The Goldbergs are celebrating a special milestone in their latest installment, “The Wedding.”
Serving as the ABC comedy’s 200th episode, the event shines a light on Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and Geoff (Sam Lerner) as they prepare for their nuptials. Of course, self-proclaimed “Smother” Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) has a few tricks up her sleeve for the major moment, including a special musical guest in Richard Marx.
The “Right Here Waiting” singer plays himself, turning back the clock on his looks to fit the ’80s-set series. Below, the Grammy-winning artist opens up about his guest-starring role in the landmark episode.
What brings you to The Goldbergs for this guest-starring role? Are you a fan?
Richard Marx: I had never seen the show before. I certainly knew about it. I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I was aware of it. I did an episode of Life in Pieces a few years ago, and it was kind of a similar thing where someone reached out about licensing a song or two of mine for an episode. Once those arrangements are made, they came back and said, “Hey, how would you feel about actually being in the episode?” This one was really me playing [myself from] 30 years ago. As soon as they said, “We were hoping that you would let us put you in a mullet wig.” I was like, “I’m in. It’s so ridiculous, I have to say yes.”
Considering the episode takes you back in time to the ’80s, did the wardrobe, hair and makeup teams collaborate on your look?
Well, that was cool too, because while they had an assortment of clothes for me set up when I got there, [I had gone] into my storage facility and found a box of old clothes that I’ve been keeping to auction off for charity or things like that… from back in the day. And I found a couple of old leather jackets. So I grabbed those, I found an old pair of cowboy boots that I used to wear on stage all the time, a belt, and a couple of other things, and I just threw them in a bag. When I showed it to the wardrobe person, she went, “You have to wear this. This is so authentic. And it’s so perfect for this episode.” So everything I’m wearing was mine.
So did it feel weird looking in the mirror at yourself with the wig on? Unless they teased your hair out?
It was a wig, and it was phenomenally done. The level of quality of that wig was hilariously perfect. Once it was on, I kept it on all day. And then they would just come and fix it or touch it up or pull some pieces down. But when I sent a picture of me in my trailer to my wife, she just couldn’t believe it because it really was almost perfectly accurate.
This is a special episode — how does it feel to be part of this wedding event, and could you picture yourself returning to the show in the future?
Totally. I’m always open to coming back and doing more. I think working with the cast and crew was incredible, especially Wendi, she was really fun to work with. I really haven’t done a lot of that kind of thing, but it was such a pleasant experience.
What exactly brings Richard Marx to the Goldbergs’ front steps in the first place?
The reason for my appearance is that Wendi’s character hires me to sing as a surprise at her daughter’s wedding and some things go awry. And so I show up at the house to try to be a nice guy about it.
So, we’ll hear you belt out a classic tune. Did you take an opportunity to serenade the cast during your performance?
The original idea was for me to mime, which is what usually happens in television. We had the record and I was ready to lip-sync it, which is fine. But we had an instrumental version of it too. And so the director said, “If we could get your microphone sounding good, if it sounds okay in the room to you and you can hear yourself, would you be up for singing it live?” And I said, “Yeah. I would prefer to sing it live, always.”
And so what we ended up doing was live. So it was kind of fun because the cast and the crew kept looking over like, “Wow, he’s really singing it.”
The Goldbergs, “The Wedding,” Wednesday, March 2, 8/7c, ABC