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: If you weren't acting right now, what would you be doing for work?
Parsons: Teaching theater. I loved being in school, especially college. I don't actually want to spend more than three days at the university, but I suspect I would actually have a higher tolerance for teaching.
Stonestreet: I was going to school to be a prison administrator. I was studying criminal justice. I wanted to work in the federal penal system. Penal … ha!
Scott: It sounds like "penis."
Stonestreet: Yeah, but it's penal. Not a penis.
Scott: Different meaning.
Perry: He didn't want to work in the penis system.
Stonestreet: No, not then.
Scott: Like a system made entirely …
Perry: Of penises.
Stonestreet: OK, correctional. But then I did a play in college, and people said I was good at it, and I was stupid enough to believe them, moved to Chicago, got solicited by this motherf--er (to Armisen).
Armisen: I was hired to do it!
Stonestreet: There's no doubt I would be doing that job. I was from Leavenworth, Kansas, and Leavenworth is known for its federal facility, its disciplinary barracks for the military -- it's a prison town. My dad knew a lot of people, so I had an in.
Perry: I just realized the first part of "penal" is exactly like "penis."
Scott: The second syllable is where it changes. It turns into a different word.
Stonestreet: You're really dwelling on that. I just should have said "correctional" system.
Scott: Since it starts out sounding like "penis."
Stonestreet: "Correction" sounds like "erection."
Scott: But it's almost more funny just because it ends up being something else entirely.
Scott: And you're just thinking about a big penis.
Armisen: The opposite, almost, in a sense.
Perry: I think there's something very unfair happening here. If you've won an Emmy, you should not be allowed here. (To Parsons and Stonestreet) You've both won Emmys. You know, let the people who haven't won anything come, you know?
Parsons: He wants them penalized.
Perry: So until that happens, until somebody rights that wrong, I'm going to talk about penal and penis.
THR: Who or what makes you laugh the most?
Scott: I like it when a word sounds like it's going to be "penis."
THR: We've moved on from that.
Stonestreet: Have we?
Armisen: Wait, so what's "penile"?
THR: That's actually an adjective for …
Perry: Having to do with the penis.
Armisen: Right. So penile implant would be of the penis.
Scott: What about "penish"?
Armisen: That would be resembling a penis.
Johnson: I'll go through phases where there'll be something that makes me laugh the hardest. There's a character John C. Reilly does on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! named Dr. Steve Brule. It's ridiculous. The last two weeks, all I've done is watch Dr. Steve Brule until tears are coming out of my eyes.
Scott: I love Portlandia.
Perry: The hardest I've ever laughed is watching Steve Coogan doing Alan Partridge.
Armisen: So great!
Parsons: CareerBuilder.com for years had a thing called "Monk-e-Mail," where you can type a message and e-mail it to somebody, and this monkey will read it in different voices that you pick. There's the wonderful woman, British voice, and different outfits the monkey will wear. I think it's been about eight years since I've dealt with this. But then a couple years later, somebody sends you one, and you go, "Hot damn, it's back!" Monk-e-Mail is back being funny as of a couple weeks ago.
Stonestreet: I forgot about Monk-e-Mail!
THR: Who are your comedy heroes?
Armisen: Chevy Chase. And Martin Lawrence. He was so great on his show. So much energy.
Stonestreet: Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. And we just lost Jonathan Winters, who, for my type specifically, was a true pioneer. And John Candy too.
Scott: For me, it's Steve Martin, David Letterman and Albert Brooks.
Perry: Michael Keaton.
Johnson: When I was growing up, no one made me laugh like Chris Farley.
Perry: I worked with Chris on his last movie. He was one of the very few people who on a daily basis made me laugh. I generally don't laugh. I'm just one of those guys who says, "Huh. That's really funny."