TORONTO — Canadian actor Eric McCormack has been to the Golden Globes plenty of times with his sitcom “Will & Grace” and has a firm handle on the events of the Beverly Hills bash.
But this year he isn’t sure what to expect.
Typically the show is a freewheeling, boozy affair, but Sunday’s event is expected to have a more serious tone, with many guests planning to dress in black as part of a planned protest against sexual harassment and assault.
“Besides the important #MeToo campaign, it’s just a whole country reeling from insanity and how fast and furious it’s come at us,” the Toronto native said in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles.
“This (show) is coming two weeks after they passed this horrific tax bill. We don’t know what’s going to happen with (special counsel Robert) Mueller…. It is a really freakin’ crazy time, and once in a while, an awards show, even one as frothy as the Globes, can have that moment, who knows who it is, where somebody gets up and does something unifying.”
Still, McCormack does expect there will be laughs — most notably at the “Will & Grace” table.
The show has been nominated for a whopping 27 Golden Globes in the past but has never won. McCormack said they’ve taken their losses in stride and have become known as the party table.
This year, “Will & Grace” has two new nods — one for McCormack and one for the series itself.
“The ‘Will & Grace’ table, we’ve always done the same thing — we join together and we kind of wait, and one by one as people lose, we toast them,” McCormack said.
“We cheer when we lose as if we’d won and it throws the room off and cameras don’t know where to point. I remember one year, (William H.) Macy looking over and realizing what we were doing and his table started to do the same thing.”
This is McCormack’s sixth time being nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Will alongside Debra Messing as roommate Grace, Sean Hayes as their neighbour Jack, and Megan Mullally as wealthy friend Karen.
The seminal series returned to TV in September, on Global and NBC, 11 years after it finished its first run.
McCormack isn’t expecting to win but he has prepared a speech, just in case.
“This particular award I’ve been nominated for five other times and never won, so I just keep sort of adapting and cutting and pasting,” he said with a laugh.
“I think the first version of this speech goes, ‘How could Al Gore have lost?’ That’s how far back this goes.”
This is the seventh time “Will & Grace” has been nominated for best television series, comedy or musical, and McCormack expects it would be very sentimental if the show were to “rise from the ashes” and win.
“I think it’s a weirdly right fit for now, and it’s not just a comedic fit or it’s not just about the show being a gay show and us needing to revisit that,” said McCormack, who also stars on the series “Travelers” and is in the new film “Considering Love & Other Magic,” now available on iTunes.
“It’s also just a comfort. We’re not in a war at the moment but it feels like we are. I’m starting to feel like this is what it felt like during wartime. You wake up every day terrified to read what (the president) has tweeted, and nothing feels like it used to feel, even a year ago. It doesn’t feel like the same country.
“You can’t rely on the same things, so to suddenly be able to rely on this old show, on its old time-slot, Thursdays at 9, it feels like time stood still a little bit.”
The Golden Globes air Sunday on CTV.