Comedy Actors Roundtable: Sacha Baron Cohen, Jim Carrey, Don Cheadle & More | Close Up
(upbeat music) – Hi, and welcome to Close Up With The Hollywood
Reporter, comedy actors. I’m your host Lacey Rose, and
I’m here with Timothy Simons, Sacha Baron Cohen, Henry
Winkler, Don Cheadle, Jim Carrey and Ted Danson. Dive right into this, okay,
we’re gonna start with– – Hi, Lacey.
– Hi, Jim. – Thank you for having us.
– How are you? – I’m good!
– See, you already got points. – No, really, how are you?
(group laughing) – You look beautiful home.
– Thank you, creep. All right, complete this sentence. I act because.
– I love it so much I don’t know what else to do.
– Starting with Timothy. (group laughing) ‘Cause there is no ceiling to
the amount of attention I need positive or negative,
and this is a business that provides that.
– Pretty good. – Because I can do nothing else. – Really, nothing else?
– Not really. – You write.
– Oh yeah, oh yeah. – Apart from writing.
– You direct, you direct. – Okay, it’s very rarely. Apart from writing and directing. (group members laughing)
– You guys? – I act because if you did what we do anywhere other than a place
where they pay you to do it they would arrest you.
– (laughs) Fair. – I act because I’m
broken in a lot of pieces and acting gives me a chance
to reconfigure those pieces into 1,000 different
things that are positive for people to watch and eventually I will be ground down into
a fine powder and then– – [Don] Snorted, is that
how you wanna go out? – Snorted, right.
– For those of you who are watching, there is a
guide you will get in the mail for Jim’s answers.
– No, close. – This is acting.
– Yeah. – Remarkably truthful.
– Yes. – Yeah.
– Wow. – You’re all broken, let’s face it. – Yeah.
– Yeah, yeah. Why do you look at me?
– I don’t know. – Did you?
– The most. – I was looking through you actually. – What about you, Ted?
– I’m with everyone else. A little bit broken and
wouldn’t know what else to do, literally, I’d be a butler maybe, but other than that I have
no other real talents. – I would be a child psychologist. – I’d be a child.
– And you two would have– – That’s right, I think it’s
begun already, actually. (crosstalk drowns out speaker)
(group laughing) Beforehand everybody’s going, how much should we talk about,
what should we talk about? Henry’s sitting there going.
– A noble fucking profession. I love actors, I love writers, directors. I love going to work through a studio. I do think we’re curing cancer and it’s an amazing thing
to make people laugh so it’s a great profession.
– We illuminate life, I mean, that’s the reason
that we do what we do is that we hold a mirror
up to the rest of society. – So I wanna talk a little bit about, you guys have had tremendous
success in this industry and the fame that comes with that. What do you guys wish you
knew about navigating fame and success when you
were first starting out? – I wish that someone had told us about how much of it has to do with that, navigating the business of it and how much you have to
do to get to the point where you get to do the
thing that you love to do. How to manage your time, how
to manage your relationships and your family and how
to do all the things that you need to do to stay a whole person while you’re trying to continue
to give all of that out when you’re on a set, you
know, it’s a lot to do, and I don’t think, I think
we just take it for granted. We look at it and go,
wow, that’s so exciting. I wanna play these different people and these different
characters and you’re like, what’s all this other stuff? And it’s a lot of other stuff. – I’m sorry man, I went
blank halfway through that. Can you?
– Yeah, I’ll go to the next part, when I
had just started, I… (group laughing) As soon I’d said I you
were like, yeah, I, I, me. – What about for the rest of you guys? – I wish how to not worry as much, to navigate to where I
wanted to go, where I dreamt of going without eating
myself alive from the inside. – What were you worried about? – I was worried about everything, about losing it, about not getting it, about not being good enough.
– What about you guys? Sam Malone, Cheers, it’s
so big, it’s, it’s… – Whatever the comfort level I’ve gotten either ’cause I’m 71 or
some degree of success or whatever it is, I like
that I’m actually having fun at a table like this whereas
years ago I wouldn’t have. I would have been too full
of ego, full of embarrassment or full of, I’m now finally enough to be able to sit at a table like this. – I think that’s great.
– To enjoy people. – [Lacey] When did that happen? – A couple years ago, almost literally. When people started calling
me Mr. Danson it was like, oh, all right.
– So what do you wish somebody had told you earlier on? – Relax and enjoy it,
this is an amazing ride. – He said that he was afraid
before we went on the air that people would be
watching reruns of Cheers and then they will tune
into this and be frightened. (group laughing)
– What the, happened to you? Your face, I want an age young camera. – Scared, someone scared him.
– (laughs) Shock white, bam! – But what Ted said is exactly correct that about last Tuesday you
find out that just relax and enjoy and you
actually fit at the table. That’s a great feeling.
– Yeah. – This side probably more than that side. – (laughs) Yeah.
– What about– – [Sacha] You are the
comedy legends, so… – [Lacey] What about you, Sacha. – Oh, you’re gonna go there, huh? All right.
– No, but listen. I mean, firstly, three
of you I grew up on, so it’s slightly intimidating to be at a table with these
guys, particularly Jim. I was scared of becoming famous, but I managed to get away with it because I was lucky enough
to have my characters be famous in England, so for a few years no one actually knew what I looked like. So basically I was able
to have the success without any of the, can I call it hassle? – Yeah.
– ‘Cause I couldn’t really see the great upside other than
if you were single as a guy you would generally be able to date girls that were better looking than you should have been able to date.
– That’s a fair– – Apart from that, I couldn’t
really see the great benefit of being famous, but I
was saying, so I got away with not being famous for many years. I think that fame thing is a tricky thing. – Tricky.
– I mean, I still struggle with it.
– Absolutely. – It’s a weird thing.
– You still struggle with? – It’s a weird thing.
– It’s really on and off. – ‘Cause it’s not, yeah.
– I’m telling you, kids, don’t come to Hollywood, I’m serious. – Your camera’s there, Jim.
(Don laughing) – Jim, what about for you? I mean, you had it on such a grand scale. All of a sudden you were
the biggest movie star in the world and your paychecks
and all of it were public. And I imagine getting out of a car it was being swarmed with people. – And 90% myth as well, so
that’s a tough thing to deal– – What does that feel like, what does it– – People create your life.
– Yeah? – They take elements.
– Right. – That are true and put it in an article so the article looks legit and yet there’s so much of the
article that isn’t true. So that’s something to kind
of teach you that, hey, you know what, in order to go forward I have to let go of what this creation is. And I ultimately found
that even the me I created wasn’t real, so.
– Interesting. – So that left me in an
odd, precarious situation. – The mask was not real.
– And I’ve been writing and creating about that
for a very long time. Many of the things I do have
to do with the disappointment of creating a winning
personality in the world and then eventually for
your own sanity and freedom letting it go, you know? – Is there some–
– I mean, there’s The Fonz sitting right here.
– Yeah. – You can speak to that, right? – Right, okay, don’t look at me. (group laughing) – But whhat you’re saying is exactly right, and it’s
not only what is written. People come to you thinking
you are other than you are. And you just have to
remember ’cause it is so, it’s like a drug, you
want to believe them. You want to believe you can walk on water. And you have to just hold on and realize, you are not any taller, you
don’t know mass any better, you are not smarter because people think you are wonderful on
television or in the movies. – I’ve seen some parts
of the bad version of it, but you know, mostly
it’s somebody stopping me at the grocery store to
tell me they like the thing. I’m like, oh cool, you know? – I’m not jealous of you yet.
(group laughing) You can go ahead of me. – Yep.
– Yep. – The thing that I think that
I’ve sort of struggled with over the last couple years
is like where I grew up. I grew up in a really small town. One of the things I didn’t like about that is the fact that everybody
kinda knows your business, and so when I was a kid all I wanted to do was get to a city and get to anonymity. – Ah-hah.
– And then I started doing this and at the
same time that I got a job that I absolutely love that I
get to be in this experience with people that admire, part of that is sacrificing anonymity, and
that’s a really weird thing. – No one understands.
– It is like you can’t– – What that is, it’s
like walking on the Moon. You can wanna walk on
the Moon all you want, but then you get up there
and there’s no gravity and there’s no air and–
– Yeah, no one told us about that.
