First-time nom: Brad Garrett

'Raymond' co-star just happy to be away from Fridays

When Brad Garrett says it was a great career move going from Fridays to Mondays, he’s not kidding.

Yeah, he could be referring to how his CBS comedy series “Everybody Loves Raymond” finally found a solid audience Mondays after languishing later in the workweek, but in reality, the move has allowed the actor to deliver lines rather than fries.

Garrett — who just received his first Emmy nom for his work as Ray Romano’s older brother, Robert Barone — was a waiter for two years at a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant in Woodland Hills, Calif., while working his way up the comedy ranks.

“I felt so bad for the people that I served,” says Garrett, who just traveled to Italy to film the first two episodes of “Raymond’s” upcoming fifth season. “If they didn’t hear my routine, they wouldn’t get their salad.”

Garrett felt like an odd man out last year, when the entire cast was nominated except him. Romano and showrunner Phil Rosenthal gave their comrade plenty of good-natured ribbing, including a presentation by “The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker to make him feel appreciated.

“It was just so perfect for my character,” Garrett says. “I just didn’t want to see Bob again this year.”

So what was his reaction July 20 when he made the cut?

“I’m just waiting for the recount,” he admits. “I’m incredibly floored. When I got my ballot, I had already picked seven people before even getting to my name.”

Competition in the supporting actor (comedy) category is steep, with Garrett sharing the stage with “Raymond” co-star Peter Boyle, Sean Hayes from “Will & Grace,” Peter MacNicol from “Ally McBeal” and “Frasier’s” David Hyde Pierce, who has won the award three times.

At 6 foot 8 inches, Garrett has made quite an impression on “Raymond” and though there might be a bit of concern that he may becoming typecast, it’s not an issue for the outgoing thesp.

“It means you’re working and you’re doing a character that people are going to remember,” says the comedian who was once banned from “The Tonight Show” for telling a joke that he was asked not to use. “Between my size and my voice, I’m not exactly going to blend in. It’s a lot better than working at Friday’s.”

For Garrett, on both the Emmy and restaurant front, the waiting is over.

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