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'Tommy' star Vladimir Caamano says acting is about making co-stars stand out

From a popular NYC stand-up artist to being an important part of a primetime show, the actor has had an interesting journey and dishes on his transition in an exclusive with MEAWW
Vladimir Caamano (Getty Images)
Vladimir Caamano (Getty Images)

If you are well versed with the New York standup scene, then you will easily recognize this popular artist, writer and comedian. Others may recognize him from his appearances on 'Runaways', 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' or 'Browntown'.

And now, Vladimir Caamano finds himself as a significant member of the LAPD, in CBS' latest presentation 'Tommy'. The actor plays the role of Abner Diaz, security detail and right-hand man of the Chief of Police of LAPD, Abigail Thomas aka Tommy (Edie Falco).

In an up-close conversation, we got the opportunity to learn about Camaano's journey from stage to screen and his experience as Abner Diaz.

Tell us about your experience as a stand-up artist versus that on screen? Which is more challenging?

I think acting is quite interesting. With stand up, you are trying to make yourself shine and on screen, you are making somebody else shine as well, because, if I can make my costar look good, it makes the scene better, and then we both look good on the screen. That is a big difference between doing standup and acting. It’s a more giving medium.

In standup, there is a different vulnerability, where you do your best to be authentic, while still giving people something to laugh about. It's a very strange balance. You touch upon something sad and make it funny but if you get too sad, then you lose the laugh. And it is also a very selfish art, because it requires all the emphasis on yourself. With acting, you could be emotional about something, you could be sad and happy, and explore different emotions at the same time.

How does it feel to be a part of the ensemble cast of 'Tommy’?

Well, you know, I am a stand-up artist and also a writer; a performer so to say. So, for me, it's been a very educational experience, because I am working with one of the greatest actors of our time. I am immensely grateful and I am looking forward to people watching the show and how the character develops further.

Vladimir Caamano as Abner Diaz and Edie Falco as Tommy (IMDb)

Most importantly, how it is working with Edie Falco?

You know, when I first met Edie, she said: "Hey, I saw your tape and I think you're great!" And I had goosebumps! It's kind of surreal, you see, seeing someone from a distance and now watching her how she interprets processes and executes the written materials.

I have been a huge fan of 'The Sopranos' and 'Nurse Jackie' and I learned so much from being around her. She is a great leader, has an amazing sense of humor and is always laughing on the set.

More than anything else, she's incredible in terms of keeping the morale high of the cast. Sometimes, we do a 13-14 hour or days of shooting and I can't think of a day where Edie didn't have a smile on her face.

We even have some pictures of us laughing together, on my Instagram timeline and those are some of my most cherished memories. So, it's great that we get to have a laugh off-screen and when you see us in the show, we reflect a very specific relationship. At times, I can’t believe it, and when fans write to me about my chemistry with Edie, it feels great.

Tell us about your character and what do you think could be the future of Abner Diaz

Abner is very close to Tommy and after the last couple of episodes, you begin to see how much of a team player he is. As the story develops, we see how much he cares for and protects Abigail Thomas and how their chemistry evolves.

Tommy starts to see what a good detective Abner is and begins to trust him a lot more. She has very few people to trust and she needs to lean on a little more. Abner takes this responsibility very seriously. As we know, he is generally disenchanted with police work but Tommy restores his faith in the system.

On that note, we hope to see Vladimir Caamano continue to shine in his character of Abner Diaz. You can catch him in action on 'Tommy' every Thursday night at 10 pm/9 c on CBS.