– You can’t live there and it’s impossible–
– Who knew the Moon has no gravity?
– So if you guys had anonymity for a day, what would you do?
– Oh, I’d pass out basically. I am so used to–
– (laughs) Yeah. – You know, that it’d be like.
– Why isn’t anybody telling me I’m great?
– I went down to Amazon once with my family–
– I’m in line at a restaurant. – Yeah.
– Yeah? – And almost passed out. Mary accused me of being fake
for no one recognizing me. (group laughing)
I did something smart early on during the Cheers years.
– Cheadle, party of two. – I took all the fame ’cause fame is like being a five-year-old
kid surrounded by adults and all focusing on you. You can drive that five-year-old kid to bounce off the walls,
and I learned to take that, hey, Cheers, and go, “Thank you so much. “I’d like to introduce you “to this marine biologist.”
– Yeah, look over here. – “That I think has a
really important thing “to say about oceans.” And so voom, I would use that energy. And so I’ve actually really enjoyed making use of my fame, you know? – I like that.
– Just like other people might I get to use it, too,
and I use it that way and it’s very effective. – What would you guys do
with anonymity for a day? What’s the thing, I mean.
– I mean, I think I feel like I kinda have it.
– You do? – I have it when I sleep. – Yeah, yours is a little tricky. – So Jim, what would you do?
– Even my dog makes a big deal.
(group laughing) – What would you do, Jim?
– He’s home, he’s home! – If you had a day where
nobody would recognize you? – I don’t think I’d be
that different, honestly. I operate, I dropped the
whole trying to be something for somebody a long time
ago, so I pretty much walk through the world
except when I wanna be funny or I wanna do something
outrageous, you know, kinda tip the boat, you know? I don’t have any trouble being myself, and I don’t have any trouble
saying no when I mean no. I don’t feel there is a
pressing responsibility to please everyone, I’m
not unkind to people. I love people, I would
much prefer saying “hello” and “who are you” and
“what are you doing today?” – Than selfies.
– Than giving a selfie because selfies stop the world. You know, they stop life. You then go like that and
it’s going on Instagram to give people a false sense of relevance. I picture Steve Jobs sometimes. Everybody’s so gaga about Steve Jobs. I picture him in hell running
from demons who want a selfie. And that’s something I
have to kind of live with. Nothing to do with the
person that comes up because they’re programmed to
react to celebrity that way. They don’t even think
of another way to react. – I see it completely differently. When people come up and
you look them in the eye, and you look them in the
eye for three seconds. – Presence.
– They believe that they are with you,
and when they meet me, and I’m really now calm
enough to be present, they are very happy because
of something I’ve done. I’ve made them laugh, they
sat with their grandmother, they sat with their dad,
they sat with the family, whatever it is, and
that is a lovely thing. – So I’m an asshole, is that
what you’re trying to say? – [Henry] So if they
want to take the picture. – I’m an asshole, is that what you’re? (group laughing)
– No, I would not say that. That’s not I wanna say at all. I think you’re very interesting. (group laughing)
– But if you say no to the selfie or like–
– I do. – Or like, I just don’t
wanna take are they, ’cause I’ve done that.
– That’s what I find is presence is good.
– I get that, and I get like– – No, because I always tell them why. I say, you know what, I’d love to but I cannot take it in this restaurant because when you walk away
everybody saw you do it and I will never finish my meal. So thank you so much for asking. – [Don] I get an eye roll
if I say stuff like that – You do?
– I’ve just gone on to, I look at whatever–
– I will go with you and I will be your front man.
– Then I’ll be with you. – It was my birthday last month. – When they come up with an iPhone I say, “Oh, I have a contract with Samsung. “I would love to.”
(group laughing) – I can’t.
– Oh I’m using that. That’s good.
– I like that. – Just throw it down and dance on it. – A lot of you have played these really sort of indelible roles
on iconic projects. I’m looking at you, but
you, there’s many of you at this table, what are
the unexpected pieces of the moving on process?
– (gasps) I was on Happy Days for 10 years.
– Wow. – I committed hubris. I thought not that I was great, but that it was such a big show
and it was so international. – It was everywhere.
– That I was going to go from mountaintop to mountaintop. I was going to beat the system. I looked down and there were grass stains on the knees of my jeans ’cause I slid right into the valley, it was
very difficult to get hired as an actor, and I had no plan B. I was seven years old, I
dreamt of doing this thing. I did it and I did it with an explosion. Now it’s over and I had no
idea how or what to do next. – Was the show being so
syndicated everywhere on all the time, was
that a reminder for you? – No.
– Was that a feeling of like, I mean, I’m sure you felt blessed by it. – I was blessed by it.
– But at the same time, it’s reminding you–
– No, they did a good job of reminding me all on their own. (group laughing) – No, thank you so much,
was a big reminder. – ‘Cause it was everywhere.
– I didn’t need a rerun. – Everywhere, yeah.
– It was ridiculous. Sunday, Monday, Happy Days. Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days. Thursday, Friday, Happy Days. ♪ Happy days, happy days ♪ (Jim and Don vocalizing) – Okay.
– Sorry. – What about for you?
– I was lucky ’cause my character’s job
was to look at the crazy, wonderful, extreme characters around me. I was the audience’s way
into the show, Sam was. So I wasn’t playing such
an iconic character. That allowed me to move on. I wasn’t wacky Sam, not
that you were wacky, but– – [Henry] No, I totally
get what you’re saying. – But iconic and I was–
– I totally get what you’re saying
– Eyes in, so it was easier, I think, for me.
– Hollywood likes to sort of lock people in lanes. They want something, a
specific thing from you. Most often it’s because you’ve
given it to them before. What are the things that
you get approached for that you just say, oh, not this again. – I’m grateful for every opportunity, but I will tell you I have turned down a bunch of offers or
auditions for things that are just bad versions of the
things that I’m doing already. Like, if there is just too
much of a Venn diagram overlap I do somewhat reject it out of hand. – Sure.
– Oh here’s like a sort of gangly guy who’s gonna say
sexually inappropriate stuff in an office and he’s gonna wear a suit. Like okay, well, I’m doing that already. – And a really good version of that. – And also this version
of me is not as funny, so like, I’m sure we all try to like– – I’ve done several of
the parts you turned down. – Yeah.
(group laughing) – [Lacey] Done well, yes. – You know, I mean there
is that thing of like I do, although it does involve saying no to work which I never, ever thought I
would be in a position to do. I have tried to be cognizant of it since the beginning of the
show, do you know what I mean? – Absolutely.
– Yeah. – Yeah.
– I think I went through a period of getting multi-character ideas. So there’d be films where,
hey Sacha, here’s your idea in which you’re gonna play 10 characters. (group laughing)
I get 10 characters. – One of them is Eddie Murphy.
– Yeah, exactly. Okay, this takes a long time. You know, so there was a period where multiple character movies and I think there was no understanding that it takes time, and
obviously some of ’em are gonna work and some aren’t. And then we’ve been
offered, and at one point I think after Borat, because Borat was the first openly
anti-Semitic character, that I suddenly started
getting Jewish characters as if somehow I was the
only Jew in Hollywood. So there was a lot of,
you know, will you play this Jewish character or
this Jewish character? I think somehow Borat being anti-Semitic made me appear that I’d be very
good at a Jewish character. – All of a sudden you
were really, really– – I was Mr. Jewish, yes, yeah, yeah. – You killed it man, amazing. And I love that movie
so much and I love you. – Thank you, and likewise.
– I love your approach to uncomfortable people and
subjects and the way you– – Scaring the crap out of us.
– You just laid bare the people who are supposed
to be in control and aren’t, and I love it.
– Thank you very much. That’s a huge…
– What would you like to play? I mean, in your fantasy,
what would you like to play? – Probably things I’d like to play I probably wouldn’t be
very good at playing, but I don’t know, I
think something that is, when I was at university,
because obviously you’re not in a box there, I would play in the amateur dramatic
stuff I would play this genre that was called tragedy comedy which is something like Cyrano de Bergerac or even like Fiddler on the Roof. You have the character
starts off as really funny, the audience love them, and in
the second a tragedy happens and then because the audience love you and are engaged with you more
because you’ve made them laugh they transition really quickly
into getting sad and crying. So my eyesight’s not
very good and I remember playing Cyrano de
Bergerac and I didn’t know what these white, I’d see
bits of white coming up. And I’d go, what are they? And they go, they were tissues. They were starting to cry. But it’s a genre that you
don’t really see much anymore which obviously existed
back then which is the idea of funny people who can then, because you’ve kind of got
the audience by the kishkas you can then turn it
around and get them crying. So I think something like that would be– – Can I coin a phrase?
