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November 24, 2014

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Brad Garrett’s new sitcom follows ‘Modern Family’ as he stretches out to The Arts District

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Bryan Steffy

Jason Alexander makes a surprise appearance at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in MGM Grand on Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

Brad Garrett's Comedy Club

Brad Garrett's Comedy Club VIP Grand Opening at MGM Grand on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

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When Brad Garrett talks of hitting an “unbelievable stride,” it is good to pay attention -- and not only because he stands 6-foot-8.

Garrett is in a groove right now. His Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club is coming off a series of near-capacity shows last week, which coincided with appearances by Garrett himself and a strong lineup of Drew Thomas and Kathy Buckley. Garrett has a deep appreciation for some of the great musicians and singers in town and brought in one of them -- Mark Giovi -- for quick sets on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

But Garrett’s real news is off the stage in the comedy enclave he calls “the basement” of the MGM Grand, which is the hotel’s Underground retail and entertainment corridor (Garrett jokes that his club sits next to a pretzel stand, a venue positioning that is very real). His new ABC sitcom “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life” debuts April 3. Garrett has been raving about cast member Sarah Chalke, late of “Scrubs” who plays Polly, the daughter of Max, the character portrayed by Garrett.

“Sarah is one of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with,” Garrett said last week, “and that means everybody. She is brilliant.”

In what might be a classic case of blind luck, Garrett’s show’s lead-in is the terrifically funny, Emmy-winning and highly rated “Modern Family.”

How’d that happen?

“I really have no idea,” Garrett says.

Homing in on his club’s first anniversary at MGM Grand in March, Garrett is planning an adventurous series of acting-based workshops at Art Square Theater on 1025 First St. in The Arts District. The cozy theater seats a little less than 100 people and shares space with Artifice Bar & Lounge and Cockroach Productions, among myriad galleries and salons and related boutiques.

This series is set for March 25-31, and its star instructors are Garrett; veteran stage, TV and film actor Adam Hill; comic and voice-over vet Pat Fraley; and improvisation master Jeremy Guskin. Hill’s workshop is set for 3 to 7 p.m. March 25, Garrett’s noon to 4 p.m. March 26 and March 27; Fraley’s 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 28 and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 29; and Guskin’s 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 30 and March 31. For rates and other details, hit Garrett’s official website.

Garrett is excited for that lineup of entertainers-educators. Hill has been a friend of Garrett’s since Garrett, who is 52, was age 18. Hill has performed on TV and film and on and off Broadway for more than five decades and has worked extensively as an acting coach. Fraley has been a prominent voice-over performer and teacher for 40 years. Guskin has a master’s in acting from Carnegie Mellon University and earned a second master’s in acting from the Moscow Art Theater School in Russia.

Expanding his reach to The Arts District is particularly appealing to Garrett.

“We found this great theater in a really cool spot, and we’re taking advantage of it,” he said. “It fills a void and adds something different to The Arts District, which I didn’t know much about until we started pursuing this.”

It would be tempting to say the towering comic is in a class by himself. But, in this project, he can’t be.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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