Ted Danson Reveals How He Pulled Off Playing an Athlete on ‘Cheers’: ‘Just Reach Down and Grab Yourself’

“Athletes, for some reason, touch themselves a lot,” Danson says on his new podcast with Woody Harrelson

Ted Danson
Ted Danson speaks onstage during the Environmental Media Association IMPACT Summit (Photo Credit: Getty Collection)

Ted Danson took some useful advice from James Burrows when the legendary director was coaching the actor – himself not much of an athlete – on how to come across like a former baseball pro on “Cheers.”

“Jimmy Burrows helped me, really, by saying — and it got me a lot of closeups too — ‘Just reach down and grab yourself periodically in the nuts,’” Danson revealed during the latest episode of Sirius XM’s “Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson & Woody Harrelson (Sometimes).” “Athletes, for some reason, touch themselves a lot.”

The story was dropped after the show’s guest, Will Arnett, praised Danson for moving “like an athlete” so well. Before the events of “Cheers,” Sam “Mayday” Malone (Danson) used to be a baseball relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. The classic NBC comedy follows Sam during a different phase of his life as the bartender and owner of the namesake bar.

Similar to his iconic character, Danson revealed that he originally had plans to be an athlete before he got into acting. However, his pro player dreams were short lived.

“I thought I was going be a basketball player. Went to Stanford, didn’t try out, I walked to the court and didn’t even step onto the court and looked around and went, ‘Oh s–t. OK. Alright. Plan B,’” Danson said.

Harrelson and Arnett also taught Danson the meaning of the acronym BDE (big d–k energy) on the episode. “[Ted Danson] had the BDE, for sure, on that show, and I have BSE, which is big snuggle energy,” Arnett joked.

Each week on “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” Danson and Harrelson (when he can be found) sit down with a special guest to dig beyond their career highlights. The stars of “Cheers” have been longtime friends. This podcast marks the first time they’ve reunited on a project in 30 years.

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