– Please. Calamedy.
– I love it. – That’s what I look at it as. That’s my show is calamedy.
– Yeah. It’s about a calamity, and
it’s handled with humor and levity and pretty
much that’s what I do. You know, every trauma,
and I could build a ladder to the stars with the
things that have happened or the things that I’ve had to endure, but they’ve all turned into
something really creative. – That’s great.
– You know, the worst injury I’ve ever had I went to the art studio and I made a painting, you know,
and I sat there and I went, I wish people could be here
to see what that process is, what happens to an artist
when they get hurt, you know? They don’t try to lash
out most of the time. They try to turn it into
a bouquet of flowers. That’s what I wanna do. I wanna turn it into something that– – And I think that’s good,
probably to some degree for all of us here that
you do get to work through your life and your emotions
and through your art. It’s pretty cool.
– Yeah, and alchemize it. – That’s what I meant by we are a mirror because the more you are, I mean, I finally defined cool by
cool is being authentic. And the more authentic we
are as the character we play everybody, no matter man, woman, child, they all say, oh my God, I see myself ’cause we are all the same.
– Yeah. – And so that really is
positive that you take all of that pain and make it into an art that people then can thrive through. – Yeah, I think I’d say that the show that I just did, Who Is America? A guy called Donald Trump got
elected and I was upset by it and that anger and
disappointment and revulsion, I was expressing it by sort
of sending friends emails, you know, sharing articles,
look at this and this. And in the end I felt, I was so angry I felt I actually have
to channel that into some characters.
– Right. – Aimed at–
– Exposing. – Who could sit with some
of those people, you know, ’cause I wanted to sit with those people who were his friends. – Right.
– And that was actually, you know, what you sometimes do through other artistic means I was like, it was strange ’cause
I’d come out of a period of doing a bunch of movies like, I have to go back to
this old style of comedy that’s difficult for me
to do, but I have to do it because I’m so upset, you know? – Yeah.
– So that was my, it was a like, I actually
didn’t really care how the show went down, I mean, SHOWTIME’s gonna be upset about this. I said to them, okay, I go,
I’m not doing any publicity because I just had to get it
out of my system, you know? – Today we’re gonna teach you how you can stop these naughty men and have them take a long nap. – That’s right, and that’s
why you’re going to need a friend of mine, his
name is Puppy Pistol. Now, Philip, will you show
us how to feed Puppy Pistol. – To feed him, take his lunchbox
and push it into his tummy like this, just remember to
point Puppy Pistol’s mouth right at the middle of the bad man. – I’m curious if you’re
sitting with the various people you’ve sat with, when did you
know that you had struck gold? I mean, I know in the case of Sarah Palin you felt like you didn’t have it. What made you realize,
okay, in this one, got it. What were you looking
for, what was success? – You feel it in the room, I mean, the difference of doing stuff on stage and the stuff that we do is
we kinda know when it’s funny ’cause people aren’t
allowed to laugh around us otherwise they ruin the take. Now obviously, you know,
there’s no one else around this, just the cameramen, but
you instinctively know if it’s funny and also
if you’ve got enough. – But is funny the goal or is
exposing somebody the goal? What’s the goal?
– There’s two of them. It has to be, for me, I love being funny so it has to be funny and
then if I can get something that interests me, then I’m
very satisfied with that. I wouldn’t say happy, but you know, if a politician drops his
underpants and charges– – It’s unbelievable
what you are able to do and how you are able to get people to, or maybe it’s not unbelievable because these people are just waiting for an opportunity to share their truth. – Right, yeah.
– On the stage. But that the amount of
truth, the amount of touching the nerve that you’re able to
do that we can watch at home. I’m just cringing when I watch
your show, in a great way. – Yeah, thank you, truly.
– Yeah, laughing and cringing. – And yet you’ve said,
when you get O.J. Simpson sitting across from you
and you’re disappointed that he doesn’t confess to murder. – I didn’t say I was disappointed. I had an absurdly ambitious aim (group laughing)
which was to get OJ to– – A Perry Mason ending.
– And then I shot that right at the end of the
show and I had had achieved some things that I was surprised by, so I never thought that a politician would get his buttocks
out and charge, I never. I was surprised by a lot of– – The art dealer with the public hair. – Yeah.
– Oh my God. – Was just too much for me.
– Okay, so– – I do like the idea that a
bunch of people were like, has anybody just asked OJ if he did it? Has anybody just asked him?
– That’s why I thought I’d go, could I–
– Just get him wrecked. – Could I–
– Get him shit faced, just ask him.
– Well, he can’t get wrecked because once he gets wrecked then he’s violating the
terms of his parole. – Oh, I see.
– So, I did try to, but I still trained up
with an FBI interrogator. – Oh, wow.
– Because I thought, and again this is reaching too high,
but I thought, let me try it because it was hidden camera. I though, would he, if
he’s ever going to admit it it would be in a hotel
room where he thinks he’s gonna earn a lot of
money and so I trained up with supposedly the
greatest FBI interrogator and eventually he goes,
“Well who’s this for?” And I go, “It’s for O.J.” He goes, “That’s gonna
be tough, but okay.” And then he sort of trained me up. I didn’t manage to get him
to confess to the alleged– – He’s not in your ear, there’s no earwig. You went in and just did it.
– Well, the FBI have a way with people who are
finding it hard to cofess to actually get them to–
– Wow, to give it up. – To admit to stuff,
so there is a sequence that I’d memorized to try and
get O.J. to, but it failed. – But that you’d gone
through that much of a, ’cause it doesn’t look like that. That’s the only thing, it
doesn’t look like, wow, he’s checking off a bunch of boxes. It just looks like you’re
having a conversation. – Yes.
– But it’s clearly a real skill because these
people just vary with no, very fastly just move into
these places where you’re like, I would never say, I would never– – So what’s the sequence?
– Well obviously the sequence is–
– You just say, come on. Like, come on.
– Yeah, come on. A lot of questions, come on.
– Seriously. – Just you and me.
– What he said, yeah. – That was basically part of the thing. Part of the thing was–
– Come on, then you say, come on.
– He said I didn’t kill a guy. Come on, it might be that she
just got really depressed, walked into the body
bag, zipped herself up and threw herself off the yacht, you know. And then suppose it is being
blase about the murder. – Right.
– And then part of it is there’s a kind of incremental
series of questions where you say, you know,
how did you get away with what you did that night? And then you go, how did you get away with what you did to them that night. And then, it’s sort of an incredible art, but he never admitted. – I’m just sorta nervous now
to be sitting around the table. – I know, I know.
– Yeah. – You’re gonna start asking me questions. – Hey Ted and Sacha.
(mimics phone slamming) – I’m hoping you’ll tear me open, man. I can’t live with this anymore. (warm instrumental music) – When were the last time you guys were sort of genuinely
nervous to tell a story or maybe it’s how the
story would be received. – [Don] Yes. – Yes, and.
(group laughs) – Yes, I mean, yeah, if
you’re really gonna be honest and truthful I think you’re–
– So when was– – Kinda putting yourself out there. – Give me an example of when that was. – [Timothy] Do you mean
like real life or work-wise? – No, work-wise.
– Work-wise, okay. – I’ve only ever been disappointed
when I wasn’t authentic, when I had reached for
something that was not based in some authenticity, even if it’s a wildly animated character.
– What did that look like? – If it isn’t based in
some sort of reality then I feel I’ve raped myself.
– Which is painful. – Yes, it’s difficult for some. But you know, that’s when
I feel really uncomfortable when I’m on a track that isn’t authentic. – But it takes a while.
– Yeah. – To get to that realization.
– I’d never been disappointed ever with authenticity.
