Jodi Long can currently be seen on Steve Byrne & Rob Long’s “Sullivan & Son”, a new sitcom on TBS, in which she portrays Ok Cha, the Korean mother of Steve Sullivan (Byrne), a successful corporate attorney from New York who brings his girlfriend home for his father’s 60th birthday and learns his parents are preparing to sell the multi-generational family business, a bar known as Sullivan & Son.
It doesn’t take Steve long to realize that where he really belongs is in the old neighborhood and running Sullivan & Son. And so begins Steve’s quest for a more meaningful and rewarding life behind the bar.
Updated 9/4/12: Hollywood Reporter reports TBS Renews ‘Sullivan & Son’ for Second Season
Long is based in L.A., but I caught up with the award winning actor and filmmaker in the Filmmaker’s Lounge at the 35th Asian American International Film Festival, held at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas in New York in early August. Fresh from wrapping her season of shooting on Sullivan & Son, Long was giddy with excitement to talk about the show, her castmates and her new projects in the works.
Lia: What are you doing in New York?
Jodi: We just wrapped “Sullivan & Son” a couple weeks ago and I came into town to do a little movie in Pennsylvania that J.P. Chan has directed, called A Picture of You. It is about a brother and sister who go to close up their mom’s house after she’s passed away. That’s the other reason I’m here, my stepmother passed away right before I started “Sullivan & Son” and I’ve come back to close up her apartment that she lived in with my dad.
Lia: Who do you play on Sullivan & Son?
Jodi: I play Steve Byrne’s mom. Steve Byrne is comedian who wrote it with Rob Long, who comes from Cheers, and it’s executive produced by Vince Vaughn. We have amazing executive producers and writers and we all just laugh a lot. It’s like the best job. We go in and because Steve is half Korean and half Irish, I play his mom. Dan Lauria who was in Lombardi on Broadway, plays my husband, Steve’s father. Christine Ebersole who won a Tony for Grey Gardens plays one of the bar regulars, and Brian Doyle-Murray is in it too. The show takes place in a working class bar. So we have these four old theater actors on one side, and then we have Steve with three of his good friends who are comedians, who play his friends on the show. So you’ll go in and someone will be wearing a green dress, so they’ll do five minutes, each of them on that green dress. It’s hysterical. We make each other laugh all day long, and then we go and make an audience laugh, because it is a sitcom, we do two shows.
Lia: When was the last time you did a sitcom?
Jodi: The last time I did a sitcom was “All-American Girl”, where I played Margaret Cho’s mother. It was 17 years ago, and I’m still playing a Korean mother.
Lia: How did you meet J.P. Chan, the director of A Picture of You.
Jodi: I did not know J.P. before working on the film. Jo Mei brought my name up and my people were contacted. I asked to read the script. Thank God I have television money right now, because I can afford to do these indies. The script, I really liked, because what happens is, as they are going through their mom’s things, they find some compromising things about their mother. It throws them into a dither about who their mother really is. It’s very funny. I also just did another series, shot in New Jersey.
Jodi Long is a veteran of stage, film and television whose regular series work includes co-starring with Valerie Bertinelli in “Cafe American”; playing Margaret Cho’s mother in “All American Girl” and playing Alicia Silverstone’s secretary in “Miss Match”. Long has had recurring parts on “The Cosby Show”, “Michael Hayes”, “Eli Stone” and “Law and Order: LA”. She is also known as Patty, “the power lesbian,” in an episode of “Sex in The City”.
Long’s film work includes Beginnings, with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer; Paul Schrader’s Patty Hearst; Mike Newell’s Sour Sweet; Striking Distance; Rollover; and The Hot Chick.
In 2006, Long’s one-woman play, Surfing DNA, was produced at East West Players in Los Angeles and garnered her an Ovation nomination for Best Solo Performance. She went on to write and co-produce a documentary about her vaudevillian parents, Long Story Short, was directed by Christine Choy. The film played numerous film festivals, including the 2008 Hawaii International Film Festival, and it won the 2008 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Documentary. In 2008, Long Story Short was voted one of the top ten documentaries by UCLA’s Asia Institute. Click here for the official website and here to purchase the film at Amazon.com.
Long made her Broadway debut at age 7 in Nowhere To Go But Up, directed by Sidney Lumet, the first of five Broadway shows in which she would appear. As an adult, she has starred in Loose Ends, with Kevin Kline; The Bacchae, with Irene Papas; Stephen Sondheim’s Getting Away with Murder; and the recent revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, a performance for which she won an Ovation Award at The Mark Taper in Los Angeles.
Numerous off-Broadway productions include Wendy Wasserstein’s Old Money (Lincoln Center), Red and The Wash (Manhattan Theater Club), David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child and Family Devotions (Public Theater); and The Tooth of Crime (LaMama). Long has also performed in the world tour of Phillip Glass and David Henry Hwang’s 90-minute solo piece 1000 Airplanes on The Roof.
Upcoming episodes for “Sullivan & Son” (Check your local listings)
Creepy Love Songs
Thursday, August 23 at 12:00 am
The guys realize an old comic book is valuable and try to sell it to Pittsburgh’s top collector (guest star Billy Gardell). Owen and Carol bring a new act to the bar while Steve and Melanie uncover middle school mysteries.
The Fifth Musketeer
Thursday August 23rd at 10:00 pm, Friday, August 24th at 12:00 am, Monday, August 27th at 01:00 am, Thursday, August 30th at 12:00 am
Steve unexpectedly finds himself juggling dates after Ok Cha sets him up with a fake profile on an online dating site. This sparks the guys to create their own fake profile to lure a highly rated bachelor into the bar to learn his secrets of picking up woman, hoping he will join their group as the fifth Musketeer.
How Carol Got Her Groove Back
Thursday, August 30 at 10:00 pm, Friday, August, 31 at 12:00 am, Monday. September 3 at 12:05 am, Thursday, September 6 at 12:00 am
Carol falls into a funk when she learns she’s going through menopause. In an attempt to convince Carol she’s still attractive, Ahmed crosses a line.
The Prodigal Sister
Thursday, September 6th at 10:00 pm
Steve’s grifter aunt comes into town and shakes things up at the bar. Doug tries to find his mojo. Susan confronts Ok Cha about her criticizing ways.
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
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