless improv riffs after his cancer diagnosis during the second installment, the manny-pack-wearing Mickey’s seen it all as has “Red,” as he affectionately calls her. She once walked in on him in bed, sprawled out, naked.
As the entire 21-episode series (so far) hits DVD, the Kentucky-born Morris phoned to chat with our Chris Azzopardi about how that emotional finale was “all in Lisa’s eyes,” his former career as an English teacher and why he decided to bare his butt during the show. And no, he doesn’t do hair.
Dallas Voice: I just watched the season 2 finale for probably the 15th time. I can’t shake it. Those last few minutes are some of the most brilliant minutes in television history. What was the vibe of the cast during the finale shoot? Robert Michael Morris: Well, I was away for most of it. The hospital scene — they were shooting other stuff, but I was just waiting in the hospital bed, so for me it was very easy. Just lie there! We didn’t wrap that last scene until 4:20 that morning, so it was quite late in the day. I keep using the word “honest,” and that’s the thing I always appreciated about the show. It seemed to me to always be so honest, and the relationship between Lisa and I really crystallized in that last moment.
That’s true. By the end of the second season, Valerie realized what really mattered. Oh, she always realized it. It’s like you can’t walk away from a sick child, and when Mickey, who had always been with her forever — 25 years longer than her marriage — seeing him on his way out became the priority for her. I have got to get to him. I have got to get to him. When she gets there and finds out it was the medication and he’s just a frightened mess in the bed — and she’s comforting him for a change — it really revealed the depth of their relationship. A lot of times we skate on the surface, and it’s only when the rubber hits the road that you can plumb the depths of what it is.
Nothing has been confirmed regarding a third season of the show. And seeing it took nearly 10 years for a second season, it could be that long before we see a third. Did the uncertainty of the show’s future make shooting this past season emotional? Oh, I don’t think that played into it — it certainly didn’t play into it for me. You hear actors say a lot of times they have to be in the moment, and if you’re playing something for effect, it rings false. HBO has always loved the show and they were incredibly supportive of this show. Well, the current HBO people. I think the first HBO person, whomever he was, didn’t get it. It was also, at that time, the only show that HBO had where there was a female lead. They were all male leads. And [the show] is about the business, which for them was uncomfortable.