– Right. – And I was really frightened
about it until a few years ago when I started kinda sharing
how I feel about things and my truth and there
was a voice telling me that if I actually didn’t score, if I didn’t hit a funny line
every at least 30 seconds they would think I was pompous and they would turn against me and say, who they fuck do you think you are? And I’ve never had that reaction, ever. – I’d like to ask a
question actually to you, which is that your style of performance was completely unique,
like you’d never seen somebody give, first he’s
absolutely roll on the floor funny but you’d never seen anybody give as, put as much energy into–
– Yeah, physical, vocal, all of it, yeah.
– For it to be physical. I mean, it was like seeing an electricity somehow unleashed–
– Whirling Dervish. – So I’m interested, when
you were in the middle of performance did your state change? What was the feeling when you’re– – It was a like a fugue state, really, it’s like a fugue state, but you know I– – Like a what, sorry?
– Fugue state. – Like a fugue state.
– Thank you, yeah. – Like you wake up afterwards.
– Yeah. – You know, and go, what happened? – That’s what it looked like.
– But it was, you know, Ace Ventura was a way
to rip down arrogance and that, you know, the
powers that be in any case and at the same time it’s pure love. There’s so much love
in it, in that mocking except for the one I’m
mocking necessarily, but even them I just wanna go, you know this is bullshit, right? You know you’re full of it. But the performance is
love, it’s a dance for me. And I love actors who employed every bit of their
instrument, you know, I mean, you look at James Dean, this
is a man who was expressing everything with every, you know, he didn’t just get
emotional, he was emotion. It was tearing him apart! You know, and it was everything was in it, and I love that kind of thing,
so I always think of myself as a kind of painting, you know? And it’s an abstract
painting a lot of times. So I know the method, I know Stanislavski and I know Meisner and I know
what’s good from them for me. I use it, and at the
same time I’m painting. So don’t tell me the eyes can’t both be on this side of the head.
– I think sort of unlike any other comic performance
I think in television, film history I’ve never really
seen that kind of energy exuded, I mean, it’s hilarious, but I think it’s completely unique. – It was so unique for me, it was so unique that when
I first saw it I went, “Oh, no, no, no, no,” turned it off. And then I came back
and turned it on again. I mean, it literally
took me a while to go, oh fuck, look at this.
– This can’t happen! – It was so new to my eyes.
– You can’t do that! – It was like, it took me.
– Well, I had the most wonderful experience
before Ace came out. I was in Chicago doing a live gig. My manager sat me down at
a restaurant in Chicago and they said, “We got kinda bad news. “Siskel and Ebert killed you” And don’t know what’s next from here. – This was before Ace Ventura.
– Three days before it came out they
had the words on a page. And I just looked and it said,
the worst movie ever made. Worst actor ever made, this is the end. This is whatever.
– It was completely original. No one had seen it, so.
– It was so scathing. I’ve been disappointed so
many times in my career I have an automatic downshift. I go, well, okay, don’t
know how it’s gonna happen, but I’m gonna have to break a
basement window or something. And what happened to my
just absolute delight was that by the time
I had done Truman Show Siskel and Ebert did an
entire episode just about me and called it Jim
Carrey, Clown With Class. And I get emotional thinking about that. It was incredible, like they
just said, we were wrong. And I’ve never seen a critic say that. But of them said, we were wrong. We didn’t know what we were seeing. – That’s validation.
– And that’s just a wonderful thing.
– So I’d asked about what makes you nervous,
I’m curious, in your case, I mean, you took on, I
guess it’s the antidote to the Me Too movement
with the Not Me movement. But I am curious sort of in that, and I believe that started
on some level as your idea. Do you get nervous, do you think about where that line is,
what is that navigation? – Well, I mean, I think
like sort of specifically to this show I’ve never worried
only because the writers involved are so good at
handling those kinds of things and always making sure that the
joke is on the right person. So I never, I think having
a back stop of talent like is in our writers room is incredible. But as a performer I never
really have gotten nervous about it just because ultimately the joke is never on any of the people he is saying terrible things about. It’s always on how
terrible of a person he is. – He is.
– Yeah. (crowd applauding) – Go ahead, say something.
– Oh, no thank you. – Yeah, no, you have to,
they’d love it, you have to. Look at how hot she is! Yeah, I get sprung.
– Oh gosh, thank you all so much, my Jonie, he
just swept me off my feet. And I know that when
he’s elected president he’s gonna sweep all the
dirt out of Washington, so (crowd cheering)
we’re just gonna need to find a broom that’s
tall enough for him. (crowd laughing) – I just want to make it clear that she does do all the housework.
– I do. – Because it’s politics
and not only US politics but then world politics
there is not a single thing under the sun that we
can’t be cynical about. And moving forward, I think I
will miss that a little bit. – There’s no side to it either. Everybody’s in the frying pan.
– Right. – That’s terrible.
– Everybody is in there. I will miss that level of
cynicism, but at the same time I am looking forward
to not being so cynical about every single thing
that you come in contact. But yeah, I do think
that nobody in making, like the Not Me joke wants to
have a joke on the victims. Nobody would think that was funny. So I do think that from the
beginning it was just like, oh, they found a really
good way to do that. I just had a dumb, I
was like in my backyard. I was raking and I had a dumb pitch and I called up our
showrunner and pitched him the very beginning of
it and they built it out into what it became.
– Ballsy. – With you I’ve heard you
say that your showrunners sort of take storylines or jokes and they take it as far
as they can possibly go, and then you sort of
rein them in and you say, you can say that, I’m.
– You’re on camera. You can say that joke.
(group laughing) You wanna come in and do that one? I gotta walk around in the space of that. No, I’m not doing that.
– I mean, can you give us some examples of that
and where your line is? – And ruin it right now?
– Yeah, let’s go for that Seth and Evan.
– Yeah, set your career on fire, no, they just push
hard and I think they do it because you don’t really know
where the line is sometimes until you’ve stepped
over it and you go, oh, that was the line, I
guess we’re over here now. But I think that the protection is always that the joke is always on the people that are saying the line,
we’re not making fun of the people that are the subject of it. It’s that these people are so blind to, they have no self awareness
that they are hilarious because they’re trying to process this through their prism of blindness, and that’s why they are
hilarious, you know. They are the people who are the joke. Both of the writers are Jewish
and they like to throw in some anti-Semitic jokes.
– Oh, they’re the worst. – And I’m like, I’m not doing that. You can say that one, I’ll
make it the Black joke. – Another thing that happens in your show is a tremendous amount
of drugs, of cocaine and I remember hearing Seth Rogen, one of your producers say
that cocaine in the ’80s is much funnier than cocaine today. – Correct.
– A, why, and B, what are the sort of unexpected challenges of playing high, and I’m
guessing there’s other people at this table who have–
– Oh, yes. – I’m so blasted right now.
– You all. – I didn’t mean now, I meant.
– You’re freaking me the fuck out.
(group laughing) Can we move on?
– You look like a talking sponge. – That’s why this came up, isn’t it? – Yeah, yeah.
– For sure, sorry. – No, it’s, yeah, I think it’s funny then because we are now, because we’re here and we can see where
it’s headed and going, that’s not gonna work out well for you. I know you think now that
this is brilliant juice, but it’s not gonna work out.
– It drove the industry in the ’70s.
– Exactly. – And it was–
– I mean, I know people that were when I started,
I’m not gonna say who in the show, but they were
getting their per diem in coke. – Yeah.
– The prop truck was where you got your cocaine. – To go, of course.
– What? – Absolutely.
– I’m not trying to be a square, but my God, I feel like I have 1/2 a glass of wine and I worry about call the next morning, like I’m such a loser.
– It was just the culture of it, it was just like do it.
– Well, you gotta be deep into the addiction to
actually be able to handle it. – Yeah, that’s true.
(group laughing) – You’ll get there,
kids, you’ll get there. – Plenty far along.
– Okay, but what about it playing on screen?
– There’s hope for you, yet. – Yeah, there’s hope, you’ll get there. – Is that fun, easy,
or is that harder than? – You know, you’re kinda wired already. And the B12 doing it over and over again. And it can kind of get you on.
– That’s what you take? – Approximating the high.
– That’s what it is? – Yeah, it’s B, or coke.
– Or actual coke, one of the two.
