‘Conners’ star John Goodman reflects on career post-‘Roseanne,’ says much of his success is just ‘dumb luck’

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The Conners” cast is gearing up to air a live episode of the show on Tuesday, one that focuses on the New Hampshire primary.

The episode will see the family come together as one of the show’s characters is required to watch the political primary for a school assignment, setting the stage for the rest of the Conners clan to debate the topic of voting.

Series co-star John Goodman spoke with reporters in a roundtable-style interview last month at the Television Critics Association winter press tour at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. Fox News and others grilled Goodman on everything from the cancellation of “Roseanne,” retirement and whether or not he believes he’s garnered “legend status” at 67 years old.

‘THE CONNERS’ RENEWED FOR SECOND SEASON

‘The Conners’ stars Maya Lynne Robinson as Geena Williams-Conner, Jayden Rey as Mary, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner, Ames McNamara as Mark, and Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner. (Robert Trachtenberg/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Simply put, Goodman didn’t hold back in reflecting on his storied life and career, and when asked how “comfortable” the show is since debuting as a “Roseanne” spinoff, Goodman said he’s having a blast.

“It is [comfortable] and it’s in the best way because we’re all still working real hard,” said Goodman. “It doesn’t seem like that because it’s so much fun. But I don’t see anybody slacking off. Yeah, we all put into it but it makes it so much better when you’ve got comfortable work shoes on.”

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Goodman was a fixture in the 2018 reboot of “Roseanne,” which brought together the original cast of the family comedy, which ran from 1988 to 1997. It wasn’t until Roseanne Barr was fired from ABC after she made a racially charged tweet — aimed at former Obama administration senior adviser Valerie Jarrett — that the future of the reboot was up in the air.

Goodman said during this time, he didn’t wait and his phone immediately began ringing with offers from other creators vying to work with him.

“When we went off the air, about two days later, I got offered an HBO show, which I took,” he explained. “So there’s no off-time. I go from this to the ‘Righteous Gemstones.’”

“It makes me feel real lucky and real grateful,” he said to Fox News. “That’s about all I can say because ‘Righteous Gemstones’ came at the right time and it was just dumb luck.”

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When asked about the time he is required to devote to each of his projects, Goodman said he welcomes the busy agenda, adding that he was sure he only had to shoot 10 “Roseanne” episodes a year, so landing a role in the Danny McBride creation was icing on the cake.

“Right now, yeah. Because both jobs are fun. I don’t have a lot of downtime,” he said. “See, I was going to start slowing down about now. I thought we’d only do eight or 10 [episodes of] ‘Roseanne’ a year. And I do eight ‘Righteous Gemstones,’ eight or nine. But, yeah I didn’t know ‘Righteous Gemstones’ was gonna come up. And then when I took it, I got the other job back.”

John Goodman is seen before and after his 100-lbs. weight loss.

John Goodman is seen before and after his 100-lbs. weight loss.
(Reuters/AP)

The other job Goodman “got back” was his role of Dan Conner, who is putting the pieces of his life back together following the death of wife Roseanne. “The Conners” premiered in 2018.

“He’s a professional football player again,” Goodman said, referencing the pounds his character has shed since the original series went off the air. “Well, he’s lost right now and he doesn’t have time to wallow in it because he’s trying to keep his family fed. So it’s yeah, it’s a big loss for him.”

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Fox News asked Goodman how he keeps himself mentally sharp to juggle his filming schedules, and the “Big Lebowski” star said he absolutely has to keep working otherwise he’s “no good.”

“[I have to] work. Work. I can’t – I’ve learned that right now – and I’ve come a long way with mental health; if I’m not busy, I’m no good and that’s a problem because I’m going to have to find a hobby one of these days,” he lamented. “Golf is pretty much out of the question, but I’ll keep trying it.”

John Goodman in 'The Artist.'

John Goodman in ‘The Artist.’

Asked by another outlet which of his past characters he would like to revisit, Goodman said there were many, adding that he believes if he hadn’t been drinking so heavily at the time of many of these roles, he certainly would have dialed them in better.

“So many of them. That’s why I can’t watch a lot of my old movies,” he stated. “But yeah, there’s guys I wish I would have come in at a different angle or there would have been a much better performance. I wish I would have worked a little harder on some of them – and quite frankly, I wish I hadn’t been drinking during a lot of it.”

“If I’m not busy, I’m no good and that’s a problem.”

— John Goodman on his performance workload

When it comes to the advice he might give to his younger self, Goodman told Fox News: “Keep your mouth shut and your ears open and try to learn things. Yeah, be gracious with everybody because that goes a long way to making your day easier.”

As for if there was anything else he wished to have accomplished in his nearly 50-year career as a stage, television and film performer, Goodman maintained that in his view, he’s done much of everything he’s set out to do when he began his journey as an actor in 1975.

“No, I’m not a very ambitious fellow. I don’t know. I’m lazy,” he joked. “It seems like all the time opportunities come up and it’s something I haven’t done before. So I just don’t pine for anything or yearn for anything. There’s a couple things I’d like to do before I hang it up. But the way things are going, it just might come around by itself. So I just try to concentrate on today.”

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The Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy winner issued stout praise for co-star Estelle Parsons, who continues to be at the top of her game as Beverly Harris on “The Conners” at 92 years old.

“She’s jaw-dropping good. She’s amazing and I’m just stunned watching her because she’s brilliant,” he raved. “She’s a walking acting lesson and she’s so god—n funny.”

John Goodman appears as Coach Harris in 'Revenge of the Nerds' in 1984.

John Goodman appears as Coach Harris in ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ in 1984.
(Revenge of the Nerds)

Goodman said if he’s lucky to make it to Parson’s age, he thinks he’d “probably have to work” unless he finds “something cool to do.” “I’m not going to make it that far. But Estelle really took care of herself; I didn’t,” he said.

And on if he ever thinks about retirement?

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“Yeah, I did a couple years ago. I was bored a lot,” said Goodman. “This could be a retirement job. Yeah. It’s just everything’s so great right now and terrific that I’ll worry about it when the time comes.”

Goodman took one more wisecrack with reporters when he was asked, given the wide praise he receives from his peers and those who watch his performances, “Do you see yourself as a legend?”

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“No, I don’t think a lot of people are calling me a legend,” he said. “Liars.”

The live episode of “The Conners” airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.



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