It’s a few days ahead of the premiere of his new comedy “Bent,” and AccessHollywood.com’s newest Rising Star — David Walton — is feeling a little nervous.
His nerves have nothing to do with the material on the show, which - under the direction of executive producer Tad Quill (“Scrubs,” “Samantha Who?” “Perfect Couples”) — is bright and funny. Nor do those butterflies surround his co-stars, like the gorgeous Amanda Peet, who has great timing as Alex, the slightly insecure mom and lawyer, who hires surfer/ladies man/recovering gambling addict/contractor Pete (David), to renovate her house.
Sitting in the third floor offices of Access Hollywood, the early 30s actor is feeling pangs about exposing — for the world to see — his torso - which occurs exactly 5.6 seconds into the pilot of his show, “Bent,” premiering this Wednesday night (March 21) at 9/8c on NBC.
“Part of me wants millions of people to watch the show, but part of me doesn’t, because I don’t want to have everyone see my naked body,” he tells AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman, half-joking.
“It’s a hard thing to balance,” he adds with a serious, but dry delivery that produces a spontaneous chuckle from the additional parties in our interview room.
Witty scripts, a strong cast and the extremely palpable on-camera chemistry between Amanda and David, elevate “Bent” from simply a funny show, to delightful territory, as does his own innate comedic charisma.
To hear the Boston-bred actor tell it, things started when he was barely out of training pants and in the pulpit.
“My family took me to church when I was like 4 years old, and I had to be in a pageant, and I was playing Jesus,” he explained. “And I had to like, load all these fish… They were [directing] me, [explaining], ‘It’s very hard to load the fish in.’ I think this was some lesson Jesus was going to teach and so I started closing my eyes.
“I really got into it,” David continues, recreating the moment by lowering his head and squeezing his face so hard his cheekbones nearly reach his eyebrows. “The whole congregation started laughing and that’s really it. And I had no idea why they were laughing and that’s how I do comedy. I have no idea why people laugh at me, but…”
He might not be able to peg where the funny comes from, but David certainly picked up something while growing up as the last boy in a household full of four blossoming sisters, who outfitted their middle sibling in dresses, extravagant hats and a lot of “weird things.”
“I grew up around a lot of feminine energy,” he quipped. “We’ve had some long sessions with my therapist about it.”
Performing came easy, but telling his dad — a businessman — that acting was the ultimate goal, proved to be a harder sell.
“We started speaking like five years later. Things are good now,” he deadpans again, setting off another wave of giggles. “I think he has no idea [how this all works]. He still doesn’t even know what a pilot is… It’s kind of sweet though. He just gets excited. I have to be like, ‘Hey dad, here’s the billboard of ‘Bent,’ he’s like ‘Oh! So you’re an actor. That’s great. Good for you.’ I kind of like it though. He’s a very sweet man and he’s supportive.”
Viewers looking for a comedy about single people still trying to figure it out and sloppily looking for their “one,” and families, who come together - not via DNA - but through time and shared experiences, are likely to find themselves supportive too, by tuning in.
Most supportive of all in David’s life, has been his wife of exactly one year last weekend — “Roswell’s” Majandra Delfino - who is swollen with pride — and with pregnancy.
“Life’s about to change,” he said of his first child, due in early June. “But honestly, I have seven nieces and nephews already, so I’m like, ‘Mom! Dad! Majndra’s pregnant. It’s so exciting.’ They’re like, ‘That’s great son. So, what are you up to? When are you coming home?’” he laughs. “They’re so used to it.”
As an actress, Majandra is used to seeing her husband get cozy with someone else. He famously snuggled up alongside Stanley Tucci in “Burlesque,” and as Amanda’s character, Alex, hires David’s Pete to create her dream kitchen in “Bent,” a flirtation ensues — albeit one filled with fun-stopping obstacles.
“She has a boyfriend, played by Matt Letscher, and he’s like a rock star doctor, heart surgeon. He’s totally a kind, great guy, but for some reason, you’re rooting for the pot-smoking, womanizing, contractor surfer dude. I don’t know why, that’s the genius of the writing,” David laughed.
“It works,” he added, of the sparks between Pete and Alex. “I love Jim and Pam at ‘The Office.’ That lasted years, and then ‘Cheers’, Sam and Diane. Listen, there are so many ways that you can go with this. And everyone just loves the dance.”
Catch David in the season premiere of “Bent,” Wednesday night at 9/8c on NBC.