– Like Jim said, if you’re already there, then
your tolerance is so high that you need a little
help, then you know– – Powdered elephant tusk.
– Exactly. – That line you were talking about. – That’s the line.
– Yeah, right. – Oh, I just stepped over
and it’s about that thick and it’s a rail, it’s not actually a line. (laughing)
– Yeah. – Jim was talking a bit about
this validation of hearing from the people who perhaps
earlier in your career didn’t have the same
things to say about you. I’m curious, you got on
stage having won the Emmy. You pulled out of your pocket a speech that was one that you
had written decades ago. How much of that was
career validation for you? – I loved winning it. It sits on my dining room table, which is directly opposite the front door. So when the man delivers my
Lipitor he gets to see it. (group laughing) But that’s it, I never
thought, oh, I deserve it. I never thought, oh, it took so long. I thought, okay, in
this moment I’ve won it. I’ll tell you what I was not prepared for. When you’re nominated
you think that is great. Everybody says, oh my
gosh, just to be nominated. – It’s an honor.
– Which only lasts until your tush hits the
seat and then you want it. But people treat you differently
when you have won it. – How so?
– I don’t know. They literally treat you different. Oh my God, and I’m talking
about on the street, in the industry, when
you are an Emmy winner there is something, a
patina they put on you that I thought, this is strange. – Do you get a car?
– Huh? – Do you get a car?
– I didn’t get a car. – Oh.
– I didn’t get a car. – I had a different, I was
nominated nine times in a row before I won.
– Right. – And when I won people would say, well you have, like
what, 10 of them, right? People don’t know.
– Right. – Yeah.
– People don’t, and my experience was like–
– They didn’t know you didn’t win before.
– Yeah, and the mantle of you were robbed was
taken from me when I won. (group laughing) And you were robbed was kind of a nice… – No, I don’t know, the
you were robbed thing is a little bit tiresome.
– You know, I enjoyed it. – Because you don’t enter this
business for awards you know? – Tell some other boy
tonight that you were robbed. – Can’t use that love anymore.
– I never felt robbed. I was just happy that I won when I won. And when I turned around
and I could feel the warmth and the pressure of having
almost no time to give the speech and the only thing that
I wrote 43 years ago was, kids, you can go to bed now, and of course the kids are
now 35, 37, and 40, and 47. – They’re already in bed.
– Yeah, they’re already in. – I was there that night, I was robbed. (group laughing) – In these characters that
you are currently inhabiting what are the pieces of
yourselves, consciously or not, that you have sorta infused into them? – The demon that I
play, the eternal demon? – Yes, that one.
– That seems like a one-to-one for me just having this for a few times. – Yeah, was the performance. When people ask, “What’s your process?” Nowadays I try the words on over and over and over again and slowly if the words are really well-written words,
which I’ve been blessed with, the words start to inform me. It becomes a dance that
comes out of doing the words enough time that you then perform it. I get to play this character Michael, and if I do the words well
then some sort of character comes out and I’m
enjoying it in the moment so I guess I’m there in the moment, but I can’t say that I…
– There are pieces of you in it.
– ‘Cause I just found out this week that underneath
my human skin suit that I make myself more
palatable to the humans, I’m a two-story fiery squid, so, you know. – [Don] That’s what I would’ve guessed. – What draws you to that role? What do you see?
– It wasn’t the role. We signed on to Mike Schur’s idea. He literally talked to us
for two hours in a room. There was no script and we went, okay. And I’m really glad I did
because it’s about something. It’s about decency, it’s about
there are ripple effects, there are consequences to your actions. And in this kind of day and
age is really, it’s a lovely, it’s disguised in nine-year-old fart humor and lots of visual
magic, but we are talking about something that matters. – Who are you really? – All right, all right, fine,
just give me one more second. – One. – Serious question.
– Yeah. – Should we kill them?
– What? – It might work. We kill them, go back through the door, somehow grab them before
they get to the bad place and regroup from there, I
could kill them right now. You know, it would be easy, their bodies are very poorly made. They’re mostly goo and juice. You just take the juice
out and then they’re dead. – Jim, you said if the Jeff
Pickles role were presented a few years before it ultimately was you wouldn’t have been ready for it. Why not, and what made
you ready when it was. – (sighs) The struggle to
maintain your innocence, maintain that wonder and that divine spark in a world that’s seemingly
cruel and out of control. Also, the grief aspect of
it, the how do you keep that together when you’ve been
hit by a freight train? And you know, I have, and
I know what that’s like. I don’t believe that any
actor can really do a part unless that part finds them. You don’t find parts, they find you when you’re ready to do them
and when you’re informed and you have those feelings. I want to do a show about
death, something special. – I don’t think we want to
do a show about passing on. – No, not passing on, death. I don’t want to say my
son is off cloud surfing or hula-hooping with a halo. I want to say death.
– Well, it’s brave of you but I don’t think you’re
ready to talk about this. – I don’t think I’m not ready
like you think I’m not ready. I think we need to heal.
– Who’s we? – I mean, what about
you, taking on this role? What was it about this guy? – I love him. I’ve only taught four or five times, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It is written so well that
I don’t know what to do. (group chuckling) And again, everything is, we are blessed with wonderful writers because
if it’s not on the page it ain’t on the stage. I love the people that I work with. They are an incredible
ensemble that make me better. And I just thoroughly love
going to work every day. – (knocks on door) Cousineau? – Hey, Private Pyle, how you doing? – Oh, let’s not call me that. – The story, just an idea. There’s an embellishment
called the Dennehy Balloon. Actually it’s a colostomy
bag filled with blood that Brian Dennehy used during Deathtrap. When he was shot, he would. (groans) – To piggyback on what everyone has said and that you ape and act
like you came up with it. (group laughing) That, you know, it’s true. You are bringing yourself to these roles. We don’t completely shut
off and we’re not there. We’re there and you’re exercising and you’re accessing different
parts of your personality, different parts of your pain,
different parts of your joy and trying to find where
you and this character meet. And sometimes you’re reaching for things that are out there beyond you that you’re trying to scaffold to and other times you’re like,
that’s a little too close. Can we not do that beat right now? But if you’re really honest, and I think all of us probably
have a good relationship with the writers that
we’re working with that– – Absolutely.
– You’re in a conversation. It’s not like they just stick
it all on the page and go, say all of that, you know. You’re always in a conversation, and when you’re in that conversation you’re trying to get to the best iteration of what that thing is so
you are bringing yourself to these moments, and
that’s when it sings. I mean, my writers are
perfectly happy for me to improv a scene and they go, “That’s good, that was better, move on.” You know, best answer wins. – Mm.
– I’m gonna call an ambulance. – What kinda car you drive, kid? – Oh, ’cause I drive a Honda
and you drive a Porsche? – I don’t drive shit, I get driven. – Mm-hmm.
– In an Lamborghini limousine. AKA a Lambo limo, AKA a Limbo. – So you get none of the
speed of a Lamborghini and none of the comfort of the limousine? – Yeah, but it costs
twice as much as both. This guy is not a car
guy, you’re not a car guy. – I don’t like your fucking tone. – You don’t know shit about cracks. Who are you, Pfaff, who are you? – What were the moments when
it’s too close and it’s, I don’t know?
– Well, you know, it’s funny. In talking about the too
closeness is not just, there’s other people that it affects. So sometimes I don’t talk about it because it’s very personal, but I have had more than one instance in
jobs that I’m working on where you’re like, why is
this storyline happening that’s also happening in my life that these people didn’t
know anything about. – Oh, interesting.
– This is something that I’m getting to work
through and getting to play with these other great
collaborators around me that’s really something
that I’m dealing with in my personal life. – Yeah, there’s a synchronicity. – Yeah.
– In everything. – Yeah, it very often happens to me I’ve found in my work, and you’re going, what am I pulling toward me? You know, it’s not just
that things are out there for you to go get, a lot
of times these things are kind of coalescing
around you and you’re like, wow, did I pull that in so
that I could work through this in some way, and it just
feels like that a lot of time. So I always feel like there’s
a lot of me in whatever– – It what you’re doing.
– Whatever I’m doing. (upbeat instrumental music) – And Sacha, I have to ask you, what are the wildest circumstances
under which you secured or perhaps didn’t secure
an interview for the show. In some cases you’re
undercover for a while as you’re trying to get it. In some cases you’re trying to
pass through major security. – Yeah, to get in the room with the person is already a terrible ordeal.
