Alan Ritchson: From Underwear to Aquaman to Thad Castle on “Blue Mountain State”

Alan Ritchson
all photos credit: Clinton Gaughran/AfterElton

You might be familiar with Alan Ritchson from his many years modeling underwear for the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch and N2N, or for his superhero gig as Smallville’s Aquaman, or for his recent memorable guest turn as a passionate gay love interest for 90210‘s Teddy.

But for the past three years Ritchson has been honing his comedic chops playing quarterback Thad Castle on the Spike series Blue Mountain State. If you’ve been following the show you’ve certainly noticed just how funny the man is. There’s clearly a lot more to Ritchson than ripped abs, a megawatt smile and an amazing ass, and we wanted to know more about him.

AfterElton met up with Ritchson last week at the legendary West Hollywood watering hole, The Abbey, to talk about everything from his workout regime, that 90210 make out session with Trevor Donovan, Blue Mountain State‘s appeal for gay fans and more.

AfterElton: I checked out several episodes of the show and it’s really well done, but it’s also flying under the radar being on Spike.
Alan Ritchson:
It’s underrated.

AE: How is the network trying to spread the word?
AR:
They’re not. That’s the problem. They’ve left it up to us to spread the word and thankfully it’s like a cult hit already and our fan base is so dedicated. I feel like we can compare our fan base to that of Arrested Development. They’re so hungry for it, and I think they’re the people who appreciate what it really is.

We’ve got a million or so people who watch every week with no advertisement whatsoever. Just by word of mouth, and that says a lot to me. I wonder sometimes what we would be if we were on a network that wanted to push it and wanted original scripted shows.

Spike has come out foolishly and said in the middle of our shooting season that they aren’t interested in doing any more original scripted shows. They’re dropping any plans of doing it. They got rid of the executives in charge. Foolish move! When you’ve got a flagship show that’s doing well already…it’s a network with an identity crisis. It’s our greatest detriment.

AE: The show is so funny, but one of the biggest surprises is that YOU are so funny. Is this just a part of you or have you had to work hard at cultivating it?
AR:
I’ve always had a comedic side to me. Somewhere inside of me Thad has been living this whole time. I don’t think we share too many similarities in life, however he’s a part of who I am, and there are a million other characters that nobody knows about that I can’t wait to share. It’s in there, but I think it took awhile, though, to figure out that that was my niche, and that was my way in.

Starting with Aquaman [who he played on Smallville], which was a great thing and opened a lot of doors but that is more physical in nature. I think a lot of me booking that job had to do with my look, obviously, and I think little had to do with what I could create as an artist.

[Thad] was a chance for me to say, ‘I think if I go the comedy direction I have the chance to put my stamp on a character rather than telling dumb fish jokes…’

I’ve had a chance to really influence who this is and the end product. I’m proud of it and I think it just took me awhile to find my direction as an actor.

AE: It’s surprising because we’re not used to seeing people who are really good looking also being very funny. It’s a nice surprise.
AR:
I just read something the other day how there’s a producer out there who does not like good looking comedians because they feel like people don’t want to laugh at somebody who is good looking. They’re intimidated by it in some way, shape and form and I disagree.

Everybody who fits a certain type also works to break through a certain stereotype that they carry with them. And I do, too.

It’s kind of a curse because people for the longest time didn’t want to see me as somebody who could be funny. They’d be like ‘He just needs to stand there and look good.’ But I think I have more to offer.

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