Mike Kosinski plays the lovable Russell Kerry on TV Land’s Impastor. Loyal to the church (and Buddy) Russel has brought the perfect amount of comedic relief to the show. Check out our interview with Mike below as we discuss his hidden talents, his new puppy and his thoughts on season two.
How excited were you when you heard Impastor was renewed for a second season?
Very excited. I immediately got off the phone with Michael Rosenbaum and Chris Vane the creator of the show and was walking down the street like, “Yeah!” Just wanting to high-five strangers who had no idea of why. (laughs)
I’ve heard awesome things about working on TV Land shows. How has the whole experience been for you on this network?
I think they have been so great. I think they are hands on the right amount. They care about the shows because they are changing their brand right now a little bit. I believe they are very aware of what is going on with each show and want each show to be the best that it can be. All the notes they have given have been spot on and great. They are just friendly people in general. Dana, one of the execs, has a puppy, and I have a new puppy, so they recently went for a play date.
That’s adorable! What kind of puppy do you have?
It is a mix of every single puppy there is in the world. He’s part terrier, part retriever, part mini poodle, part hound, part schnauzer, etc. He’s a mix of so much. We did the DNA test. (laughs)
That’s got to be the most playful, sleepy puppy ever.
At the end of Season 1, Buddy gets into some pretty serious trouble. Can you tease about how Russell will react?
I think Russell is always responding at like a 10. He is somebody that is going to react to everything in a way that fuels the flames more than quells them. (laughs) I think we all were like, “How is he going to get out of this at the end of last season?” We were waiting and waiting for the scripts to come and nobody knew anything. Even when the new season starts, it’s like, okay, we figured out how this continues but already he is in maybe a worse predicament than before.
Is Russell going to stay by Buddy’s side and continue to think the best of him?
Absolutely. I believe that it would be pretty hard to shake Russell at this point.
What is in store for Russell during Season 2? Do we get to learn about him a little more outside of the church?
Yeah, a little bit. We get to see some fun stuff with him. I think Russell is the type of person that always wants to help so much. It’s definitely up for debate whether his help is helpful (laughs). He’s pushing his brand of help on some other characters, helping out with their love lives which is funny because I don’t think his love life is even settled. He feels like he is an authority on everything really, love included. We get to see some fun where he is helping there.
Speaking of love lives, does Russell get a love interest in Season 2?
(laughs) I mean Buddy is his primary love interest for sure. There are explicit feelings for Buddy, but I think Russell is probably getting it on the side somewhere. He’s a freak a little bit. We saw it in Season 1 that he at least knows where to buy a leather harness.
There are lots of good Buddy/Russell scenes this season. Russell is going to continue to see signs of love where they don’t exist. We got to have a lot of fun. I remember one scene where Buddy and Russell… I’ll say this in a way that won’t give anything away. We end up running away from an explosion (laughs). That was really fun to shoot because it was at night and the grass was all wet. We just kept slipping and running into trees.
Do you have something that you are most excited for fans to see this season or learn?
That’s a good question. Well, I do walk on my hands in one episode. And it’s actually me walking on my hands. I’m more proud of that than I should be (laughs). I was so shocked that I could still do it. I was like, “Oh my Gosh. I can do this.”
Did you have to relearn that skill? Or have you always been able to do that?
A little bit. I knew how to do it a long time ago. We met with the writers early one before the season, actually last season before it even started. We met with all the writers and sat down. The said, “Do you have any particular skills?” I was like, “Well, I can play the saxophone, and I can walk on my hands a little bit.”
They already managed to get the saxophone into the first season and so for the second season they were like, “We are going to get a way for you to walk on your hands in there somewhere.” It was a personal challenge for them to find a way for Russell to get to walk on his hands. They achieved their goal this season!
Have you found that the writers are integrating your personality into the role as the show goes on?
I think so! It’s interesting coming back for a second season because everyone has seen the whole first season and knows what it looks like as a whole show. It’s so hard during the first season because you know what you are doing, and you know what it’s like but you haven’t seen the whole thing together. I think now everybody just has a better idea of the tone of the show and each character. I think the writers definitely have found, “We can have Russell do this. We have a much better idea of how that will play out.”
Do you have a favorite moment or scene from Season 1?
Oh my gosh (laughs). Let me think. I loved the entire episode where Russell’s parents come to town. He has told them that he and Buddy are dating, and they have to play that out. Maybe the deodorant moment in that episode. When he rubs deodorant on his tongue was really funny and weird to me.
By the way, it was coconut oil, but they still flavored it to taste like deodorant. I was like, “You guys could have made the flavor anything, and no one would have known the difference.” That episode overall was just so much fun. That was amazing.
You have a comedic background, so is there any improv that makes it onto the show?
My background is mostly in improv and sketch in Chicago. Improv makes in onto the show a little bit here and there. More so I would say in the first season. Now we have to keep tightly to the script because so much happens in each episode. As you know, this season there are so many twists and turns, probably more twists and turns than the first season even which I didn’t think was possible. Just for time sake, it would be hard to improvise much because you have to set up so much. It’s just so tightly scripted. So this season there was not a ton of room for it.
From reading the initial the pilot, has the show gone where you imagined it would?
It’s not exactly where I thought it would go because I could have never guessed the route it would take (laughs). I think what’s funny is even reading every script as we get them, and we don’t know anything about what’s coming, we are like, “How are they going to get them out of this? How are we going …”
It’s fun for us to even see week to week when we get the scripts. We just grab them right away and read them to find out what is happening. To see what is going on. Even in Season 2, there is a big plot twist toward the end of the season. We were in Vancouver all together, and we were all trying to figure out if anybody had any inside info. (laughs)
We would go to Mike (Rosenbaum) and be like, “What do you know? Just tell us. What do you know?” Yeah. I could have never guessed where it was going. I love where it did.
Since our site is called Talk Nerdy With Us, what do you like getting nerdy about?
(laughs) That’s a great question. I love anything to do with space. I watch NOVA shows. I love anything sciency. I was a biology major. I could talk mitochondria with you all day long (laughs). Any of that stuff. I think space is my biggest nerdy feature, though.
Don’t miss the Impastor Season 2 premiere, tomorrow on TV Land at 10:30 pm EST.