(group laughing) So we managed to secure an
interview with Ben Carson, but it was at a hotel in D.C. I’d been living undercover
for three weeks in D.C. because I didn’t wanna
have any sightings of me. – Wow, wow.
– Because if somebody asked for a picture of me.
– They’re like, oh, it’s him. – What does that look like, then? What does living undercover?
– It means that no one can see your face for three weeks.
– Peeing in jars and stuff like that.
– So masks, is that masks, wigs, is it masks, wigs
or it just staying inside? – I don’t want to go
into what I was wearing, but it’s mainly staying inside and you’re never going
through, you’re trying to avoid being seen.
– Okay. – Or you can’t use your
credit card or anything for as long as you’re undercover because the first person we interviewed when we got into D.C. was Bernie Sanders. They were concerned, his
team actually are great, are great because they
immediately called up the channel and they said, “What’s going on?” But the channel didn’t know
that we were making the show so they actually honestly
said, well, you know. It’s fine, they then said,
well how do we know this isn’t a terrorist group that are
trying to attack politicians and we might have a congressional hearing. So there was a game of cat and mouse. So I knew I had to kind
of stay undercover. Then with Ben Carson we
managed to get an interview and that hotel that we picked, there was a problem because
there was a conference of other politicians and there
was Condoleezza Rice there and a bunch of other
kinda high-end politicians and the place was full of Secret Service. So me even getting to the room
was a kind of huge problem ’cause there’s Secret Service.
– ‘Cause you had to be Sacha with your ID.
– Well no. You don’t have present your
ID at a hotel, but yes, he came with his own Secret Service, so I’m in the other room saying, and there were probably about
50, 60 Secret Service there. He comes with two Secret Service, but you know, we’d made a mistake. We’d gone to the worst
hotel ever to interview him where all these other
Secret Service are around to make sure nothing happens.
– Right, right. – And by the way, the
Secret Service there, it sounds like complete paranoia, but some of them disguise
themselves as staff. And I’m obviously disguised.
– Wow. – Oh my God, balls.
– So I’m in the other room and I realize he’s got
his own Secret Service and I get on the phone
to my lawyer and I go, what happens if they ask to see ID? – Yeah?
– Yeah. – Like if they go and see
my ID and they find out it’s me and blast it you know.
– And blast it. – I said, “Listen, I’ve got fake ID. “Can I present my fake ID?” And they go, “No.” At the end of the phone he goes, “No, you’re gonna go to jail.”
– Yeah, exactly. – I go, “What happens if the fake ID “falls on the floor and the
Secret Service pick it up?” – You’re not actually presenting it, okay. – Yes, and he goes, “All
right, there may be a way “out of it, but you might get arrested.” So you’re going into a scene knowing that you’re trying to work out the percentage of something bad happening. And then we booked another room which was in case we got
busted by the Secret Service that I would go to, so his
team, I made one slip up. This is the kind of, this is the problem of the stuff that I do which is that you make one mistake
and the scene is dead. – Right.
– Mm-hmm. – So it was tragic for me
because he was so high up, but Ben Carson literally,
his foot was stepping on set and the White House Press
Secretary pulled the interview ’cause I was playing this
Finnish unboxing character and I had these kids toys and he said, “Why have you got all those kids toys?” I was like, “You know, we’re
going to do some unboxing.” And he said, “Unboxing, why?” And he suddenly realizes
that a member of the cabinet is coming in to unbox and he
had great instincts, this guy, and pulled it so the Secret
Service pulled Ben Carson but then the rest of the
Secret Service in the building are alerted to the fact
that something’s happening. And obviously they have to
treat it as a serious thing. So I then go to the
second room that is booked under a different name.
– Oh my God. – But then we have a
ex-Secret Service bodyguard and he’s like, “They’re listening in.” I actually thought that
the bodyguard was paranoid. But it turned out that he was right. And then we’re playing cat and mouse with the Secret Service.
– They’re trying to find you and you’re jumping around.
– Yes, they don’t know who I am because they have to treat it as a security threat.
– Right, oh my God. – And then we’re trying to
work out how do we get– – (mimics silenced gun shooting)
Oh, it’s the comedian dude. I like that guy.
(group laughing) – And then also you’re
trying to keep it undercover off even this, then it’s,
how do I get me out of, we know that Secret
Service in the building are looking for this guy.
– Right. – This Finnish guy. They don’t know what’s happened, but somebody’s tried to do something. – So how do you get out?
– To a cabinet minister. And then we’re working out
how to get out of the hotel. And you know, we’ve got a back route. We always have escape routes,
but then we find out– – Now you’re gonna get the interview. – And we find out they’re
at the escape route. – What are the escape route?
– They’re at the escape route so we ended up going
through the front door, the main entrance, and
the guy with me, he said, “If anyone comes towards
you, I’m going to stop them.” I go, “What does that mean?” And he goes, “I’m gonna stop ’em.” I go, “Is that legal?” He goes, “yes,” and he goes,
“you just have to get from here “from the elevator to that car.” And so a lot of, 80% of
what I do is this getting in and getting out.
– Wow. – Of situations.
– Do you get nervous. – I’m absolutely terrified.
– And yet you go back for more and more and more.
– The junkie. – I don’t know, yeah. I don’t know what it is,
it becomes addictive. I mean, we did this scene
where I pitch building a mega-mosque in this town
and we knew there’d be upset, but you have the other stuff–
– Oh, they were really upset. – They were really upset, but
then you’re in this situation where you say, okay, we wanna make sure that even when they get upset we know they’re probably gonna get upset because they probably
hate the idea of Muslims coming into their town, we wanna make sure that nobody’s going to pull a gun. And so we had a security
guard there and he said, “Listen, you know, the great thing is “you’re all right,” because
I had a clipboard, he goes, “I’ve made you a bulletproof clipboard.” And I go, “What do you mean?”
– You’re Wonder Woman. – Because if someone
pulls a gun, you know, someone snuck in a gun and
they’re gonna try and shoot you pull out, use the clipboard and
just cover yourself with it. – Yeah, just deflect the bullet. – I go, “It’s this big.” I go, “What do I put it over,
like the heart or the head?” – Center of mass, they
usually go for center of mass. – Groin, groin.
– Yeah, so I was like, he goes, “I don’t know, because
that’s the size clipboard “that I was told,” so
again, it’s not really– – An actor’s choice.
– An actor’s choice. – So we had like a scene like that and it got fairly aggressive
at the end and somebody, he said, you know, it got nearly violent because I accused somebody
of being a Muslim. I said, “Excuse me sir, are you a Muslim?” And he’d go, “You say that
again, I’m gonna come up.” – Yeah, he said he was
gonna kill you, yeah. – Yeah, yeah.
– That’s on camera. – And then, so, you know, I think, you seem like you’re a Muslim,
and they got very offended, and it became confrontational actually. – And what’s going through your head? I’m gonna risk this, I got my clipboard? – I go deep into character at that point. If it feels like it’s going to get violent then you can’t, the worst
thing you can do is crack and then realize that
you’re playing a character. You don’t go, hey, oh,
I just wanna mock you and expose your racism.
– Right. – Then you’re really in trouble and then what I’m doing in my head,
and again, I’m English, not really fully aware of what’s going on, but I’m trying to edit the scene so I’m trying to, I know the
beginning setup to the joke, the joke, the following joke,
and then I need the out. – How do you get out, yeah.
– And then I need the out for that.
– The shot fired is probably your out.
(group laughing) – I wanna get out.
– Clipboard! It has the end on the end.
– I wanna get an out before– – That’s astounding.
– Before you’re killed. – I have fucked up so many scenes where the only threat was
like rolling into lunch. Like, that’s the only
shit that was on my mind. – My biggest problem is overhead lighting. I’m 57, man, it scares the hell out of me. – It’s interesting, in a scene
like that, so we then go, okay, let’s do the scene again. And we know that it’s gotten
the guy at the end he goes, you know, now I know why
you took your gun so fast ’cause we took their guns off them, weapons off them before they got on a bus that took ’em to the river. Then we knew that the next group that were coming into the room, ’cause we wanted to do the scene again. Do another take, we have to get another. They would have their
cars outside the hole and we were concerned
that they would go out, get upset, get their
guns, and bring them in. – Sure.
