Justin Kirk on the Monkey Business Behind “Animal Practice”

'Weeds' supporting player scrubs up for sitcom stardom.

Things are getting hairy for Justin Kirk. Actually, make that furry.

After eight seasons as the freewheeling, slacker brother-in-law Andy on “Weeds,” Kirk takes center stage in his own NBC sitcom “Animal Practice,” playing the flashy, arrogant but secretly soft-hearted veterinarian Dr. George Goodwin.

On getting competitive with scene-stealing co-star Crystal the monkey (“The Hangover 2”):

Believe me, in the beginning, I won't lie, there was some jealousy, a little competitiveness – and that was just from her. I think we both think we're the star of the show, but I had a breakthrough recently, and this is quite honest: she's my best friend and I think she only serves me and I her. That's this job. That's part of something that I'm looking forward to: actually acting with her.

On playing someone new after eight seasons of “Weeds”:

It was a very strong, specific character that I knew I would know how to act, and it was also 180 degrees from Andy Botwin, and so that was exciting, also. Andy Botwin takes life at full speed and loves him everything around him. This guy is maybe not as emotionally generous. He has a smaller emotional range, I think, but maybe that'll come out in interesting ways.

On comedy on broadcast TV versus cable:

We don't get to swear or show boobs, but I've done a lot of that in my career, and so I'm looking forward to the [broadcast limits]. Hopefully that won't restrict us. 'Parks and Recreation' is, I think, the best sitcom on TV right now, so funny is funny and quality is quality.

On animal ownership:

I don't have any animals at home because if you're doing a TV show or if you're doing movies or plays, you've got to leave for long periods of time and I don't want to stick my dog in the kennel. I grew up with dogs, a big dog that looked like Old Yeller, and I had a three-legged dog. I grew up in a very rural area when I was a kid, so we found her after having her leg caught in a trap. Not “rescue”-rescue – we lived in the middle of nowhere, so that was a real rescue.
On shadowing a real vet:

One of my closest friends in New York is an exclusive cat veterinarian, and so I've spent some time with him, and I'm going to continue to do the same while I'm in L.A., yes. I think that's probably important.

On comedic role models – and future guest stars:

For me it all goes back to 'SCTV.' That's my childhood inspiration. The great thing about 'SCTV' was true performers. All of them were geniuses and they were all starting out. Eugene Levy. Joe Flaherty. Andrea Martin. Catherine O'Hara. Dave Thomas. Rick Moranis. Martin Short. I mean, every one of them are my heroes and I'm hoping that some of them come and join us.

On the end of “Weeds”:

I could never put into words how much it's meant to me, and all of us. It's just been great. I think that's the reason why it went on so long is that they had the courage to reinvent it every couple of years – because who wants to see the same show in Season Eight that it was in Season one?


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