Jon Hamm Reflects on 'Mad Men' and Comedic Roles
The actor said his No. 1 rule regarding comedy is "do anything Tina Fey says."
Jon Hamm is arguably best known for his role as Don Draper in Mad Men. The actor played the role of the creative director for almost a decade and when the AMC series came to an end, he wanted to try something new. "For me, the fun of being an actor is getting to do different things," Hamm told The New Yorker articles editor Susan Morrison at The New Yorker Festival on Saturday (Oct. 7). "It wasn't necessarily that I wanted to react against and play the opposite, but I definitely just wanted to do different things."
The actor is the first person to admit, "Don's not the funniest guy." While he doesn't regret the lack of comedic moments in Mad Men, Hamm explained he always had a passion for comedy.
Hamm credits his unconventional childhood to his interest in comedy. Before the creation of cable, he would head to a university library near his father's house and spend hours looking at comedy records. The literary outings were how he "consumed culture" and ultimately influenced him to be an actor. "I loved laughing. I loved when my dad let me stay up late enough to watch Saturday Night Live in the '70s when I was way too young to be watching things like that," he said.
Throughout his career, Hamm has played many comedic roles. He's appeared in films like Bridesmaids and Keeping Up with the Joneses, as well as shows like Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
And Hamm, who's collaborated with Tina Fey on a number of these projects, revealed his No. 1 rule for humorous endeavors: "Do anything Tina Fey says.”
When discussing Mad Men, Hamm said the series' success was largely due to technological advances. "The advent of the iPhone, and blog culture and recap culture" is what influenced people to talk about the show, Hamm said. "Nobody watched it, but people loved to talk about it," he said. He added that the show connected with audience members because "it stood out in a way that was very helpful in separating it from what at that point was sort of an explosion of TV." He continued, "It was a show that was intelligent and it didn't talk down to its audience."
Hamm wants to be known as more than just Don Draper, but he still credits the role as the highlight of his career to date. "It was a career-defining moment for me," he said of Mad Men. "I got to do so many different things for 93 episodes of television. To have that kind of omnibus experience is once in a lifetime, if you're lucky."