– And so at that point you’ve gotta act as the producer. And so I had a meeting with everyone. I just said, listen, we’re now aware of how angry people are getting. I want you to opt in to the next scene. In other words, I’m assuming
everyone’s going home unless you say now, I’m gonna stay because we’re aware
that we can’t guarantee that we’re not gonna be stuck in this hole and everyone with their guns outside and not letting us out, you know? So we had, it was a kind of odd– – Do people, I mean, how
many stay, how many go? – In the end I forced quite
a lot of people to go home. – You did?
– Yes. ‘Cause everyone said,
“We’re staying,” and I said, “No, actually you guys are going.” You know, and obviously you
have an escape wherever, but at the end of the
day we’re in a situation where violence is being threatened. We know that most people
had their own weapons and we knew that it was a possibility that we might be on lockdown. We might have to stay in the building. – How do you deal with people,
do people have to sign off? – That I can’t get into, but.
– Okay. – That scares you?
– C’mon, c’mon, do the FBI. – ‘Cause your faces as he’s
telling these stories is enough. – No, it’s wonderful, but
it is, comedy is dangerous. It is dangerous.
– Comedy is dangerous. – It truly is, I mean,
there were many nights at The Comedy Store where I
ended up on someone’s table with a broken beer bottle, you know. I mean, it got crazy, insane.
– I’m sure. – Oh, absolutely.
– Yeah, I’m sure, listen, you have–
– Or drove the entire audience out because I stayed up
too long when they hated me I would go at them, it was not, okay, you don’t like what I’m doing.
– And you used to stay up there for hours, didn’t you?
– There was one particular night, in fact,
where I stayed up for two hours because the audience hated me so I just– – Punish.
– Made it an exercise in self-punishment and
punishment for them. – And it’s kinda finesse.
– But what drives that, why? – I just, anti-authority,
you know, I’m that way. And I’d rather get hit than back down. – Wow, I’d drop to the floor.
(group laughing) – I’m with you.
– So yeah, one night I stayed up so long
that chairs were flying through the air, it was
like New Year’s Eve. There was swizzle sticks
and whatever and glass and things like that and then I said– – Where was this, in LA?
– The Comedy Store. It was a Saturday night in the main room. 250 people paying top dollar and whatever and it became a war.
– Were you Jim Carrey yet or was this en route?
– I was en route. – Did you feel like you
ultimately, did you win the war? – [Sacha] If you’re Jim
Carrey, sit down on this chair. – Well, I don’t know if I–
– Yeah. – Well, I’ll tell you how the war ended. So I finally got offstage to huge applause just because I mentioned that I was going to leave the stage.
(group laughing) And they were just like. (growls) Like that, and I left the stage. Then I crawled through the
audience on hands and knees, popped up behind the piano
during the host’s part and started banging on
the keys and singing, I hate you all, you gave me cancer. And it was an entire improvised song– – And they loved that.
– No, they got up. One at a time the tables got up and– – Did you write it on the spot? – Yeah, it was just blaming
them for the cancer cells that are being formed, and
so I, you know, I did that until the entire audience left, literally the entire audience
except for five people who stood around the piano
and when I was done in a sweat they said, “This is the greatest thing “we’ve ever seen in our lives.” – But that’s performance art.
– Yeah, yeah. Now it turns into comedy.
– And then I got in the car and I cried all the way home.
– You did? – Yeah.
– Wow. – Because I don’t wanna
make people unhappy. I’m here to make people
happy, but I do have– – So you lost.
– A rebellious nature. So sometimes that gets out of hand. – What a conundrum.
– This is a bit of a left turn, but I wanna ask, why do you guys do comedy?
– You have a thing in you where it literally pushes
you to say the joke either at a party or on the sound stage. You literally have timing,
you cannot teach it. You can’t read about it in a book. It is in you or it isn’t,
and that’s just the truth. It is more difficult
than I think than doing just straight drama,
and we get less respect because it looks so easy. – And much less respect after today. – Hush.
– No, but it’s like being a surfer, it’s like being a surfer. You’re in the water and
there’s a wave that’s coming and it’s an opportunity to be funny. And if you have that instinct
you’re sitting there going, am I gonna ride this wave? It’s a bit dangerous,
but am I gonna ride it? – I don’t know that you make the decision. The image is exactly
right, here comes the wave. And I don’t think, well, for me anyway, I don’t think sometimes I have the choice. I think that wave is coming
and (mimics wind whistling) I’m on that board come hell or
high water, no pun intended. – Well, maybe I’m kidding
myself, but I always feel like, especially if you’re saying something that’s slightly dangerous,
there’s that cliffs of Acapulco moment.
– Right. – Where the tide has come in,
you either dive or you don’t. – Right.
– And if you don’t dive it’s gone forever.
– Right. – But you know, most of
the time you gotta go. – You gotta go.
– Even if you belly flop. – And I also think it’s something, that to piggyback on
something that Sacha said, it breaks down walls and it’s
immediately, it hits people, and when you know when people
feel like something’s funny and even if they don’t
wanna laugh you’re like, no, that one got you.
– Yeah. – And once you’re in
there then you can turn it and you can make poignant moments and you can make them feel things deeply because they’re unguarded. They’ve let down their
defenses and you’re in there and you can move around in there. And it’s easy to do–
– But you’ve excelled in both spheres, I mean it’s… – I guess, I mean it’s just,
I never saw the separation between it when I was coming up, which is where we all probably, you’re still that kid, eight, nine, 10, whatever years old that
was like, oh, this is cool. I can play this character and people laugh and then people are sad. It’s still kind of that,
although in 55 years it’s still the same thing
except it’s more disarming for me, I feel, when you come
at it from a comedy standpoint because people–
– I don’t know, Hotel Rwanda I remember just that being–
– Unbelievable. – So impactful, you know,
however much we can do in comedy, I mean, that really changes
your mindset about it. – Yeah, and even in that,
I mean, even in that at the beginning we
really, he was disarming. The character was telling
jokes and he was ebullient and messing around and cracking jokes. You get in with him because you’re like, oh, I like this person. This person makes me feel
comfortable, my guard is down. And once your guard is down now you can take people everywhere. And that’s something
that comedy’s easy to do. – I think comedy is like
not always the end game. People like Bill Maher and–
– It’s about the art. – And Colbert and they’re
attacking this subject in a comedic way, but I do believe that when it comes down to it
and the wolf is at the door there ain’t nothing funny about that. And if you give them a
joke about it, that’s fine. It heals in that moment,
but it also is an out for the audience and for the enemy. And the enemy goes, is this a joke? I want people to know how serious I am about the threat that faces us, you know? And if I make it a joke,
I can, that’s part of it, but if I make it a joke
it’s not as serious– – Okay, well I watched
Stephen Colbert and Seth at the end of the night because it is like an antidote for the day. – Yes, mm-hmm.
– And let me just say underneath those jokes, they are serious. – Yeah, for sure.
– Well, there’s no joke unless you’re on the
nerve of the thing anyway. You know, if it’s just frivolous, and that’s something we
talk about on the show, it has to really be about
something that’s grounded and that’s impactful or
the joke has no power. – So there you go, you
are completely correct. When it is frivolous, you are so right, then you’re missing the
whole opportunity, but boy, when you walk that edge.
– That’s right on the nerve. – Wow.
– Yeah. – It is, but I think there’s
a time to say things straight so they know what you mean.
– I just feel like, I don’t know that I had much
of a choice in the matter. Like, I have always been somebody I think from when I was
a kid, was able to see the serious things, I just have only ever been able to deal with
them through this lens and this lens of like, oh, well I need to make myself comfortable in
this by coming at it sideways. And there is, I don’t
know if you guys did, I had a conversation with
a friend of mine about this recently that sometimes
when stuff comes up with your family, I don’t
know if you’re a bomb thrower, sometimes throwing bombs,
sometimes they explode, but it just, I don’t know when it happened but just ever since I was a kid in whatever situation it
was it was like, all right, well, I’m just gonna put this
in here and see how that goes. Like, it is fun.
