Billy Gardell Says 150-Lb. Weight Loss Turned Him 'from a Young Jackie Gleason to an Old Paul Newman'

The ’Bob Hearts Abishola’ star shared how he has to ‘work on it every day’ to keep the weight off

<p>Michael Tullberg/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/WireImage</p> Billy Gardell and Paul Newman.

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/WireImage

Billy Gardell and Paul Newman.

Billy Gardell says his 150-lb. weight loss journey — which started when he underwent bariatric surgery in 2021 — is constant work, but that it benefits his appearance, self-image, and overall sense of well-being.

“You look great!” host Mark Consuelos said Gardell walked on-set for his appearance Friday on Live with Kelly and Mark.

“I went from a young Jackie Gleason to an old Paul Newman,” the Bob Hearts Abishola star quipped in reply.

When host Kelly Ripa asked Gardell about his journey, he said the Covid pandemic was his wake-up call to improve his health.

<p>Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Bettmann/Getty</p> Billy Gardell and Jackie Gleason.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Bettmann/Getty

Billy Gardell and Jackie Gleason.

“The last three years, I had to make some changes,” Gardell, 54, said, saying that when Covid hit “I went in the house.”

“I had a lot of the dangerous [comorbidities],” he explained, listing off the health conditions that could lead to poorer outcomes if infected with the Covid virus.

“When they made that list of, you know, overweight. Type 2 diabetes. Smoker. Asthma. I'm like, ‘Check! Check! Bingo!’”

Related: 1000-Lb. Sisters’ Tammy Slaton Says Weight Loss Surgery Has Been 'Wonderful' for Her Hair Growth: 'I'm Proud'

The Mike & Molly alum said it made him “wake up,” and he told his wife, Patty, “‘If they just find some medicine where this thing won't kill us, I'm going to change everything.’”

He shared that “as soon as they did I went and got that bariatric surgery” in 2021.

Billy Gardell talks to Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos on 'Live with Kelly and Mark.'
Billy Gardell talks to Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos on 'Live with Kelly and Mark.'

As the Mayo Clinic explains, bariatric surgery involves “making changes to your digestive system to help you lose weight.”

Gardell shared that when he first woke up from surgery, “You're like, ‘Oh God, what have I done?’”

He continued, “But then you start see the progress and you start to see your body change and and get healthier.”

Related: Nicky Jam Lost 110 Lbs. After Gastric Bypass Surgery: 'People Say This Is the Easy Way — They're Wrong' (Exclusive)

As Gardell shared, “My diabetes is gone, so it's all good stuff.”

He was careful to point out that the bariatric surgery, however, was just the beginning.

"The Hulk is still in there," he said, explaining, “I'm constantly a hostage negotiator between my brain and my stomach because my brain's like, ‘Uh, you can't eat that, you can't eat that! You're full!’ My stomach's, like ‘That's never stopped us before.' So I have to balance it, but I work on it every day.”

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“Now I get to annoy my wife for a little longer,” he joked.

“I'm just so grateful,” Gardell continued. “t's nice to not have to take a deep breath before I tie my shoes.”

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