As the son of renowned Broadway actor Michel Bell, itâ€™s only right that Coby Bell pursued a career as an actor. While fans recognize his work on the small screen on the USA Networkâ€™s Burn Notice and BETâ€™s The Game, the role that Bell is most proud of is that of a loving father to his two sets of twinsâ€”identical girls and a fraternal pair, one boy and one girl. Despite his hectic schedule, the devoted family man still makes time to serve as a Big Brother to a young man heâ€™s mentored for the past several years. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Bell, who discusses how he juggles his career and parenting, his musical ambitions and working with singer/actress Brandy as a love interest in the upcoming season of The Game.
How has it been juggling two popular television shows on separate major networks at the same time?
Luckily it hasnâ€™t been exactly at the same time. Last season Burn Notice ended, and then a week later The Game started. This season, The Game started about two or three weeks before Burn Notice. I was juggling [both] for two or three weeks, and that was kind of crazy flying from Miami to Atlanta and then back to Miami. And I go to L.A. every weekend to see my wife and kids. The only part that weirds me out about it is being away from my family, so I do a lot of flying.
Thatâ€™s understandable being that you have two sets of twins at home. How do you fit in daddy duty with the hectic schedule of being in two shows?
Itâ€™s challenging, but itâ€™s the best thing in the world. The traveling, the long hours; everything I do is for my kids. But when I got these jobs out of town, I said the only way I can do this is if I go home every weekend. Thereâ€™s no way I can go more than five days without seeing them or being with them. [And] once The Game is done, Iâ€™m going to have two or three months just being home and just being dad before I have to go back to Burn Notice. Iâ€™m not saying that itâ€™s easy but being a father is just the best thing in the world.
So whatâ€™s your favorite thing to do with your kids when youâ€™re home?
I guess just being with them. Whatever it is that theyâ€™re doing or whatever it is that they want to doâ€”you know, taking them to volleyball, piano or dance or picking them up from pre-schoolâ€¦ just all that day-to-day stuff. Whatâ€™s really cool is we just have fun as a family. We really enjoy just hanging out together and every Sunday before I have to go back to the airport, my wife gets to sleep in and I take the kids to Long Beach to this restaurant weâ€™ve been going to for the past two years. And every time they have our table ready for us, itâ€™s like this nice little tradition we got going.
In addition to your own kids youâ€™re involved with Big Brothers of America as a mentor. How did that relationship come about?
I was on my first series regular gig, L.A. Doctors (1998-99), and I was just a nurse on the show. So I only came in for work one or two days a week, I had all this spare time, so I figured I might as well help out a little bit. Thatâ€™s when I became a Big Brother. Heâ€™s 23 now and we havenâ€™t been officially part of the program for years because at a certain point theyâ€™re like, If youâ€™re obligationâ€™s over and you want to keep hanging thatâ€™s cool.â€ť Weâ€™re like family now so heâ€™s always going to be part of my life.