Before “Stranger Things” airs on October 27th and before seven episodes of “There’s…Johnny!” (think Johnny Carson y’all) airs on Hulu on November 16th, you can catch Paul Reiser at the Irvine Improv October 24th. We had a lot of fun with Paul last time we got “random” with him and when we heard he was coming back in town, we jumped at the chance to soak in his wit once again.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): You’re playing Dr. Owens on Stranger Things. That’s not a question but, he does investigate supernatural things. Do you believe in that outside of work?
Paul Reiser: You know, they described it to me like he has eight or nine different degrees across the full spectrum of expertise so technically, I should be a master of everything. The reality is, this is how good of an actor I am, in fact, I know nothing. In any field. Mostly I’d ask them to explain it all in idiot terms and it all came down to the same thing, I’m just going to go stand over here and be quiet. It’s a very believable universe though and that’s what is so great about this show. You know it’s movie stuff but the characters and writing are so good you’re like, oh jeeze, I think that could happen.
Yeah I don’t believe in stuff like that and then you watch Stranger Things and you’re like, oh yeah, maybe so! Yep! Why would you make stuff like that up? It’s so good, it’s impossible! And someone did the research for it and they’re probably a doctor like me.
OK down to real brass tacks here. What is under Paul Reiser’s bed? Hmmm…what would I keep under my bed. Probably another pair of glasses and a glass of water so I don’t have to walk anywhere.
Might I suggest a nightstand for that? Yeah but I forget to look there. Suppose I drop my glasses but hey, I know I have one more pair under the bed. Maybe I should put a nightstand under the bed.
What about a drawer that slides out under the bed that isn’t attached. That could be good for you. See, now you’re thinking Ali. I really think you’re wasting your time with journalism. That is what you should be doing. Inventing!
From your lips to god’s ears. What do you consider to be your grossest habit? I think it’s my overwhelming modesty. I think my modestly is ultimately grotesque.
Honestly, I’m super grossed out by it. When was the last time you did a cartwheel? It had to have been in a former life. Somewhere in the mid-1800’s when I was a festive girl on a farm. I don’t think it was in this lifetime though.
Not even for your kids? You know, doing a cartwheel is kind of like cliff-diving. How do you find out if you can do that? If you don’t succeed in a cartwheel, absent the graceful maneuver, all you’re doing is turning your ass over and watching it drop to the floor. That’s not really impressive at party’s.
Especially if you have weak wrists I imagine. Yeah it’s been years since anyone asked me to do one so I don’t think that’s slowing me down in life.
I feel like nothing would make me happier than your fans reading this and all of the sudden, doing a cartwheel turned into your biggest request. Well that would be a great thing, I agree. [Laughs.]
When we talked back in 2015 and I asked you for some relationship advice and you told me I should marry a clarinet player who can fix a clogged sink. You’ve been married forever and these days, that’s huge. There has to be better advice, Paul! [Laughs.] Wow! Well, I think there is very little chance of me repeating what I said last time. Here’s what I’ve learned. I don’t know that there is any advice that anyone can give someone else because every situation is different. I can only give you stuff that would apply if you married my wife, and I don’t think that’s going to happen. But if she left me, I could write the brochure as a public service. For being with someone else though, I would say, just be prepared to scratch your head a lot and laugh it off.
I feel like I scratch my head a lot and laugh constant so yeah, I’ll just file that away with the last advice you gave me. How is your selfie game? I’ll take them with my son who is awfully photogenic but hates being in pictures more than anything. And he does it because it’s easier than fighting and being cut out of the will. I don’t have an aversion to selfies but what you will end up seeing is a picture of myself that is at a horrendous and grotesque angle that is looking up at my chin and my blurry son rolling his eyes. I’ve never had a good one but, I never stop trying.
Hey, never give up. Not sure about your drinking practices but, happen to have a super drunk story you can share with us? You know, I have now come to understand my father. When I was in college I said, now that I can drink, we can get drunk together! He just very matter of factually said, “I’m not fun. I just have two drinks and I fall asleep.” Slowly, I’ve become that guy and the next thing I know is I wake up in the car going, what is this?
Hopefully you’re not waking up behind the wheel though! No! [Laughs.] Doing 60 on the 405? How long have I been driving?
Ha! The that’d be the worst. Would you ever do Dancing With the Stars? No. But I marvel at anyone who does. I marvel at anyone who does anything. I don’t watch it but when you flip channels and you see people humbling themselves, it’s amazing. Like Iron Chef and stuff. How did that happen? How did something as wonderful and nurturing as cooking become competitive and violent? Take 45 things and turn it into a souffle or else it becomes violent. How did it come to that? Why would you want to cook quickly and with hostility?
Truth! Cooking on TV has truly become terrifying. Since the Halloween is upon us and people are looking for ideas, what’s your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? It’s been awhile but I do remember very vividly, I must have been about seven or eight, I had a Superman outfit. But back then, they didn’t have the part that goes over the shoes. So I wore black dress shoes. I remember looking down and thinking, I don’t know what Superman wears but I’m pretty sure he’s not wearing his Sunday best. I also remember some bully’s chasing me and my friend that year and I was fleeing down five flights of stair thinking, but…I’m Superman! I should have been chasing them!
Did you get your ass kicked? No because I was pretty fast even in those shoes.
OK last thing, tell me something on your bucket list. Must buy bucket to put my list in it. Honestly, I don’t know. My goals are very small. I’d like a day where nothing goes wrong and everything is easy. That’s not happened yet so, that’s my goal.
Grab your tickets now to see Paul Reiser at the Irvine Improv Tuesday October 24th, 31 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more on Paul, head over to his website PaulReiser.com and follow him on Twitter @PaulReiser.
Ali Lerman knows much about comedy, basketball, and celebrating Wu-Tang Wednesday. She’s been writing for sixteen years and still calls her mom with grammatical questions.