Of all the indelible characters created in the popular sketch comedy series Crazy TV, few have made such a lasting impression as Stuart. The dimwitted, empty, sometimes spooky little boy was played Michael McDonald, the longest-running cast member of the series. But during Crazy TV Fans can recognize Stuart right away, they might not know McDonald right away — he’s had an active career off the show, but he looks very different without the doughy makeup and bowl-cut wig. Read on to find out what else you may have seen McDonald in and see what he looks like now at 57.
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Not to be confused with the singer of the same name — or a string of professional athletes — camedian and actor Michael McDonald joined the cast Crazy TV for the fourth season in 1998, beginning as a featured player but promoted to full-time mid-season. McDonald’s 10-season run made him the longest-running cast member. During his time on the show, he created a number of recurring characters, including Stuart, but also Rusty Miller, Fightin’ Ron, and Marvin Tikvah, among others.
In a 2010 interview with Media Mikes, McDonald revealed the origin of the Stuart character. “A lot of the characters I’ve worked on MadTVI originally developed on stage at a local improv theater called LA [the] Groundlings,” he revealed. “Stuart, to name just one, was what I like to call little dark windows from the past. The relationship between Stuart and his mother played out so brilliantly Mo Collins, based on the relationship I had with my mother. I often just took things that happened and recorded them in sketches. When I originally gave Mo the script, she read it and said, ‘Michael, that’s really sick,’ and my response was, ‘Well, the year was 1975.'”
While McDonald’s background is in improv, he has also dabbled in screenwriting, with appearances on classic sitcoms such as His field, just shoot me, NewsRadioand scrubs. He served as writer, director and producer of the series Cougar Town.
“I’m so happy to work with such talented and kind people, we have a lot of fun [on Cougar Town]he said in a 2011 interview with LAist. “I couldn’t ask for a better boss [Courteney Cox].”
McDonald also continues to book appearances as a stand-up comedian. In a 2014 interview with The Laugh Button, the funny man explained that his schedule allows him to perform on stage during his TV break. “I like performing – especially with TV there’s a kind of season so you’ve got a good four months off and it kind of fits perfectly. It’s almost like – not a summer job because it’s not respectful to get up, to put it that way. It just works in time and scratches that itch.
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If the now 57-year-old McDonald looks familiar, it might be because of his role in the 2021 horror hit episode Halloween kills. McDonald played the character Little John, who lived with his husband Big John (Scott McArthur) at the childhood home of masked killer Michael Myers. Looks very different than he did Crazy TV Decades earlier, McDonald had some memorable moments, including a heartbreaking death scene. For Bloody Disgusting, Writers Jason Scott called out the positive LGBTQ+ representation in a Halloween film and wrote: “Her death is as brutal as one would expect from a film of its name Halloween killsbut the aftermath is strangely touching.”
Other recent roles for McDonald include spy, The chef, ghostbustersand The Happytime Murdersall with fellow Groundlings alum Melissa McCarthy. McDonald has appeared in episodes of the series Crazy ex girlfriend and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in the latter he also directed 12 episodes. And although you don’t see him on screen, you can hear his voice as Harold McBride The noisy housewhere he and Wayne Brady have spoken, Nickelodeon’s first gay couple since their debut in 2016.
In his interview with LAist, McDonald admitted he’s had heckling on his comedy shows keen to revisit his icon Crazy TV Character. “Often times it’s the fans that just get a little bit out of hand — they’re just really excited to see me, so why would I yell at them?” he said. “You get the people who really want to see me do Stuart.”
The LAist interviewer called McDonald an “amazing success story,” with the comedy star admitting he wasn’t sure before agreeing. “I don’t know, I guess if you showed me all of what I’ve had to go through … because there’s certainly been some tough times, you know?” he said. “But then I think of a lot of the things I’ve done and some of the amazing people I’ve worked with… I say yes!”
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