The second season of Nickelodeon’s ‘Game Shakers,’ a live-action gaming sitcom, debuted on September 17. The show revolves around two girls, Babe and Kenzie, who start a multi-million dollar title gaming company. I caught up with Sheldon Bailey, who returns to play the popular “Ruthless” character.
You went from playing Kenyatta on “Shameless” to playing Ruthless. What a change.
This is a kid’s show, and Shameless is definitely not a kid’s show. The premise of Game Shakers is these two girls create a viral game that blows up huge online, but they use this famous rapper’s music in it. He comes to talk to them about it and they try to ignore him, and basically, he’s going to take the company. He has a kid that’s the same age as them and he convinces his father to partner up with these kids and create their gaming company.
It’s all about the craziness around these kids and their gaming company and their insane boss, played by Kel Mitchell, who plays Double G. Double G is insanely rich. He has two bodyguards/personal assistants. I play one of them. Everything Ruthless does is pretty much loud and aggressive, but apparently it’s really funny, because these kids really love Ruthless out here.
How did they even approach you with that show? Did they ask you to be over the top?
I can be loud for sure. You can ask my son about that. When they told me the name, Ruthless, I had something in mind that I figured it was going to be a little bit over the top, but at first, everything wasn’t supposed to be loud. They made it that way. I just find different ways to say things loud and funny. It’s all about the timing with that one.
Anybody who watches Nickelodeon knows who Dan Schneider is. I remember him as a kid, growing up with him on Head of the Class, when he was acting. He’s been responsible for some of the best shows on Nickelodeon, like “The Amanda Show,” “Drake and Josh,” “iCarly,” and “Zoey 101.” What’s it like to work under him?
It’s pretty surreal to have grown up watching “Kenan and Kel,” “‘Good Burger” and all those shows you’re talking about. Now, being under him and watching him, it’s really impressive to see this guy multi-task. Dan has so many different things going on and different people pulling him in all kinds of directions, and he just seamlessly does it and just puts it all together.
Right now, he’s running our show and “Henry Danger” in the same building and they’re prepping for a pilot in July. This guy doesn’t even look like he’s breaking a sweat, so whenever I sit there and watch him, it’s like, “Man, this is a real boss right here. This guy knows what he’s doing.” Just to be a part of the Dan Schneider Nickelodeon history, I feel very privileged.
You have a couple of independent films coming out, including “Izzy Gets the F*** Across Town.” Mackenzie Davis is in this, Brandon T. Jackson, Haley Joel Osment … how did you get involved with that?
I was My Player on 2K15, so if any of you have played 2K15 and you did my career mode, that was my voice and those are my movements in that game. So the director for that game and Mackenzie decided to produce this film. It was just really a project that we all seemed to like and just wanted to be on. When I saw the names, Brandon T. Jackson and Mackenzie David and Ron Huebel, I was appreciative to even be considered with these guys, and then for a former director to just pull me in with no audition, like, “Hey Sheldon, this is your role right here.” I was more than happy to do it.
What is your role in the movie?
I’m a cyclist enthusiast. Pretty early on in the movie, Mackenzie’s character lives on my couch with me and my pregnant fiancée, and everything comes to a head and I kick Mackenzie out of the house. Basically, she’s down and out because her ex-boyfriend is now about to get married, and so the whole point of her getting across town is to get to this wedding to contact her ex-boyfriend to try to stop it. She just lost her car. I just kicked her out, but in the process of her getting kicked out, she steals my bike, and that’s what starts her journey across town.
You’re a big guy. Does that leave less roles for you?
These aggressive roles are definitely coming up. I guess I do the yelling thing quite well, but the character in ‘Izzy Gets the F Across Town’ is a little different. This guy, even though he gets in the argument with Izzy, he’s a little bit of a nerd. I come in the house, I’m wearing biker shorts with chamois on the bottom. He’s not as cool as Ruthless, and definitely not as gangster as Kenyatta on Shameless. As far as being big and aggressive, whatever, I’d rather be type cast than not cast. I’ll take what they’re giving me for right now, for sure.
How did you feel when you got the call that you landed this on Nickelodeon?
When I first auditioned, it was only a two line part. Ruthless wasn’t as significant as he’s become, and that was just for the pilot, and then the pilot had to get picked up. All last season, I recurred as a guest star, and so it started from just a pilot, and I kept recurring, recurring, recurring until I wound up at the season, looking back, like, “Man, we had 20 episodes.”
Second season comes in and they’ve given me a guaranteed contract, so it just continues to build and grow. I’m in a very good position. Our last episode that we premiered was the number one kid’s program in the country. That’s just amazing. We keep adding countries every month. Now we’re in Brazil, we’re in South Africa, we’re in the Philippines, we’re in France, Germany, Canada, Australia. Game Shakers just keeps blowing up.
Follow Sheldon Bailey on Instagram at @bigshelbailey.
Hear the entire interview with Sheldon Bailey on Sports Palooza Radio by clicking here.
Sheldon Bailey as Ruthless on Game Shakers:
Fitness Campaign With Keiser Fitness:
Planet Fitness Drill Sergeant Commercial:
Sheldon worked as Lebron James’ double for the Kia “Spacesuit” commercial and the “Ten Mill” commercial (that’s him in the spacesuit and in the car).