‘Last Man Standing’ Star Jonathan Adams Talks the Show’s Return on FOX (Interview)
Last Man Standing has officially made its triumphant return to television! The series was canceled in 2017 after six successful seasons on the air. Much to the delight of fans, this fall the beloved show returned on FOX for a seventh season run.
The series stars Tim Allen as Mike Baxter, a married father of three girls, who tries to maintain his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women. In addition to Allen, the series also stars Nancy Travis (Vanessa Baxter), Amanda Fuller (Kristin Baxter), Christoph Sanders (Kyle Anderson), Molly McCook (Mandy Baxter-Anderson), Jordan Masterson (Ryan Vogelson), Jonathan Adams (Chuck Larabee), Jet Jurgensmeyer (Boyd Baxter), and Hector Elizondo (Ed Alzate).
We recently had a chance to chat with Jonathan Adams who plays Mike Baxter’s neighbor and cohort Chuck Larabee. Adams spoke about the surprising cancellation, the series’ return, Chuck’s special relationship with Mike and more!
Denise Caputo: First and foremost, congratulations on Last Man Standing returning to television! It always was a popular show, and the cancellation really came as a surprise to viewers. Were you surprised by the cancellation?
Jonathan Adams: We were shocked. I was absolutely shocked. Really. The horrible thing about these things is that you kind of learn about them via social media first. Even before I got the call from the producers that we were canceled or anybody else that we were canceled, it was all over Twitter. Then, you have to go back and double check, and then double check again, and then you get a call from the producers and know it really has happened. The same thing happened a couple of years ago with the show’s pickup. It was the same way. I learned on social media first that Last Man Standing got picked up for season six. I was like, “what?” I didn’t even know that! But I was shocked hearing about the cancellation. I was terribly shocked.
DC: Social media can be a powerful and dangerous tool, but now you’re back on a new network. What was it like coming back to that after the cancellation? What were your reactions and thoughts when you finally heard that Last Man Standing would be coming back?
JA: At first, I didn’t believe it. We got the call that they may be bringing Last Man Standing back. Then, we’re going through all the negotiations, and the whole time I’m saying to myself, “mmhmm, I’ll wait until we have a table read.” Then there are interviews and cast photos and all kinds of stuff, and I was still thinking, “wait until it gets on the air.” Then it was on the air, and it was great! I never believed it until it actually happened.
DC: So, do you finally believe it now?
JA: You know, strangely enough, I kind of do. (laughs) Yeah, I really kind of do believe.
DC: Does it feel any different now coming back for this season and on a new network?
JA: Here’s the strange part about this season – there’s really nothing strange about coming back. I walked into that table read, and everyone was like, “hey Jonathan!” It was just like nothing happened. It’s just like the beginning of the next season; only we had a year and a half rather than a year off between seasons. It was just really smooth. It was so unusual that it wasn’t unusual. It was really incredible.
DC: That’s great! I think that really speaks to the connection that the cast has with each other.
JA: Oh, definitely. The connection that the cast had and the fact that we have like 90% of the same crew too – 90% of the same writers, the same showrunner, most of the same camera people and everybody behind the scenes. It’s all almost all the same people, which is great!
DC: The whole band’s back together. That’s awesome! So, you play Chuck on the series opposite Tim Allen’s Mike Baxter. The relationship between these two characters is pretty unique. The two characters are described as frienemies. In the most recent episode, I did particularly love in when Mike, even if it was part of a prank or not, was forced kind of to admit that there’s a friendship there. Can you talk a little bit about the relationship between Chuck and Mike this season and then your relationship with Tim Allen in general on the show?
JA: Yeah. Wasn’t Mike sweet? He’s such a sweetie. (laughs) It’s hard to make friends when you get older. Guys, especially older men my age, have a tendency not to want to label stuff. It gets weird for dudes to say, “oh yeah you know, you’re my friend. I love you, man.” We really have a tough time doing that. We’re just strange. I really wish we were different, I really do, but that’s what we’re trying to portray in the show. I think they are really good friends, but they would try their best not to admit that to themselves or anyone else. That’s just where it stands. It’s just weird dude stuff.
As for Tim, I love Tim! He’s funny. He’s interesting. He’s disruptive, but it’s also always for the betterment of the show, which I totally respect. I have a really, really great relationship with Tim.
