Sterling K. Brown may be a two-time Emmy winner, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to Ellen DeGeneres’ requests!
On Monday’s Ellen, Brown -- along with his This Is Us co-stars Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore -- dropped by the daytime talk show to dish on the anticipated new season of the hit family drama. But the 41-year-old actor, who was making his first appearance on Ellen, had to complete a rite of passage. Naturally, he had to do it shirtless.
“It’s not really a challenge; it’s just something just to feel like family. Mandy rode the tractor, Milo was shirtless and so what you’ll do is you’ll ride a tractor shirtless,” DeGeneres previewed for Brown, who joked he had to do one last check on his abs before taking off his sweater: “Let me take a look real quick. All right.”
When Ventimiglia pointed out that Justin Hartley also was without his shirt when he was on Ellen, Moore concluded that “every male cast member of This Is Us has been on” the show topless. Brown and his six-pack abs got on top of the tiny tractor and he put pedal to the metal, riding around the stage to the amusement of his co-stars, though it wasn’t as comfortable as it seemed.
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“It’s tight!” Brown exclaimed, underwear in plain view, as his pants nearly fell off while Ventimiglia helped his TV son turn the mini tractor around.
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Speaking of being shirtless, Ventimiglia was asked by an audience member if his butt -- which opened the series in the first episode -- would be making a return in the new season.
“I feel like I get asked that as much as how did Jack die? 'Will we get to see your butt?'” the 40-year-old actor quipped. “I think you can probably go back and rewatch season one to see more Milo butt. It’s yet to be determined if you’ll get to see my male rear. Maybe, maybe, who knows?”
Brown joked that Ventimiglia’s butt “sits high” and credited it to his colleague’s squat work, before confessing, “I want to see more too,” before they joined in on an impromptu “More butt!” chant.
Another audience member asked Brown if he might be showing off his bare backside in coming episodes. “No, it’s too much. Like, honestly, I saw it one time and it’s so black and so full, that the arc would look like a lunar eclipse,” he hilariously explained. “Another time, another time… Once every 14 years.”
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Brown and Ventimiglia were also asked if they were fans of Moore’s music from the past and if they had crushes on her back in the day. The two confessed they weren’t “quite key demographic,” being several years older than their co-star, but were sweet in their praise of their newly engaged pal.
“I tease Mandy from time to time because I love her and I love her music. She did a cover of [Rihanna’s] ‘Umbrella’ so sometimes I’ll sing ‘Umbrella’ to her once in a while and she’ll just look at me like, ‘Will you stop messing with me?’” Brown said.
“I knew Mandy as an actor, so I was like, 'Oh, cool.' When we got a chance to read together and then develop a friendship, that was the more exciting thing for me. I’m not going to have her sing ‘Candy,’” Ventimiglia teased.
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Moore spoke about how tight-knit the This Is Us cast is, including their real-life significant others, like her fiancé Taylor Goldsmith. “I didn’t get asked for her hand in marriage as her TV husband, but at the same time, I was OK with it,” Ventimiglia joked.
This Is Us premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.