Henry Winkler has another role of a lifetime on HBO’s ‘Barry’

Henry Winkler of HBO’s “Barry” discusses the legacy of the Fonz and what the character has given him over the years.

If you’re watching HBO’s first-year comedy “Barry,” then you know that one of the year’s greatest pleasures has been Henry Winkler’s turn as self-styled master acting teacher Gene Cousineau.

A classic narcissist, Gene really cares about his students’ … “ability to pay on time and in cash,” Winkler tells The Times in a video interview, displaying the same perfect comic timing seen on the show. The way Gene homes in on these novices’ acting insecurities in order to “build them up” is kind of terrible, but Winkler performs the role in such a good-natured, over-the-top manner that it’s impossible not to love the guy.

Plus, Gene’s romance with Det. Moss (Paula Newsome), an officer investigating murders possibly perpetrated by Bill Hader’s hitman title character is wonderful and, like just about every other element of the series, completely unexpected.

“I think underneath all of his baloney … he is smitten by this woman,” Winkler says, adding that Gene makes a great eggs Benedict with a sauce that, “if it’s eaten at the moment, is unbelievable.” Winkler adds he can’t compare to Gene’s skills in the kitchen, though he does go on to share the secret to “really fluffy” scrambled eggs (a splash of heavy cream) that we’ll be trying out the next time we remember to buy eggs.

“Barry” concludes its first season run on Sunday, and Winkler says he has no idea where the show’s co-creators, Hader and Alec Berg, are going to take it next.


“I’ve had a wonderful career and have done many different things,” Winkler says, “and then ‘Barry’ comes into your life. When I read that script … you gasp. It’s like reading cashmere instead of a cotton blend.”

Speaking of fabrics, Winkler also talks about leather (Fonzie’s jacket) and a host of other things (acting advice, embracing the Fonz) in the interview, which you can watch in full below. Aaaaaay!

Henry Winkler says he didn’t realize just how coveted his role on “Barry” really was until he started telling others about it. He talks about working with Bill Hader on the HBO series and more.

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Twitter: @glennwhipp