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Naperville actor Andrew Santino shares stories from 'Mixology' set

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“While out shopping for linens at Bed Bath and Beyond,” actor Andrew Santino was “approached in the Beyond section and offered the role of Bruce” on ABC’s new sitcom, “Mixology.”

The series follows a group of people through one night in a Manhattan bar called “The Mix.” It might be best described as a cocktail of the structure of “24,” the setting of “Cheers," mixed with the humor of “The Hangover,” the writers of which co-created the show.

Santino was obviously joking when he shared his experience on landing the role in Bed Bath and Beyond, but what some may not realize is that the funny-man is in fact a Naperville North high school alum. Santino and his family moved from the downtown Chicago area to Woodridge where it was decided he would be a student at NNHS, “because the Woodridge schools refused to take another red head. They hit their limit.”

Santino described his time in the Naperville suburb as being like a John Hughes movie.

“I loved growing up in the Naperville area as a kid... Riding bikes, breaking into old buildings, stealing from open garages, you know, being a boy.”

His comedic personality developed at a young age and his interest in the performing arts spiked in his college years.

“I was always a ham. I can't remember a time when I wasn't entertaining, to a fault,” Santino said. “My teachers either loved or hated me. I was constantly trying to make my friends laugh. I won Mr. NNHS in high school and when I was in college I did a little theater. From there, I started doing stand up and that in turn lead me to get interested in sketch comedy and acting.” 

Santino might have started the “class clown,” but with the help of Tom Rosenberg, owner of Lakeshore Films and a Chicago native, Santino became a professional performer.

“[Rosenberg] asked how bad I wanted to be a standup comedian,” Santino said. “He told me that out of the thousands of people that come to LA with ‘the dream’ only 20 percent truly want it. Only 20 percent are willing to work as hard, if not harder, than you for ‘the dream.’ They'll most likely be your competition and they may be more talented than you. But only 1 percent of those 20 percent will make it. But the 1 percent that makes it is those that never give up. So that was my goal. Not to become the most famous or rich but to be a part of that 1 percent that never gave up.”

Determination paid off as Santino recently found himself playing, Bruce, a “loud mouthed womanizing nut bag” with a rough childhood past on ABC’s “Mixology.”

“I auditioned for the role and landed it after a series of callbacks and studio/network 'tests,'" Santino said.

Playing alongside him on “Mixology,” is actor Craig Frank (Cal), Blake Lee (Tom), Ginger Gonzaga (Maya), and other familiar faces. The 13 episodes that make up season one have since been filmed, but a family-like bond remains for Santino and the cast.

“The cast and crew were like a family to me and since we were there five days a week and usually 12 hours a day, you get accustomed to always being around these creative, cool people. It truly was a blessing.”

With this comedic family, pulling pranks and joking around was routine between takes. Santino became fast friends with Blake Lee and together they found ways to keep the mood light on set.

“We would frequently trash each others’ trailers while the other was shooting,” Santino said. “We were always messing around between takes and during our down time to stay awake. We had a great director, Alex Hardcastle, one episode who had a wonderful sense of humor and we thought it would be fun to fill his car with all of the empty boxes and bags of trash from the craft service table.”

While his acting career has taken a leap and he still gets to entertain people on and off set, Santino does not forget his roots in the Chicago area.

“I'm proud to be from Chicago and more specifically the Naperville suburbs. It's a great place to come back to.”

Catch Andrew Santino, as Bruce, on “Mixology” Wednesdays on ABC at 9:30/8:30c.

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