DC: That’s great! In this most recent episode, Jay Leno returned to reprise his guest role. I adore Jay Leno, and I have to ask, what was it like working with him? How fun was it doing those prank scenes with him?
JA: I met Jay Leno last year or the year before when he was first on the show. He’s a super sweet guy. When I first met him, he asked me all these questions, and within about a 15-minute conversation, he knew everything about me. He’s just a very very sweet guy, and that person who’s really interested in other people, who was on the Tonight Show that you saw, that’s the same guy. He really is interested in other people.
DC: That’s awesome. The show has been always super popular. It’s always done well with ratings, and fans are really excited to see these characters back on their screens finally. Without giving any spoilers, what are you most excited for viewers to see from you and the cast this season?
JA: To me, the show has always been about family and the relationships that people have within that family. It’s never been to me about conservatism or anything like that. What I like about the show is that it has the point of view that family is important. And stuff like that. It doesn’t hide the fact that these people are church-going middle American people, and that’s really what has me really excited.
I know that doesn’t sound that super exciting, but to me it’s exciting. We get to see the relationships within this family and them dealing with the same things that your family is dealing with every day, but with better writers.
DC: In addition to your on-screen accomplishments, you also have an impressive background in voiceover work. Do you prefer working in front of a camera versus voiceover work? What have been some of the highlight voiceover projects that you’ve worked on that you’ve loved?
JA: I don’t have any preference whatsoever between doing voice and on-camera. I meet a lot of on-camera actors who don’t understand voiceover, and I meet a lot of voiceover actors who don’t understand on camera. To me, there’s really no difference. I come from a theater background. I was a theater actor for 10-15 years. Regional theater, like all over the country. To me, it’s all about what you accentuate in your work, as opposed to changing, being a completely different kind of work, depending on the medium. I find it really easy to move from one to the other,
One of my favorite things voiceover roles that I did was a video game, of all things, called Diablo 3. I was an archangel of justice who comes to earth and becomes human. It was such a great arc to do. I also play a lot of bad guys. I’ve had the opportunity to be several DC and Marvel bad guys from Darkseid to Atrocitus to Kang the Conqueror, which is also a thing I was into as a kid. I collected a lot of comic books as a kid and used to read them constantly, so getting a chance to play some of these characters I grew up reading about, it’s perfect for me. I love it.
DC: That leads perfectly into my next question. Here at Fan Fest News, we celebrate all the things that we love and that our readers love as fans, whether it’s music, film, television, books, and so on. Right now, in today’s pop culture world, what are some things that you love as a fan?
JA: Okay, I’ve already established I’m a geek with the comic books. I’m really liking the Daredevil series. I haven’t finished the third season yet on Netflix, but I really like it. I like the darkness of it and the contemplative nature of it. I really dig that. I also love the Jessica Jones series on Netflix as well.
There’s a series of books that Patrick Rothfuss won’t finish called The Name of the Wind or it’s also called The Kingkiller Chronicles. I’m so waiting for the third book in his series. Like please, please Patrick! Write the damn book because I really need to read Doors of Stone. I think I’ve re-read the other two books at least twice already, just because I want to be fresh when I get into Doors of Stone. Man, finish that book, please!
As for movies? I really like Crazy Rich Asians. That was really good. In regards to romantic comedies, I really thought that was up there with Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral. You know, those really excellent 90s romcoms. I just thought, wow they brought it back. They managed to make a really good romcom because I hadn’t seen one in a long time. I think they’re really hard to do, and there’s a formula to them that you have to follow so that can get kind of old quickly, but they did it so well. If you follow the formula the right way, and you do all the right stuff, it’s there. It jerks a tear, so I liked that.
DC: Great! I have one more question for you. Is there anything you’d like to stay to the fans of Last Man Standing?
JA: To the fans of Last Man Standing, thank you! Thank you so much! I feel like it was FOX wanting to bring back the show, but it was your tenacity that helped bring this show back. You did not give up, and I love that about these fans, so sincerely, thank you!
Thank you, Jonathan Adams, for speaking with us here at Fan Fest News! You can catch Jonathan in Last Man Standing every Friday at 8 PM EST on FOX.
Are you excited that Last Man Standing is back on television? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.