Exclusive: Fred Willard Is ‘Modern Family’ Patriarch

by | November 17, 2009 at 4:18 PM | Matt's TV News, Modern Family, TV News

(ABC)

(ABC)

Funnyman Fred Willard, one of the pioneers of the mockumentary format, is the latest “name” to land a plum gig on ABC’s ‘Modern Family,’ I have learned exclusively.

Ty Burrell let slip the casting coup when I invited the ‘Family’ man to dream-cast Phil’s dad.

“I’ll tell you who I would cast – Fred Willard, and so we did,” Burrell shared.

Watch full episodes of ‘Modern Family.’

Halfway through its freshman season, ‘Modern Family’ has tapped the likes of Shelley Long, Edward Norton, Benjamin Bratt, Chazz Palmenteri and Minnie Driver for guest-starring gigs.

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Willard, a veteran of such Christopher Guest mockumentaries as ‘Best in Show‘ and ‘For Your Consideration,’ will appear in a holiday-themed episode airing December 9, when Phil’s father checks in on his extended clan via iChat.

Watch ‘For Your Consideration’ here for free.

“Fred is not just a pioneer for this type of comedy but somebody who has really set the tone for how it can be done, so it was just a total honor,” Burrell says. “He really established, even going back to ‘Spinal Tap,’ some of the funniest stuff out of the medium.”

Burrell likens working with Willard to “one of those fantasy camps where you go to play with big leaguers. To me, it just doesn’t get any better than him.”

Or, of course, any funnier.

“The stuff he did [on 'Modern Family'] is just mind-blowingly funny,” Burrell teases. “It’s so good.”

‘Modern Family’ airs Wednesdays at 9/8c.

Want scoop about ‘Modern Family’ or any other TV show? Have a burning question you want answered? Email MattMtvguy@gmail.com and read The Big Tease every Tuesday at Fancast!