British-Salvadoran Actor Ed Weeks on His Reaction to Trump’s “Shithole” Country Comment

Courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Co.

Best known for his role as Dr. Jeremy Reed opposite Mindy Kaling on The Mindy Project, a comedy series that wrapped its sixth and final season last November, Salvadoran-British actor Ed Weeks hopes he has found another long-term home on TV with his newest sitcom LA to Vegas.

The FOX series follows the lives of the passengers and crew of Jackpot Airlines, a discount airline that makes roundtrip flights every weekend from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The motley crew includes a clueless stripper (Olivia Macklin), an overly friendly Russian bookie (Peter Stormare), and two rival pilots (Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney). On the show, Weeks plays Colin, a charming British economics professor from UCLA who makes regular trips to Las Vegas to see his young son.

In the very funny pilot episode (no pun intended), the crew is enamored with Colin’s British accent and mysterious air. Although he has been taking the same flight for eight months, no one has ever talked to him, only wondering if he is a secret agent like James Bond. Mid-flight, frustrated flight attendant Ronnie (Kim Matula) quits her job and spends the rest of the trip drinking and flirting with Colin before finding out he has a wife. Later, Ronnie decides she still might be interested in him when she learns that he is actually separated.

In Episode 2, Ronnie stands up Colin on their date and Captain Dave (McDermott) reveals that his “personal heroes” are “Latinos because they’ve been through so mucho.” In Episode 3, Colin hits a snag planning for his son’s birthday party and ends up having it at a Vegas strip club with balloon animals made out of condoms.

So far, the absurdity of LA to Vegas works well when the characters exist in their own world – on the airplane or even in the airport, and less when they are grounded in other locations. Let’s hope as the first season continues, viewers get to see a majority of scenes from inside a plane 40,000 feet off the runway and a cast of eccentric characters trading sharp witticisms during the 75-minute flight.

During an interview with Remezcla last week, Weeks talked about starring in a new show after six seasons on The Mindy Project, what he loves about being Latino, and what he thought when President Trump referred to his family’s native El Salvador as a “shithole”country.

New episodes of LA to Vegas air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

On What Drew Him to His Character on LA to Vegas

[Colin is] sort of the odd one out in this crew of misfits. He’s kind of tweedy and shy. We’re not quite sure why this guy is flying to Vegas on this budget airline every weekend. You get why the stripper and bookie go, but why does this smart British guy go? I love that we’re starting to piece together his secret life. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there’s possibly a secret family there that he’s having to deal with. It’s been a fun, mysterious character to play.

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On His Real-Life Experiences Visiting Las Vegas

I went a few years ago. When I first [booked] The Mindy Project, me and a friend went to celebrate. I have to say, I thought it was going to be more like Ocean’s 11 and it was not quite that way. So, it was definitely eye-opening. But my crazy party days are somewhat behind me.

“I feel like we’ve entered a brutalized age of political discourse.”

On LA to Vegas Co-Stars Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney and the Long-Running Joke About Their Names

I was well aware of the joke that’s been going on for a few years. I sort of think they look quite different from each other. I spoke to them about it and this is actually the first time they’ve done a project together. They never really even talked before at events. LA to Vegas is the thing that finally brought them together. I have to say, that’s so funny and brilliant. The chemistry they have on the show is so hilarious. The macho competitiveness that goes on between their characters is so pitch perfect.

On Having Mindy Project Withdrawals Now That the Show Has Ended

I bloody miss those guys. It’s tricky because they were my family for six years. We did almost 120 episodes together. We still see each other from time to time. We text, “Miss you” and “Happy Christmas,” but everyone is busy doing their own thing. The whole gang has disbursed and is staying continually busy as I knew they would be. It was such a talented group of people that Mindy brought together. I’m still trying to convince Mindy to get us all back together and do a special or a movie. I think we’re all going to be badgering her for the rest of time.

On the Episode of The Mindy Project Where His Character Speaks Some Questionable Spanish

[laughs] Oh, dear! You know, I have to say that I didn’t realize I was making it sound so bad. I guess that’s just the way I speak Spanish! My mother brought me up bilingual and she did her best, but then I started going to the traditional English boarding school and my bilingualness was somewhat kicked out of me. Now, my Spanish is very utilitarian. It’s not great, but I can get by. Whenever I get back to El Salvador, after a week or so of being mercilessly teased by my cousins, some of the old Spanish comes back. I think I have it deeply dormant in my brain. But it’s like riding a bike – it’s always there.

“I have a prevailing faith in the goodness of people.”

On What He Embraces Most About His Latino Heritage

It’s sounds strange, but I love not being fully British. I love having something that is so opposite to my Englishness — that delicious Latinoness, for lack of a better word. I love the family vibe of El Salvador and the warmth that it brings. There are so many people there that I love dearly. I grew up there when I was a toddler. Those are some of my first and happiest memories – being with my cousins and on the beach and eating pupusas. I’m proud to be English, of course, but I also love that there’s another side of the coin. Living in L.A., I feel much closer to Latino culture. It felt like the other side of the world when I lived in England. Now, I get to go back and see my family with more frequency. It lifts my spirit and is something that feels more emotional to me in comparison to my English side, which is more careful, cerebral, obsessive, and stuffy.

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On President Trump Recently Calling El Salvador a “Shithole” Country

I have to say, nothing really surprises me these days. I feel like we’ve entered a brutalized age of political discourse. It makes me a little sad and depressed to be honest. But I have a prevailing faith in the goodness of people. I feel that we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. We can choose to be led down the path that we want to be led down. I still believe the majority of people are decent and don’t feel that way and know they are very privileged to be born in a rich, powerful place like the U.S. That means you should be more generous, understanding and empathetic and not be reductive. Most people I know have compassion. That’s the human trait I hold onto that is going to get us through these dark times.

On His Inspiration Working to Be a Comedy Sitcom Writer

The older I get, the more mistakes I make and the more ashamed and foolish I feel in different social situations. That’s where my comedy comes from. I feel that the laughs come from the pain. The longer you live, the more pain you have and the more opportunity you have to turn that pain into laughter. What else can we do at the end of the day? We have to laugh at this big cosmic world we’re all a part of.