Ed Helms (The Office), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation),Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Ted Danson (Bored to Death) got together to talk comedy. Read on because…how could you not want to hear what they had to say?!
Highlights of the Emmy-Worthy Comics Roundtable included when Aziz Ansari noted he liked Louis CK (because he has a new show on Showtime, so I like the shout out!), Neil Patrick Harris used the word “ensemedy”, and hearing the actors talk candidly about the reality of using improv on their different shows.
Here’s a gem from the conversation that is especially memorable:
THR: Do you guys fear not being funny someday?
Burrell: For sure. I fear everything. I’m just afraid! I’ve never been one of those people who’s driven by my deep knowledge of how good I am. It’s like, “Am I going to suck today?” And that makes me work crazy hard.
Danson: I always think of myself as basically a 50/50 actor. There’s an equal chance that I’m going to suck.
Harris: In comedy, a fair amount of self-loathing makes you work harder. Look at Jerry Lewis. W hen he split from Dean Martin he had to prove himself as uniquely funny. (But) he lost a gauge of what was actually funny. If you believe you’re the funniest thing in the world, your comedy in turn suffers.
THR: But isn’t there a certain amount of confidence you need to do comedy?
Harris: If people smell the desperation on you, it’s less funny, so you have to carry yourself as if it’s successful.
I was really interested by when NPH said, “The blending of reality, scripted and the Internet is all coming together even stronger. You can watch TV and cruise the Internet on the same screen. I think a lot of it will all intertwine and there will be hybrids.” Maybe one day we’ll have a choose your own adventure style of TV, where people will interact with what’s happening on live TV, and choose what happens! Which would be weird.
Quote highlight…”Does anyone else, when you get a script, and you know it’s not funny, does it make you mad? Like, you are now going to have to confront something not funny, get over it and find the funny. That’s why I’m not doing half-hour (sit-coms) anymore. I’d pick up a script — and the first bad joke, I’m like, “God damn it!” (Laughs.) That’s what’s great about drama. You can show up drunk, depressed, divorced and “Ah, that’s beautiful.” Funny is so scary, because only that is funny. All that other crap around it is not funny — and you have to land on that funny.” – Ted Danson