PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Now that the TV series “Mike and Molly” has come to an end, Swissvale native Billy Gardell is moving on to the next phase of his career.

Gardell is in town this weekend doing stand-up at the Monroeville Convention Center.

He says the hit series he starred in with Melissa McCarthy was the most special thing he’s ever done in his career. The final episode aired Monday, May 16.

“The end of ‘Mike & Molly’ was very sad, but I think expertly written,” said Gardell. “We left the fans with, I think, a great ending. I will miss those people every week of my life. We all cried like babies!”

Moving forward, he will play a very different role.

“I didn’t want to go right back to sitcoms, because people know you as one thing, you owe it to your fans and yourself to stretch as an artist,” said Gardell. “I always like John Goodman’s career, so I wanted to do a little bit of a dramatic turn.”

He’ll play Elvis Presley’s manager, who was known as kind of ruthless, in an upcoming CMT mini-series called “Million Dollar Quartet.”

“I play Col. Tom Parker, so I’ve gone from a guy who never told a lie, to a guy who’s always lying,” said Gardell.

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But he says he’ll never give up stand-up comedy.

His hometown crowd cheered for him as he was introduced for Friday night show at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Gardell says he’ll always love his hometown.

David Highfield