(CBS Local)– Being on “The Sopranos” was a life-changer for actor Steve Schirripa.
Schirripa joined “The Sopranos” in season two and became a staple of the HBO series as Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri and now he and friend Michael Imperioli are reliving the glory days of one of the greatest TV shows ever with their new podcast “Talking Sopranos.” The actors are re-watching every single episode of the series and providing commentary and stories for the fans to enjoy.
“I started watching the show again for the first time in 20 years,” said Schirripa in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “People seem to like it. We’ve gotten hundreds of thousands of downloads already. We start from the beginning and we tell stories from behind the scenes. It’s like two friends having lunch, talking about work. To get on any show is like hitting the lottery, to get on that one is like hitting the lottery twice.”
One of the most underrated parts of “The Sopranos” is its comedy component and Schirripa says that jumped out at him immediately when he began to re-watch the series.
“It is so funny, laugh out loud funny. Since I’m older now, I understand the Dr. Melfi stuff better,” said Schirripa. “I understand what she’s talking about better. There are subtle lines that are really funny. Episode five is where Tony [Soprano] takes his daughter to visit schools. He sees the snitch and he murders him. That was the first time that the star of the show murders someone. HBO didn’t want to do it. They said if Tony Soprano murders someone, we are going to lose the audience. David Chase said if he doesn’t kill this guy, he’s going to lose the audience. They listened to David and the show took off. That was a real moment that changed things around.”
While Schirripa has worked with many talented actors and directors in his career, he will never forget his time on and off set with the late James Gandolfini.
“He was a very generous guy and was nothing like Tony Soprano,” said Schirripa. “He was like a hippie. He wore bandannas and birkenstocks and he loved music and loved his son and daughter dearly. He was a very generous guy. He gave us all money. One year he gave 16 people a check for $33,000. He was a regular good guy. People think he was Tony Soprano, he was far from that.”
“Talking Sopranos” is available for download wherever podcasts are available.