comics talk to comics

Adam Pally and Adam Scott Make Fun of Each Other, Talk Television vs. Small Parts in Matt Damon Movies, Dream of Playing Widowers

Photo: Illustration: Maya Robinson and Photos by Larry Busacca/Getty Images and Efren Landaos/PressLine/Splash

Traditionally, when we have a comedian or comic actor do a Comics Talks to Comics interview to promote a project, they are the ones who answer the questions. Adam Pally — whose offbeat, charming indie rom-com Slow Learners comes out in theaters and on VOD today — instead used it as an opportunity to ask Adam Scott questions that were essentially insults. They discuss what would have to happen for Adam Scott to look like Rachel Maddow, doing television versus having the ninth-biggest part in a Matt Damon movie, and movie ideas in which they are both widowed. Enjoy!

Adam Scott: You know when you’re about to leave your kid, and all of a sudden you get paranoid that something terrible is going to happen, and you just hang out for a few extra minutes? I was dropping my daughter off at this camp in the middle of Griffith Park, and I saw this insane-looking woman come up and take a leak behind a tree and sit there, staring at all of the kids. So I felt had to stick around.
Adam Pally: That was the counselor, though, right?

It was actually my agent, who was dropping by. It ended up being great. We had a quick meeting.
I think your agent is homeless, Adam.

I’ve had homeless people as my agent for years, and it has not really worked out really well.
That’s how you got roped into A.C.O.D.

You were with that same homeless agent for a while, is that how you got roped into it?
That’s how I broke into Hollywood. The homeless agency saw me and was like, “We like your look for garbage.” I was like, “Oh, that’s great. Who do you represent?” And they were like, “Adam Scott.”

Yeah, and neither of us are on television anymore. Maybe I need to make a change.
This seems to me like a waste of Vulture’s time.

Two people who are not currently on television.
This is so dumb. Alright, I made a list of questions. They’re ball-bust-y, funny questions. I was thinking what I could write down to get you to laugh. Who do you get recognized as the most: Eric Bana, Cillian Murphy, or Rachel Maddow?

[Laughs.] I remember when I was in Knocked Up, people thought it was an Eric Bana cameo instead of just me with a really small part.
Getting Eric Bana is good, man. Most of the time people look at me for a long time and then ask if we went to sleepaway camp together.

After three seconds they realize it’s not Eric Bana, unless Eric Bana got cancer or something.
They realize Eric Bana has a full-size adult body.

Yeah. He has a grown-up body. Rachel Maddow: If I got mistaken for her, that would be terrific.
If you met an architect at a dinner party and stole their glasses, someone would think you were Rachel Maddow.

Also Tig Notaro.
That’s pretty good. One time, on my first day on Mindy, one of the crew guys came up to me and said, “Dude, you know who you look like? Do you ever listen to the Zac Brown Band?” I was like, “I don’t know who they are.” He was like, “Dude, you look just like Zac Brown.” And then he showed me a picture, and Zac Brown is, no joke, 350 pounds and bald.

He’s like a giant dude.
Enormous and bald. Totally bald. Straight-up bald. That one really hurt, when you’re getting crap like that. That was the real day that I realized the size of my body.

Alright, next question. Would you go back to TV if someone cool calls you? Because I know I would. Or are you just going to be No. 9 on Matt Damon’s call sheet for a number of years?

Yeah, those seem to be the two options at this point. It’s weird how TV and movies are now melded, now that you can go make a movie with your friends. It’s a lot easier to do that. But at the same time, as far as big, huge movies go, it’s not. It’s almost falling into an old-fashioned place again, where there is the studio system. They make so few movies that, you’re right, being a guy in a boardroom objecting to something Matt Damon says is a catch of a role.
Oh my God. I’ve been reading for those parts for the last six months, coming away with nothing. That is the height of where I could eventually be. There are only a handful of dudes that become Matt Damon. Even Matt Damon isn’t Matt Damon anymore. If you are Matt Damon, that’s great, but if you’re not, the best you can hope for is, “I disagree, Matt Damon!”

It’s all the more reason to make your own shit.
Oh, yeah. Movies like this one [are] made for literally less than a Tesla. It was mostly improvised, and it came out funny. It was so much more fulfilling than hustling for those two-week things, where they fly you up to Canada and the director’s a hopped-up former DP of Michael Bay and he hates you.

And you can end up making more money with the little thing that costs less than a Prius. Why even deal with that other stuff that doesn’t end up helping you at all and makes you feel like shit?
The only reason to is I’m married with two kids. I have a family. So you’re always in that weird artistic state of, “Yeah, it would be more fun, but the schedule won’t pay for a month’s worth of bills.” It’s a tough scale.

