New Kids on the Block singer and actor Joey McIntyre, 41, stars as a strong-headed brother in a big Boston brood on the CBS family comedy The McCarthys (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m.). Can he hang tough with a few Awkward Questions?
When I’m spelling the title of the show, is The McCahthys also considered acceptable?
Absolutely. We gotta make sure the pronunciation is correct right off the get-go and get everyone in lockstep with how it should be pronounced.
Maybe even The Feckin’ McCahthys?
Innnnnnn certain circumstances, yes. But you know, it is CBS, so we gotta pace ourselves.
You met your wife, who’s a real estate agent, while shopping for a house. Did your pickup line involve the sentence “Girl, I can’t quitclaimdeed you”?
No, it didn’t. But I didn’t have any furniture. All I had was a beanbag, and she sat in the beanbag, and she watched me put together a table from IKEA. And that’s about the macho-est thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I think that was what hooked her in.
Your New Kids bandmate Donnie Wahlberg is also on a CBS show, Blue Bloods. Pitch me the terrible crossover episode.
The real bad one? I would say, our sister [on The McCarthys] is pregnant, so Donnie delivers the baby at Fenway Park, because they’re playing the Yankees and his character is a big Yankees fan, and they come to Boston, and they’re getting booed, and everybody’s getting on Donnie like, “Go back to New York! Yankees suck!” He powers through all that and ends up delivering Jackie’s baby safely at the baseball game, and he’s a hero and that’s a happy ending because Sox and Yankees fans come together at the end.
Let me pretend to turn the tape recorder off. Are Wahlburgers any good, really?
They’re really good! They’re delicious. You’re in L.A.—they’ve got kind of an In-N-Out feel but they have their own vibe to it. And their big thing is government cheese and it’s cheesy, kind-of-bad-for-you cheese, which makes the burger really good. And most of them have bars, so it’s a burger joint with a full bar and what’s better than that?
What would a BigMcIntyre taste like?
It’d be a cheeseburger with baloney instead of bacon. With bread-and-butter chips—like the pickles—and on an onion roll. And we’d do a deal with Fritos—we’d only serve Fritos. We wouldn’t serve french fries.
Why should I say “NKOTB” when the full name of the band is the exact same number of syllables?
Oh my God, dude, that is—I don’t know, I feel like the skies are opening up right now. [Laughs] That needs to be shouted from the mountaintops, you know? That is an important piece of information that needs to get out in the world.… New Kids. NKOTB. It takes more energy to say NKOTB than New Kids on the Block. I mean, New Kids on the Block runs right off your tongue. NewKidsontheBlockNewKidsontheBlockNewKidsontheBlock.
On a scale of “not at all” to “I wouldn’t say upset, just a little curious as to why not,” how upset were you that the Patrick Duffy comedy Step by Step did not use your No. 1 hit “Step by Step” as its theme song?
“Ehhh. No big deal.” That’s somewhere in the middle, right?
Did you ever drunk dial 1-900-909-5KIDs, the official New Kids on the Block hotline ($2 for the first minute, 45 cents each additional minute)?
No, I didn’t have a cell phone when that was out. And I wouldn’t have done that. Yeah, that was definitely a dark hiccup in the life of — that was just wrong. It was a wrong thing to do. But what are you going to do? You live and learn.
You were the last member to join New Kids—and the youngest. What was the worst hazing that you endured? Did they switch out your blazer so it was five sizes too big instead of three? Add sleeves to one of your vests?
Oh, man. Our day-to-day manager who took care of us would drive us around Boston to different talent shows and stuff, so he had a two-door Mustang and we’d be packed in. I’d be sitting on someone’s lap in the front seat and the other three are stuck behind in two bucket seats. On long trips you don’t know what to do and at one point Donnie tried to rip off my socks as my shoes were still on. And he just ripped my socks off. That’s what teenage boys do when they’re locked in a Mustang and can’t get out.
That doesn’t sound so bad, hazing-wise.
All kind of stuff. Words hurt, you know what I mean? Kids are mean. I went home crying many a night.
Why? What’d they say?
Whatever—they’re from Dorchester [Mass.] and I was in from a middle-class home in Jamaica Plain, it was like a world of difference. And I have seven older sisters instead of seven older brothers, so I was very sensitive. And it was fine. Boys will be boys—and I was an emotional one.
You ranked No. 44 in VH1’s 100 Greatest Kid Stars special. Fair?
New Kids on the Block?
No, just you.
Wow. When did that come out?
I’d like to think I’m a little higher now. 2005 was a quieter time in my career. Maybe they can revamp it?
So where would you put yourself now? Maybe in the 30s?
Yeah. Listen, I’m never going to be bigger than Joey Lawrence, you know what I mean? After that, it’s all gravy.
How did One Direction respond to New Kids and Backstreet Boys’ pitch for a new boyband supergroup called NKOTBSB1D?
How did you get a hold of that scoop? That wasn’t supposed to be out yet. I’m really kind of pissed off that you—please don’t write that because they’re still working on it. We think it can work. Just sit on it and we’ll give you the exclusive when it happens. In 15 years.