Friday, November 26, 2010

Interview with Tim Meadows; Max Allan Collins


Photo: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Ed here: I've always liked Tim Meadows' work. He generally works quietly and precisely. My perception of SNL is that it's never been especially kind to its actors of color (or to some of its lesser white ones, either). Eddie Murphy was the exception. But he stormed the bastille. There was no denying him. I've enjoyed a lot of Meadows' work since he left SNL, particularly the scam artist he plays on Stephen Colbert.

Today there's a great interview with Max Allan Collins (of Top Suspense Group) that's well worth reading. Asked about himself as a writer he says "I'm a storyteller. I work in whatever medium is available to me -- where the possibilities of getting stories told are. Where the money is." As I read it I was thinking about the Tim Meadows interview I'd read earlier in the morning--and how similar they were in several ways. To read the Collins interview go here:

From New York Magazine

Tim Meadows has always had a low-key style of comedy. He's never been a pratfaller or a screamer, and his impressions on Saturday Night Live never involved any great verbal calisthenics. When he left SNL in 2000 after ten seasons, his career seemed low-key as well; apart from his Ladies Man film, he mostly kept busy with a series of supporting roles as deadpan peeved neighbors, doctors, and teachers, in shows ranging from high quality (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mean Girls) to not-so-high (The Even Stevens Movie, According to Jim). He's now starring as a frustrated political-science professor on TBS's new college comedy, Glory Daze, which airs tonight. We talked to the 49-year-old actor to discuss how he made his career choices and were pleasantly surprised by his candor, which was just as low-key as you'd expect.

You were on Saturday Night Live for ten seasons. Did you get the sense at some point that the length of your tenure had turned into a negative?
It surprised me around year eight or nine when people would say — especially in the press — that I’d been on the show for a long time. It was like they were saying, “He won’t leave and go do something else.” It sort of bothered me because I felt like, this is the job I’m working, and this is still a great place to be. So, yeah, I was surprised by the criticism of it.

Do you think the criticism arose because SNL is viewed as a launching pad?
Yeah. But what people don’t understand is that in show business, you don’t get those jobs often. So I didn’t want to give it up until I felt like, (1) I had done everything I could do on the show and, (2) I wasn’t creatively able to contribute. And by the tenth season, I felt that way. I just wasn’t inspired. I was tired. And I was, you know, married. I felt like it was time to move on.

When the first two things you did post-SNL — namely, The Ladies Man and The Michael Richards Show — totally tanked, did you ever think, Holy shit, what’s happening to me?

Yes. Although the Michael Richards thing was different from The Ladies Man, because I had no control over it. The Ladies Man I can live with because it’s my comedy, you know? I’m not ashamed of that movie. But with The Michael Richards Show, the thing that made me feel like I’d made a wrong choice was at the press conference for the show. The pilot they’d showed me was a single-camera show, and then at the press conference they said it was going to be multiple cameras. I just looked at Andy Robin, who was the show-runner, and I was like, “Really?” And he said, “Yeah.” I just sat back in my chair and I knew: “We’re doomed.”

for the rest go here:


Matt Paust said...

The candor of both men strike me as real, as opposed to the canned stuff that too often comes across as handled. And in each of these examples the interviewer helps by conveying a spontaneity that encourages unguarded exchange. I feel as if I'm with them in a quiet bar.

Todd Mason said...

And Eddie Murphy came in during the non-Lorne Michaels years of the show...with LM in charge, the only "person of color" to get much play on a regular basis was the hapa Maya Rudolph...with Chris Rock trailing.