Being a comedy actor is serious business.
The Hollywood Reporter gathered the male stars of some of TV’s biggest comedies, including Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen, Henry Winkler, Don Cheadle, Ted Danson and Timothy Simons, for a new roundtable conversation about the hard work that goes into being funny.
One of the big questions on the table was why each person has chosen acting as their profession.
“I act because I’m broken in a lot of pieces,” Carrey admitted, “and acting gives me a chance to reconfigure those pieces into a thousand different things that are positive for people to watch. And eventually I will be ground down into a fine powder.”
He added, to everyone’s agreement, “We are all broken, let’s face it.”
Speaking about the difficulties of fame, Cohen said, “I was scared of becoming famous, really. And I managed to get away with it because I was lucky enough to have my characters be famous in England, but no one knew what I looked like. I was able to have the success without any of the… can I call it ‘hassle’?”
Fame was a problem for Carrey as well, who said, “People create your life. They take elements that are true and they put it in an article so that article looks legit, and yet there’s so much of the article that isn’t true. So that’s something to teach you that, ‘Hey, you know what? In order to go forward, I have to let go of what this creation is.'”
The “Ace Ventura” star also explained why he doesn’t like taking selfies with fans.
“I’m not unkind to people but I would much prefer saying hello and who are you and what are you doing today to giving a selfie,” he said. “Because selfies stop life. You go, ‘Eeehh,’ he said, contorting his face, And then it’s going on Instagram to give people a false sense of relevance.”
Winkler added, “I wish I knew 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. I was worried about everything — about losing it, about not getting it, about not being good enough. I was like a bowl of Jell-O before it went into the refrigerator.”
Cohen also talked about his most recent show “Who Is America?” and said the rumours he had unsuccessfully tried to get O.J. Simpson to admit to killing his wife were true.
“This is reaching too high, but I thought, Let me try it, because it was hidden camera — if he’s ever going to admit it, it would be in a hotel room where he thinks he’s going to earn a lot of money,” Cohen said. “So I trained with supposedly the greatest FBI interrogator, and eventually he goes, ‘Who’s this for?’ And I go, ‘It’s for O.J.’ And he goes, ‘That’s going to be tough.'”