By Bennett Marcus, Vanity Fair
"I was just really honored to be nominated," Ty Burrell told Vanity Fair at the second annual Comedy Awards ceremony on Saturday, where he won for best performance by a TV actor for his role as Phil Dunphy on Modern Family. We noted that while we were at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, some of his Modern Family cast mates -- including Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, and Sofía Vergara -- were in D.C. that very moment, partaking in the White House Correspondents' Dinner festivities and the Vanity Fair/Bloomberg after-party. "Yes," Burrell said. "And they actually went to the White House today and hung out with the Obamas," he added with a grimace.
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But no remorse. "I had already made these plans, and I have friends here," Burrell said. Besides, he didn't have to shave his newly sprouted facial hair, which he says is just the result of lax grooming while on hiatus from shooting the hit series -- even though he's doing a movie. "I wish that I could say that [the beard] is for the film, but the film is animated, so they don't care what I look like," he told us.
Burrell may as well work during his downtime, anyway, because he's not very good at hobbies. "I like to do a lot of different things, but I'm not good at anything. I'm a true dilettante," he said. "I love to fish, I love to cook, but if you ask any of my friends, like, I'm a horrible cook. I never catch fish."
Robin Williams, who was honored as a stand-up icon at the ceremony, revealed his passion for a less participatory pastime. "I collect military miniatures. I've never talked about that before," he told us. His collection includes different types, such as painted St. Petersburg miniatures. "There must be some blind Russian woman who went blind doing these little, tiny Louis XIV miniatures," Williams said. "They're wonderful. And I send them to Jonathan Winters, so we share that." The comic didn't specify how many he has, but says he avoids bidding at auctions. "[If] I'm bidding, then we'll get into Hoarders."
It was when he made fun of a teacher in a high-school play that Williams first realized he had a gift for comedy. "I had a particular teacher who I think took a lot of acid and taught history, because we had a group hug for the Civil War. I kind of did a great impression of him and that was the first time I was, like, 'Hmm, this works,'" he said.
Since then, Williams has done movies, television, Broadway and stand-up, and he recalled an unnerving experience when he first met Laurence Olivier. "It was before presenting at the Oscars, and he was in the audience, and they said to come meet him," Williams explained. "And I went, 'Hello, Mr. Olivier.' And he said, 'Hello.' And he went, 'Are you wearing makeup?' And I went, 'Yes.' So he said, 'Don't. It makes you look effeminate,'" Williams said, laughing.
Don Rickles was also honored at the Comedy Awards, which air May 6 on Comedy Central and feature Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Matthew Perry, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig.
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