Before it got crazy-hot in Hollywood, I had a chance to enjoy some deli with "Curb Your Enthusiasm's" gracious Jeff Garlin, whose first writing-directing effort "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With" arrives in theaters and on IFC very soon. Here's the story in today's NY Sun (please disregard a rude headline that tries to be cute, courtesy of someone other than the humble author), and have a look below the link for some transcript extras. "Curb" fans, your fix:
Jeff Garlin interview extras:
On watching his film in Hollywood's lame little screening rooms: “No, I actually prefer it to when someone’s seeing it on a DVD because you want everyone to see your movie on a big screen. My movie seems to play better on a bigger screen than it does on DVD, which concerns me given the [IFC] “on demand” aspect of it. But for this kind of movie, that on-demand aspect just gives more people the opportunity to see it. So I don’t dispute it and certainly with a small movie, I’d do it again.”
AB: You're funny. Are people usually nervous around you?
JG: For the most part, no. But, sometimes they are, which I find strange. Because I don’t think I’m shit.
AB: Is it hard to direct, write, and produce at once?
JG: None of it’s hard. I hate to say that. But the hard part of acting is learning lines. Hard part of directing is putting in the preparation. Hard part of being a comedian is... I don’t what’s hard about that. It’s hard for other people who don’t have the skills that I have.
AB: What are the skills that you have?
JG: I’m funny! Really, the hard part of show business is the business part. That’s what I get paid for. I don’t get paid to act or direct a movie. I get paid to deal with the [nice people!] when it comes to negotiating a contract, or dealing with people who don’t have a creative point of view. That’s what I get paid for. But HBO is a utopia. HBO is different than other places.
AB: What about getting this movie [“I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With”] made?
JG: I banged my head against the wall to get ahead, and I still can’t believe it’s actually coming out, or that it was even made.
AB: It’s funny, I like Sarah Silverman, but I never put you and her together in the same group of colleagues.
JG: I don’t hang out with her much anymore. I don’t think she hangs out with anybody, except for Jimmy Kimmel and whoever she’s working with. She works hard. I wrote the part for her. I’ve been friends with her since she was 19.
AB: What was she like then?
JG: She was this cute little girl. The Boston Comedy Club in New York, I remember meeting her there, and she was very sweet. We’ve been friends ever since.
AB: What do you think about her whole sex-symbol thing?
JG: Well, she’s a beautiful girl and she’s got a high-level of sexuality. Good for her.
AB: She reminds me of girls I went to high school with on Long Island, but those girls also made me laugh. Anyway, improv people are really kind of taking over now. It requires more interior thinking, no?
JG: Well, the thing about improvisation is that you can’t teach somebody how to be funny, but you can teach them how to improvise. I’m not saying everyone can do it, but you can be taught to do it. You can be taught how to act. Plenty of people have never acted before, and people find jobs. But you can’t teach someone how to be funny. You can look at it this way: there are great violinists. But you can teach lots of people to play the violin. I think improv falls under the same guise. I really do. But comedy, you’re born funny or you’re not. You’re born with greatness on the violin, or you’re not.
AB: How would you teach improv? Do you teach?
JG: There are basic rules, and if you follow the rules, you’re okay. Every once in a while, I’ll do a workshop for free. I wouldn’t charge anybody for my knowledge.
AB: What’s with the puddin’? My father's a professor of rice pudding, but you’re not quite his age.
JG: I love rice puddin’. But, you know what, when I was a little kid all the way through my early 20’s, I didn’t like it. You find it later on.
AB: Where do you find it?
JG: At your local grocer! You know who makes a good one? Kozy Shack. Kozy Shack pudding is tremendous.
Why Glass Shallot?
Because we are descended from connoisseurs of Kozy Shack.