When Woody Harrelson joined the Cheers cast, the show was already three seasons in and wildly successful. Harrelson himself, however, had never watched a single episode of the show. Instead, he was enjoying a fruitful, busy career on stage.
The world over, however, would come to know his name through Cheers. Know his name, indeed, as Woody Harrelson became Woody (Woodrow) Tiberius Boyd on the famous sitcom. The character would catapult Harrelson to stardom after 200 episodes between 1985 and 1993, beginning with his Season 4 introduction by way of the classic episode: “Birth, Death, Love and Rice.”
As for his transition from theatre to television, Harrelson spoke detailed how it all worked out in a 2012 interview with Howard Stern. And as it turns out, Woody says it “wasn’t hard at all!”
“That was a great gig on Cheers, huh?” Howard Stern asks one of the show’s most enduring actors.
“Ah, the best!” Harrelson answers without hesitation. “All of those guys are so fun.”
When Stern asks Woody if it was “hard memorizing all those lines,” however, Harrelson is even quicker to laugh.
“Why do you laugh at me when I say that?” the host grits. “I find that to be the hardest thing in the world!”
“I was a supporting role on a 30-minute sitcom,” the actor grins. “I had a week to memorize them. It wasn’t hard at all!”
‘Cheers’ Put Woody Harrelson’s Thespian Muscles to Good Use
In all fairness, though, Stern’s question is – well – a fair one. For non-actors, the task of memorizing an entire work’s worth of lines can seem incredibly daunting. For Harrelson, however, his work on Cheers came after more than a decade’s worth of theatre work and training.
“You develop that muscle,” he says of his thespian days. “I started [acting] as a senior in high school, and I was really good with memorization, especially… I still am with memorizing lines! And as a matter of fact, I memorized Zoo Story on a Sunday afternoon,” Harrelson recalls of his early stage acting. “And there’s some epic monologues in that!”
“I’m admiring of that, really,” Stern lauds. As you should, sir! The Cheers star clearly has a gift, one that has surely come in handy as Woody Harrelson remains one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood to this day.
Woody Harrelson tells Howard he almost went to Broadway instead of taking the role of Woody Boyd on “Cheers” in his 2012 Stern Show interview.The Howard Stern Show