That leads me to my next question: You have two children, a beautiful wife, very sweet. I have the same thing, yet most of my creative ideas lately are about a professor who gets widowed and then learns to love again by fucking his way through Arizona State. Do you have that same movie idea?

[Laughs.] That’s so weird. I have that exact idea. Except it’s Chico State, because that’s the No. 1 party school, and you know we all love college girls 
There’s something in that idea. I don’t know what it is, but I feel in me that I can play a character that has been recently widowed. This is the next movie we should make. It’s 2001. You and I are, like, hotshot traders at Cantor Fitzgerald.

You’ve got it, okay.
We go out one night in September, it happens to be the 10th, and we get wasted. Hammered. The next day, we’re supposed to have this big meeting. And our wives and families go to meet us at work at 1 World Trade Center, but we oversleep. So then 9/11 happens, and we have to come to grips with losing our families and stuff, but we also meet new young girls.

Maybe one of our wives’ fathers is a famous professor at Purdue, so we have to go up there. And he takes the news really hard. It’s like Ian McKellen or something. And while we’re up there, we have to have sex with all of the girls at the school.
Yeah. I feel like in this climate, a studio would be interested in hearing this.

Yeah. This is something that could be made on the low end of $70 million.
Yeah, totally. It doesn’t have to be a big, traveling production. We could just set up shop in Prague.

Shoot it in Prague. Just me and you, each with a camera, we just go to Prague. We don’t need a big crew or anything.
I’m definitely going to have to do research on what it’s like to not have all of this pressure or responsibility.

We would need six months to prepare.
I’m not Daniel Day-Lewis, I don’t need a year. But I need at least half of a year.

Yeah, you need half of a year to play a role.
Okay. I have a couple more questions and then I’ll let you go. These are so dumb. What are you, Italian?

Are these Vulture questions?
No, I wrote the questions. The only thing Vulture did for this meaningless piece was connect us on a conference call.

And they’re the ones who are going to get a Peabody.
For this interview? For sure. They’re sending me to Baghdad after this.

That’s crazy. Just to transcribe it?
Actually, to interview one of their romantic-comedy stars.

And then Vulture is going to have you recap season two of Halt and Catch Fire?
[Laughs.] This is the next question. Do you think it’ll be hard to get insured on a movie or television show after letting the world know you’re a huge U2 fan?

Is that because people who are U2 fans get murdered way more often than other people?
No, it’s just I didn’t know you were a huge U2 fan until our mutual fan Scott [Aukerman] told me about it. That’s when I was like, “Oh, you might be a dangerous, crazy person.”

Right. The reason we did it in the first place was Scott and I are around the same age and grew up loving U2. I thought it would be funny to do a podcast discussing the minutiae of something that’s so popular. And then we ended the podcast by actually interviewing them, which is something, seriously, we were never aiming for or thought where it would go.
I got to tell you. Even hearing you talk about it like this is so boring. Now I’m listening to the whitest thing in the world. I’m listening to you talk about a podcast about U2. It’s infuriatingly boring.

It’s the worst thing that you’ve ever heard. It’s the worst noise in the world: me analyzing the reasons for making a podcast about U2.
I would rather sit in wet clothes all day. Okay, this is my last question: What’s your hair thing lately? What are you doing with your hair lately? I feel you have solidly cool hair. Are you using pomade? Are you wearing it short? What are you doing right now?

Right now it’s in an in-between place. I did this movie with [Nick] Kroll and Jenny Slate this past spring where I had to die it almost blond.
Kroll and Slate movie? We have back-to-back Kroll and Slate movies. I did a movie with Kroll and Slate right before they left to do one with you.

Oh, with Jeff, right?
Yeah, with Baena.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So now that it’s grown out, I have blond tips in my hair. I look like I’m the bassist in Wham. I look like a coke addict in 1986.
The way you’re describing yourself, I’d be shocked if other parents at your kid’s camp weren’t standing around until you left.

Waiting until I wandered away. Why was I standing watching the children for 45 minutes?
And then they got on their conference calls with Vulture and they’re like, “There was this guy with blond tips who kind of looked like Rachel Maddow …”

“If he had architect glasses on, he would be Rachel Maddow.”
My hair is in a bad place, too. I grew it for a project and it got pushed back. I was like, I don’t want to cut it all off and start from the beginning. So I hedged and I did it in the middle. So my hair is so Jew-y and fro-y that I look like Morrissey, if Morrissey had his hair curled.

Or if Morrissey was a Jew.
I didn’t want to say that. I believe Morrissey could be Jewish.

I wish I had thick hair like that. My hair is very limp. I have to put stuff in it so it’s not as flat on my head. I envy a Jew-fro. I envy it.
Yeah, the grass is always greener.

Yeah, I guess you’re right. Or the fro is always … Jew-er.
You didn’t need to do that.

Adam Pally Talks to Adam Scott