Don Cheadle on Being Funny: "Making People Laugh and You Laughing Yourself is the Best Feeling You Can Get"

"My mom would say anything. You really can really just say anything, and if it's in the right spirit, it's really bonding."

"Obviously what's fun about [House of Lies] is we really get to let our Id run wild," Don Cheadle tells The Hollywood Reporter during the Comedy Actor Emmy Roundtable. "Matthew Carnahan, our showrunner and the creator of it, is really instrumental in that. [Showtime] is always really behind us. We haven't run into anything where we've had a lot of push back."

Cheadle, an Oscar nominee, has struggled, just like any other actor or comedian. "There's no worse feeling I've ever had," he recalls, "than being on stage, trying to do stand up, and having it tank."

When asked about how he first learned that he was funny, he spoke to all of his Roundtable counterparts, saying, "We learn early that making people laugh and you laughing yourself is the best feeling you can get." He credits his mother for helping him be more bold, and finding his own comedic voice. "She would say anything — you really can really just say anything, and if it's in the right spirit, it's really bonding."

Cheadle sees comedy and the humor it provides as a tool to, "reach across to people who you thought you would have no connection with, and you guys laugh and you're like, 'oh, wait a minute. We're not that different.' "

Cheadle joined fellow comedians Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Jordan Peele (Key & Peele), Ricky Gervais (Derek), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), and Fred Armisen (Portlandia) for the Roundtable, where they discussed how they developed their humor and how they use it today.

The full Comedy Actor Roundtable can be seen on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter when it premieres Sunday, Aug. 23, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Sundance TV and HollywoodReporter.com.

SundanceTV's HD Channels (for National Providers):
AT&T U-verse 1798
Verizon FIOS 735
DirecTV 557
DISH 126

comments powered by Disqus