– Absolutely. – And I do feel like you can–
– But taking that risk is great.
– There is a risk there, but the reward sometimes is, like, this is an impenetrable person
and you got in with that. – Yeah.
– Right. – That is a really amazing
thing, and whether or not you can get to it a different
way, certainly possible, but my way into it has
always been through that. – Complete this sentence. I knew I made it in Hollywood when. – I wasn’t dead yet.
(Lacey laughs) – Interesting, when you weren’t dead yet? – Kinda, I mean, really
people ask that question. I really feel like they say,
well your career’s, I’m like, well, let me look back
when I’m done and go, okay, I did that, I felt
good about that because– – Careers are something you look back at. – Yeah, I mean, I feel like all of us, there’s a bit of impostor syndrome I think that comes up for
many of us and you’re like, at some point they’re just gonna go, yeah, we’ve had that flavor,
thank you, next guy. – I feel like everybody that I’ve met, like outwardly you look
at them and you think, oh, well that person’s
fine, like they’re perfect. They’re sailing, like they’re
never gonna have to hustle and then you meet ’em
and they still hustle. – You bet.
– And they’re still after it and it doesn’t matter, and
so that feeling of like, I’ve made it in Hollywood, I don’t know that that actually exists.
– Exactly. – Okay, but you do have
your sort of first dose of success and feeling like,
oh, I can make career of this. – But it’s fleeting.
– I did get to meet Steve Buscemi at a party one time, and I will fucking tell
you that was amazing. – That was your moment, okay.
– That was some great shit right there.
– I love it. – I knew that people
were watching Happy Days when I went from my first
personal appearance. I got off the plane at 11:30
and there were 3,000 people in ’50s clothes and I
thought it was a party. And the stewardess said,
“No, I think that’s for you.” And I went, “Oh, people are watching. – Yeah, wow.
– Okay, so the rest of us have not made it, basically.
– Yeah, apparently not. – We just discovered.
– A lot of times it’s the people you meet, the
people you get to hang with. You know, I grew up with Dick Van Dyke, and I was a complete
lunatic for Dick Van Dyke. – Me, too.
– And I’ve been able to meet Dick Van Dyke
and he wants to hang out and them saying that they love what you do is really meaningful.
– Yeah. – I just drew him a
cartoon that I sent to him of RCA Television from 1969
and a black and white version of the opening credits
for the Dick Van Dyke Show where he trips over the ottoman. – What a great show.
– And I’m in front, and I did a cartoon of myself
tripping over the ottoman in front of the television, and those are the types of things
that keep happening to me. I’m constantly being
reminded, oh, I made it. Oh my gosh, that’s wonderful. And the first time I think
In Living Color was huge, was a huge thing for me and it was like they planted me, you know,
my seedling in the garden and I had a chance to bloom on that show. So I got a taste of it there. And that time in Chicago
when Siskel and Ebert hated my movie and then Friday happened and it was a giant hit,
and the hotel staff where I was staying put
a dog bowl in my room with candies in it.
– Aw. – (knocks table) Did it. Never gonna be the same.
– I love that. – I think it’s a
balancing act for me, too. ‘Cause careers, if you celebrate
your career in the moment then it feels like you’re slowing down. So you’re always looking for what’s next or what can I do better? Or one of these days,
literally, I’m gonna be good. You know, that kind of thinking, you know, as opposed to celebrating, but you also don’t wanna be a shmo and
not go, thank you, thank you. – You bet.
– Yeah. – [Ted] Thank you, but
it is a delicate balance. – You bet.
– At a certain point you have to pick up the
crown and wear it well. – Absolutely.
– You know that whatever that crown is that
wherever your place of fame is is like, there’s two choices. You reject it, you push it away, you don’t think you deserve
it or you go, you know what, I’m gonna wear this as well as I can. – And it’s usually in
the eye of the beholder. Fame is not, you know, you
don’t sit around going fame. Someone comes up and says you’re famous and you are gracious and you meet them at whatever level they’re
talking about and that’s– – Was there a pinch me moment for you? – No, but I’m gonna have one, I swear. – It’s coming?
– By the time I’m through acting.
– It’s coming. – It’s coming for you.
– Can I go back and celebrate Dick Van Dyke for a second?
– Yes. – Because I grew up with no
television in the country. – I’m still doing his stuff. By the way, Sonic is coming
out and I’ve got moves in there that I can’t wait for him to see. – That’s one.
(group laughing) So the first thing, I
got a black and white TV. Stanford University freshman,
and it was my first TV literally ever, I tapped
into a teacher’s cable, crawled out of the thing, turned it on and it was 11 o’clock in the morning and it was a rerun of Dick Van Dyke, and that was my first
and I fell madly in love with Dick Van Dyke and
then years later on Becker he played my father and it
was just this full circle. – Wow.
– And thing of just awe. – Yeah.
– He was my hero, my physical.
– Yeah, he’s the man. – There was one time where Paul McCartney in like a Twitter question
and answer session somebody asked him what
were his two favorite shows and one I think was
just a UK reality show, and then he mentioned our show in this, like, those are my two favorite shows. And I do think there was a
moment of quiet in the room. It was interesting to know in that moment that you were a part of
something that a Beatle noticed. – Yeah.
(group laughing) – Like, that seemed like a gigantic thing. You didn’t even get to take
the rest of the day off, but there was a thing, like I grew up, I lived my entire life
and it came to this moment and a Beatle knew something that I did and that seems in itself insurmountable. Like, that was a moment that was cool. – John Cleese for me.
– I love that. – [Ted] When he knew Cheers
and knew who we were. – Oh, really.
– Amazing. – What’s the moment for you?
– All those guys. – There were a lot of moments. I mean, connected with this table, I used to do a character called Ali G. I was shooting in LA and
then I met Jimmy Miller who was Jim’s manager and he said, “Jim loves your stuff. “He wants you to come over to his house.” At that time in England
there was an assumption that no one would ever get to Hollywood. You know, it had been
30 years since Sellers or 25 years since Python,
there was just an assumption that English comedy will
never travel across the pond. And I remember the next night
I turned up at Jim’s house. I was invited, I wasn’t just–
(group laughing) I broke in and I–
– I took something. – And he opened the door. And you know, it was the
biggest movie star in the world and obviously brilliantly talented. And he knew what I was doing. And my other hero was
there, Gary Shandling, who unfortunately passed away. I couldn’t believe that I was there. And I was completely
terrified ’cause I remembered Jim and Gary started making jokes. And at one point he made a joke, you won’t remember any of this, he did a really funny
joke, he went like this. And I thought, oh my God, at some point they’re gonna expect me to make it– – Get on the board, get on the board. – Get on the board.
– He’d be in trouble. – But that was an amazing
moment for this guy grown up in a suburb of
London who never thought, you know, I thought I
was gonna be a lawyer or something like that. I never thought I could
actually get a career out of being funny, you know?
– Yeah. – I had two choices with
you, admiration or jealousy and I chose admiration.
– Oh, that’s very kind. – But I assume that is
a navigation you make. – Yes, it is.
– And those are two, yeah. – When a new voice comes along
and you’ve been the voice and you go, ooh, there’s a
part of you that goes, wow. You know, have you lost your
place or something like that. – Yeah?
– Yeah, for sure. – But it wasn’t that. I’ve always tried to
make the choice of like, what’s this person doing?
– Oh, you were very gracious that night, yeah.
– That is making me feel uncomfortable and laugh my ass off. And it’s admiration, and that’s
the only way to go you know. – Two things, this is I
guess knowing that you’re, whatever you wanna call it.
– Made it. – That you’ve made it is
who you get to hang with, who you get to meet, you know, who are playing at
relatively the same level is really exciting. Do you remember the People
Magazine who’s hot and who’s not? – Oh, for sure.
– I never was who’s hot, and I was always on who’s not.
(group laughing) – I kept thinking–
– Not, not. – Didn’t I have–
– You got robbed! – Didn’t I have to be hot
at one point to be not hot? – (laughs) I never got to be hot, I’m just not, not, not, not.
– You’re really blowing apart the logic of this People Magazine. – Thank you guys so much.
– Oh, thank you. – Thank you.
– For being a part of this conversation.
(upbeat instrumental music)
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