THR Emmy Roundtable: Jim Parsons, Adam Scott and More Comedy Actors on Failed Pilots and Mean Fans
It's playtime (and the chance for a never-ending penis joke) when six funny dudes -- including Matthew Perry, Jake Johnson, Eric Stonestreet and Fred Armisen -- share the craziest thing they've ever done for a laugh, how much attention they pay to ratings and what they would change about show business.
THR: There were no camera phones during Friends' run.
Scott: And everyone has one on them at all times.
Stonestreet: That's why I love when people come up and ask for an autograph. That's such a cool, retro thing. It's like, "Yeah!"
Scott: Old school.
Stonestreet: "What's your first name?" It's like a genuine moment in time. A camera just reduces it. I was at a Chiefs-Patriots game, and this guy was walking down the aisle taking pictures of me, and I'm like, "Hey man, I'm just watching the game here." And he started cussing me out, saying that he's never watching the show again.
Perry: You can just say, "Lucky for me, 17 million other people will!"
Scott: My recognition depends on the demographic. I get a lot of love from caterers at events because of [my time on] Party Down. That's a great group to be in with when you're at the party.
Stonestreet: You don't go to acting school to learn how to deal with the things that come along with your dreams coming true. Thankfully, my dreams came true at 38, when I was able to really be grounded and smart with money.
Johnson: People take weird liberties that they wouldn't if I weren't on TV. I've honestly had my arms around some random dude, someone's taking a photo, and he goes, "I don't know who you are, but everybody else is doing it!"
Scott: Oh yeah, all the time.
Johnson: I'm like, "Your arm's on my back, man." I want to be like, "Thanks for not watching New Girl, dude, 'cause I know you don't!"
Stonestreet: I love when people feel the need to come up to you and say, "I don't watch TV."
Perry: I always mess with those situations. I always say, "Well, that's clearly not true."
THR: Is there a job -- acting or otherwise -- that you wish you could remove from your résumé?
Perry: I did a pilot about a guy who was in charge of separating aliens' luggage at the L.A. airport in the year 2194.
Stonestreet: When was that?
Scott: That sounds great.
Johnson: There's a real part of me that's interested.
Perry: I did that the same year, the same pilot season as Friends. It was called LAX 2194.
Scott: Is it on YouTube or anything?
Perry: It must be, I wore a futuristic shirt, and the aliens were little people, little people wearing wigs.
Scott: Such a bummer that didn't get picked up.
Stonestreet: Do you remember who the showrunner was?
Perry: It was a real show. Barry Kemp.
THR: The world would be a different place if that show happened.
Perry: I certainly wouldn't be sitting here.
Johnson: It's really funny to imagine your agents back then. "Matt, you're so good in both! Let's just see what happens."
Parsons: "They're both home runs!"
Armisen: For me, it would have been nice to not have worked in that many restaurants. (Laughter.) I think I have amnesia about it. I've deleted it from my life, but yeah, it would have been nice if it was scaled down. Also, working for a nightclub and having to put fliers up everywhere … and in bathrooms.
Parsons: That does sound terrible.
Armisen: It was awful, all these little packets of fliers to put in bathrooms. This was in Chicago.
Stonestreet: What year were you in Chicago?
Armisen: 1988 through 2000.
Stonestreet: Oh really? I was there 1996 to 1998. Did you ever put fliers up at 4443 North …?
Stonestreet: It explicitly said "No solicitors."
Armisen: I know, but there was a technicality where it was actually outside of your property, so we were totally allowed to do it.
Stonestreet: That ordinance did not pass. Not true, Fred.
Armisen: It did pass. Do the research, of course it passed!
Perry: There's a time and a place, fellas.
Armisen: Did we all get to go through all our embarrassing jobs?
Scott: For me, no matter how embarrassing at the time, it was probably a big deal to get an acting job. I've seen things pop up on TV, and it's embarrassing. But at the time, I was really excited, so who cares?
Armisen: Yeah, you're starstruck to be on a set. "Wow, I'm actually doing this."
Johnson: You also learn from them. A director once called me, and I told him I didn't like the script, I didn't like anything involved in it. It was a movie. And he's like, "I want to make Bottle Rocket." I was like, OK, Bottle Rocket's cool as hell. So I said yes. I got down there, and I'm like, "Why did I trust that?" You can't just listen to the movies the director wants to make. I want to make that too, but your track record says you're not making that movie!