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Oliver Platt got four Emmy noms (for Nip/Tuck, Huff, and The West Wing). Now that he’s a contender for outstanding supporting comedy actor in Showtime’s The Big C, which returns for Season 2 on Monday, June 27, The Hollywood Reporter asked him a few pointed questions.
THR: In an article called “Comedy Nominees Aren’t Funny Anymore,” THR chief TV critic Tim Goodman wrote, “Let’s be clear: The Big C is funnier than Nurse Jackie [and] United States of Tara, but it’s not particularly funny in and of itself.” Is The Big C funny? Should it be?
Platt: I think The Big C is funny in a very specific and truthful way and has an uncanny awareness of the utter unpredictability with which people actually respond to crises.
THR: So can you name five funny scenes on Big C?
Platt: Funny scenes, in no particular order:
1. When Cathy (Laura Linney) says in a delicate moment of possible reconciliation, “Let’s do it in the grass” and Paul (my character) responds, “You want me to do you in the a–?”
2. Paintballing on the bus.
3. The first time Andrea Gabby (Gabourey Sidibe) meets Marlene (Phyllis Somerville) and a race riot almost starts. Andrea backs her off with extremely colorful language.
4. When Paul wins the scratch-off lottery at Marlene’s funeral.
5. Liam Neeson as the hippie bee doctor.
6. Andrea daring Adam (Gabriel Basso) to cop a feel.
THR: You have what Jack Nicholson called a “meta-role,” an ongoing persona in different parts. Smart, disheveled, disreputable, likeable. What does The Big C add to your persona? What new notes?
Platt: In The Big C you get to watch me flail about in a marriage with a stricken women who I deeply love. In [HBO’s] Bored To Death you get to watch me flail about as an arrogant, deluded bisexual. The presence of any “new notes” or persona growth is highly debatable.
THR: The LA Times hailed you as “underrated.” Why aren’t you overrated?
Platt: I have no problem being underrated. It is in itself a compliment and vastly preferable to the alternative.
THR: Kyra Sedgwick got four noms, then a win. You got four noms. Think you’ll win this time? Be an Emmyologist.
Platt: That a nod might be incoming is a truly massive presumption. Emmyologist says don’t compare me to Kyra (5x chops 20x bod.)
THR: This Laura Linney — she any good? How, and where do we most see it on the show? And how come Emmy loves her so?
Platt: Answer is yes. Pay special attention to the parts when she is speaking and then also the parts when she is not speaking.
THR: Huff‘s writer said the show was inspired by his shrink who said “most people don’t wake up till they learn they’re going to die.” How is The Big C‘s wakeup call different from Huff world’s?
Platt: Honestly [it] had never occurred to me how similar Huff and The Big C were thematically. The difference, I suppose, is that Cathy’s challenge to live her life fully comes with a ticking clock and is much more finite and more real. Huff’s challenge was more nebulous and maybe harder to recognize as a result so perhaps in a strange way Cathy has the bizarre advantage of clarity. The question underlines the fact that misery is misery and a unfulfilled life is a terrible thing.
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