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Grey’s Anatomy’s Giacomo Gianniotti Reveals Which Actor Gets The Most Laughs BTS

James Pickens Jr. plays Richard Webber on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Giacomo Gianniotti may not be an actor on Grey’s Anatomy anymore — his character Andrew DeLuca was killed off in Season 17 — but after being a series regular since Season 12, he’s been around long enough to know the ins and outs of what goes on behind the scenes. For what can be such a dramatic and serious show, considering the real-world issues it chooses to tackle, it’s always fun to hear about the light-hearted moments that happen when the cameras aren’t rolling. Gianniotti recently indulged fans with one of those tidbits, revealing the one actor whose comedy chops always come through backstage. 

James Pickens Jr. may be known best these days for his dramatic and often intense portrayal of the hospital’s former chief of staff Richard Webber, but the veteran actor has more than a few comedy credits to his name, most recently recurring as Chuck on Season 3 of The Conners. When Giacomo Gianniotti was asked about his favorite character on Grey’s, he told US Weekly it was Richard Webber, saying that James Pickens brings an effortless humor to the role of one of Grey’s Anatomy’s original surgeons:

I love Richard Webber and I love Pick — James Pickens — as well, the man, the legend. His character, like, at the table reads, no one gets bigger laughs than him, always. And he does nothing. He’s effortless. He’s no emotion, deadpan, and the whole room is just busting up laughing. He’s so funny. His character is hilarious.

I’d have to totally agree with Giacomo Gianniotti that the deadpan humor that his former co-star brings to the character is a big part of Richard Webber’s charm. Webber is rarely lacking in the ego category and, despite how much he cares for the hospital and how revered he is by his colleagues, the show always finds a way to keep him relatable. Whether he’s joining other doctors for a prank or being kept blissfully ignorant of what’s going on under his nose, Webber’s nonchalance has endeared him to viewers for the past 17 years.

James Pickens Jr. is one of three main cast members who has been on Grey’s Anatomy since its 2005 premiere, along with Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Gray and Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey. The casting of Pickens and Wilson (along with Isaiah Washington’s Preston Burke) as Black doctors in high-ranking positions in the hospital was somewhat groundbreaking in 2005, as people of color were sorely under-represented in such roles when Shonda Rhimes created the medical drama. 

While James Pickens Jr. is still going strong in the role, the character's residency program — which in Season 18 has implemented the controversial “Webber Method” — may be in jeopardy after the recent winter finale. The Webber Method allowed residents to perform solo surgeries, with attending surgeons dropping in for the most critical portions but, in “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” an overconfident Levi Schmitt failed to call for help when there were complications during a surgery, and his patient died. 

Something tells me there won’t be anything funny about Richard Webber’s reaction when Grey’s Anatomy returns February 24 for a crossover event, where a number of lives hang in the balance. It all starts with Station 19 at 8 p.m. ET, Thursday, February 24, followed by Grey’s Anatomy at 9 p.m. ET. on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what other premieres are coming up.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.