On Making People Laugh, And Hot Dogs

SheKnows sat down with Christoph Sanders to discuss Last Man Standing, how it is to work with some Hollywood greats and to discover a few of his favorite things.

Christoph Sanders is a young actor who first became familiar to American audiences in his role as Ned Banks on Ghost Whisperer, and currently stars in Last Man Standing as Kyle Alexander, with Tim Allen and Nancy Travis.

SheKnows had a chance to sit down with Sanders to discuss the popular sitcom's continued success.

What's it like to work with comedic legend Tim Allen? Sanders says, "He is the best. I mean he's been doing it forever and he also... he's nurturing in the sense that he likes to work through the scripts with everybody. He's not, like, you know, doing his own thing and then off, you know? We'll sit down and work through scenes and, so it's like a... Kinda like a master class in the sitcom world."

The star spotlight on Tim Allen >>

Since the show is in its third season, they're coming into their own as far as understanding their characters, but with 16 writers there are a lot of voices. The cast receives their scripts on Tuesday nights, does a table read on Wednesday and then they rehearse for three days before filming in front of a live audience.

Q&A

Want to get to know Christoph Sanders? SheKnows has you covered!

Actress he would like to work with: Penélope Cruz

Favorite food: Hot dogs

On wanting fame: Not really, he'd prefer to be a working actor who can continue to go to the grocery story

An actor to model his career after: Michael Rapport, to do what he loves but have a life

His favorite place: Either Rio or Ireland, but Israel was unique

If he wasn't already taken, Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift: Miley Cyrus

Dream role: A Wes Anderson type of film, dark comedy and intense
Supernatural: He'd love to get out of the human realm and play something otherworldly

Three facts you don't know about Sanders? Ahhh. We're not going to tell. You'll just have to watch the video to find out. You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?

Sanders would love to see his character "be the best at something," because most of the time he's "kind of the punching bag, the bottom of the totem pole." Sanders pitched that three characters on the show get into a drinking contest and Kyle turns out to be a "lead stomach," and while he didn't mention if they had taken him up on the offer, it would be fun to see him stone-cold sober in front of a drunken Tim Allen.

Sanders had no fears about performing in front of a live audience. "I grew up doing theater, so I... love the live audience. I mean, we only get one night shooting in front of the live audience because we rehearse the whole thing and then we pre-tape the entire episode on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, and then Tuesday night we get a live audience, and they come in for between two and a half to three and a half hours and we just, we do the show from start to finish like a play. And I think we have maybe 300 people in the audience, or something like that... it's great. I love it, because all the stuff that generally you see on TV is the takes that we've done in front of the live audience, takes that we've done because the energy is better and we use all the real live laughter and the reactions, and stuff like that."

If the audience doesn't react to the script as well as expected, they'll do rewrites on the spot to get the desired effect. What used to take the cast five hours to tape in front of live audience now takes them about three hours to film.

Duck Dynasty visits the world of Last Man Standing >>

Learning comedy from some of the best has been a great experience for Sanders, and he's decided that for a day-in, day-out kind of job like he has now, he'd choose comedy versus drama, "because you get to go in, and every day you're laughing... you're still having fun and trying to make everyone else laugh. That's the goal by the end of the day, to make everyone else laugh."

Since he was also on Ghost Whisperer, we had to ask: What's the scoop on Jennifer Love Hewitt? Sanders didn't hesitate with his reply. "She was wonderful. She's beautiful inside and out. I mean... she ran a show that everyone loved to work on. It was amazing. ...I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to, kind of, go there from the beginning. Like, I... moved out here and within the first year I was able to start working on that show, and they asked me to come back as a series regular. I had two and a half years of getting to work on that as a... first thing out of the gate when I moved out here. It was great. Talking about how Last Man Standing is like a master class in comedy, Ghost Whisperer was kind of a master class in that style of dramatic TV."

A look back at Christoph Sanders' character Ned in Ghost Whisperer >>

Be sure to catch Christoph Sanders in Last Man Standing Friday nights on ABC at 8/7c.

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