Spotlight on: Modern Family
In a comedy landscape dominated by shows like The Office and 30 Rock, plenty of critics thought family sitcoms might no longer have a place on television. "Not only is it a family show, but it really wears its heart on its sleeve," Burrell says. "I was worried, in a sitcom world that is so driven by a sort of ironic detachment, that people wouldn't think it was cool enough. Kind of like that kid in school that is too sweet and gets picked on."
But Burrell needn't worry, the show took off running. In its first season, it's already been nominated for a Best Comedy Golden Globe and the cast was nominated for the Best Ensemble Screen Actor's Guild award. "As a group, we're so thrilled to be nominated for the SAG in particular because I think from the beginning we felt like it was a true ensemble show, and that's not very common," Burrell says. "Most shows are built around one or two people and then there are a lot of great parts supporting them, but we took note early on how evenly this was spread out."
Not surprisingly, Burrell says he's having the time of his life. "Comedy is why I got into acting in the first place. It's my first love. I ended up, just by way of making a living, doing lots of classical theater and film and playing a lot of bad guys along the way to pay the bills, but I've always dreamed that maybe I could get back to comedy. Definitely the sitcoms I've been on [Back to You, Out of Practice] have given me that," he says. "I think what's new to me is having people actually watch this one."