Steve Burton and Bradford Anderson play unlikely BFFs Jason Morgan (the hitman with a heart) and Damien Spinelli (his tech-wizard sidekick) on one of daytime’s only surviving soap operas, “General Hospital.”
In actuality, their real-life friendship isn’t that different from the one fans see on television. It’s a dynamic that works so well that the duo is taking its act on the road – sort of.
Fans won’t see the Jackal and Stone Cold (as Anderson’s character refers to them, respectively) when the pair appears at The Comedy Zone Tuesday, but the riffing and interaction between the actors is much the same on- and off-screen.
“Our stage personas are similar to who we are in (real-life), so the relationship from the show transfers pretty well,” says Anderson, speaking from his home in Sacramento during a three-way conference call with him and Burton. “When I first started on the show, Steve was gracious enough to take me along to some of his events. People enjoyed it. It’s a little more who we are than our characters. It’s familiar, but they feel like they’re getting to know us as well.”
“Bradford does a great Phil Donahue,” adds Burton, calling from the set of the ABC soap Monday. “He runs around like a crazy man while I’m on stage. It’s organic banter. That’s our goal – it’s not improvisational, but it’s on-the-spot. There’s not a lot planned. We feel an obligation to make it more of a show.”
In September, Burton returned to “General Hospital” after a five-year absence during which he won an Emmy for his role on CBS’s rival series “The Young & the Restless.” Meanwhile, his “General Hospital” character was resurrected from the dead by a different actor (now that he’s back, in true soap fashion, he and the other “Jason” learned that they are long-lost twins). With Burton back in play, Anderson – who has appeared sporadically on the show since leaving in 2013 – wasn’t far behind.
“I need my right-hand man with me,” Burton says. “It’s a unique relationship that we have on the show and that’s why we’re taking it out on the road.”
With soap operas cutting costs, Burton adds that the actors get a lot of time off, which allows him and Anderson to schedule appearances.
“Daytime has changed a lot,” says Burton, who resides in Nashville and commutes to L.A. “When I started in 1991, we’d do 21 scenes a day, and now we do 70 – triple the work in the same amount of time – and we have 18 weeks off throughout the year.”
The schedule allows them to meet more fans. The Comedy Zone show, in fact, doubles as a fan event that includes an autograph signing, photographs, and Q&A sessions.
“We don’t feel like strangers, since they’re with us five days a week,” Anderson says of the interactive fan events. “People don’t get starstruck since they feel like they know us already. The hugs we get aren’t polite hugs.”
‘General Hospital’s’ Bradford Anderson & Steve Burton
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: The Comedy Zone, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd.
Details: 980-321-4702; www.cltcomedyzone.com.