Will & Grace star Eric McCormack is one of NBC’s biggest stars, so you know what that means: public service announcement duties. The Emmy winner is just one of the many familiar faces regularly appearing on the network’s “The More You Know” public-service campaign. McCormack, 40, talked about doing the good deed and how fatherhood (to 1-year-old son Finnigan, with wife Janet Holden) has changed his life.
You’ve been doing NBC’s public service announcements for a while now. Have they changed much?
Yeah, actually. When the campaign began, I was generally talking more about judgment, about things related to playing a gay character – you know, discrimination and that sort of thing. Now, as a father, one finds oneself definitely more attracted to “read to your children,” “spend time with your family,” “understand the importance of you as a role model with your kids.”
Is it hard to film one of these?
I think the most important thing about these things is that they come across as genuine. I think it can be really off-putting to see some television actor suddenly say, “Hey, don’t smoke.” And then you see a picture of them smoking at the Viper Room.
You did one about reading to children. Does your son enjoy bedtime stories?
I think kids that age love repetition. There are certain things that, every time you get to that page, he’ll point to the same thing and he’ll look up at you and expect you to make that sound.
What sounds are his faves?
His big thing is animal sounds. That and people snoring.
He likes people snoring?
He likes the sound of it. There’s a book called “The Napping House,” which we like to read to him before he goes to nap, and (it) involves an old lady going to sleep and we always make her snoring sound.
Does your son watch Will & Grace?
Oh yeah, (but) I mean, he doesn’t care. He just kind of glances up at it and keeps walking.
Is he watching movies at all?
No, he’s at the point that he’s still watching short little things. He’s watching a new show that is his obsession – which is actually becoming our obsession – called Oswald. Fred Savage does the voice of a little octopus, it’s quite brilliant, it’s really gentle, it’s really slow, it’s not crazy sort of dances around crap like Barney and it’s not MTV fast, you know, it’s just a nice little show, very visually beautiful.
Are you the kind of parent you thought you’d be?
I think I’ve been more or less of what I intended to be. I’ve been pretty hands-on because the hours of Will & Grace allow me that. I used to think I’d be a pushover, but you spend everyday with the kid and eventually you’re like, “Mmmm, no. We’re done with that.” You take something away from him and you think, “Go ahead and cry.”
Are you going to keep Will & Grace tapes for your son to watch?
I probably won’t. By the time he’s old enough to watch them he’ll probably be so sick of his father that that’s the last thing he’ll need.