Hi, my name is Bryan Cranston, and I feel very lucky to be happily paid about being Conan O'Brien's I.
We are going to be friends until we. Hey there and welcome to Conan O'Brien needs a friend, whether you're a regular listener, this is your first time. We welcome you to our humble abode. We hope you enjoy it here. We're having a good time. I got my pal Sunim obsession with me. Hi. My assistant in real life for 10 years plus. Yes.
You know what? It just became 12 years in the beginning of January. Wait, from 10 to 12. I know he's always saying 10, but it's 12 now. Well, but I get it gets confusing because you've really worked for me for like two years. If you added up all the time, you've actually done work. It's like two years and that's weekends and lots of breaks. So I'm not going to argue with that. But I know you well.
You'll fess up to that 20. So we've been together 12 years and never a crossword.
Oh, never a problem. Smooth sailing all the way. Yeah. And of course, Matt Gawley here as well. Matt, you and I have not known each other as long as I was introduced to you when we started this podcast.
That was two years ago. But it just became for as we're recording.
What were your first impressions, Matt?
You had never met me before and is a true egotistical comedian. I'm going to ask you, what did you think of me like? I remember how conversational Sono was.
Oh, okay. Interesting. Hey, Matt, tell me what you thought about me. Tell me what your impression was about me. Who asked that question? No, I asked that question because. Because I have to tell you something. I didn't choose Matt Gawley, Adam Sachs, the genius behind many of our schemes these days, said Cohen, you should do a podcast. And he said, and I want you to come into this room and meet the person who's going to be your your producer.
And here he is, Matt Gawley. So I remembered after meeting Matt, well, let's see the other candidates. And then I was told there are no other I yes, I did. I just said, it's Matt, by the way. This is the. Oh, Adam, jump in here. Adam, you're there. Don't act like you're not there, did you? It's not like you gave me a choice. You said here, who's doing it?
It's Matt Gawley. I think I said, if you don't if you really objective, you really, really, really dislike him, then we can we can look for other options.
But I will say in all sincerity, you said you said really, really, really dislike him. And I only. Really, really. Yeah.
So that's why we kept on, you know, it was kind of similar on my end because I was never told, like, this is going to be a job for you. It was like I was brought in as a consultant and it was kind of revealed to me along the way. And then we did that first pilot and it was then it was just kind of set in stone. But I remember being kind of nervous because I was a big fan of yours, Conan.
And so it was I was where he was.
I was that's what happened. That's what happens to people. So as I may never, never meet your heroes. Yeah, that's true. That's true. No, I know we hit it off right away.
And then I've we've since found out that we share insane interests mostly in, you know, weird history trivia from the twentieth century involving presidents that people don't think about that much. So. So it all worked out. Yeah.
And and I remember learning that Seona and I lived a town next to each other. We grew up in a neighboring town. Yeah.
That's why we're so chill. And I think we bring that chill element. And then Conan, you are whatever you are, you are you.
Well, don't you think to be you may have hit upon something there, Sona, which is both of you guys come from California, right? Yeah. I've always thought and and I grew up in Boston and winter there lasts like eleven months. And also I grew up in the Boston of the late 60s and 70s, which is a very different. Now you go to Boston and there's a croissant shop inside every croissant shop.
I grew up in a very go watch a movie called The Friends of Eddie Coyle, which is an old movie that that shows you what Boston really used to look like.
Every car was made of rust. The snow was really dirty.
Everyone was talking like they had a cod in their mouth.
And it was just a very different there was I think we had three restaurants in all of Boston and two of them were McDonald's. And so it was a different time back then. And then it all got whitewashed and everyone thought, it's cheers and it's the Cheers Bar and let's go see Norm. And that's all bullshit. I grew up in the rough and tumble Boston. Well, in Brooklyn, nice suburb. But still, let's not let's not quibble.
I've been to your neighborhood. It's very nice place. It's nice. Now you know why it's nice now? Because I grew up there and they pretty it up after. Because Konan lived there. Yes. They went back and they realized, well, there's going to be pilgrimages now.
So, oh, my neighbor, my neighbor is from your neighborhood. Yeah, they say you're the reason for the pilgrimage because JFK wasn't enough. OK, they needed one other person to push it over the top. And so it was Conan O'Brien. It was used to be JFK from Brookline, Massachusetts. And they're like, that's pretty. That's almost almost to the level of let's clean up this town then. Conan O'Brien. Nineteen ninety three. He takes over late night, kaboom.
Then they realize we finally have enough of a justification and so they go back and they pretty up the whole town of Brooklyn.
It was squalid when I was growing up there.
At least you got JFK from your neighborhood. Nixon's from my neighborhood. I know. I remember. I remember when my neighborhood famously debated your neighborhood.
That's great. And my neighborhood swept it all on its own. Yeah. And your neighborhood didn't shave in my neighborhood, did. Your neighborhood wore makeup.
People listened to on radio, on the radio. People listened on the radio, thought your neighborhood did better. But people that watched on TV. My neighborhood did. But yes, it's two freaks and nerds talking things through. Hey, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas is for my neighborhood, so. Oh, she didn't debate anyone.
She sang the national anthem to great success. Oh, yeah, I was she one of those people that didn't that saying, oh, she interpreted the national anthem. Yeah, that was unkind.
Yeah. Well I like Fergie and I like Nixon. Yeah. Well they're not like JFK. Great.
We got off track. The point I was trying to make is that I've always believed that I would be a different person if like a young Superman, if Boston was sort of starting to about to blow up because it was going to get hit by a meteor. And my parents quickly selected one child out of six and it was me sorry, brothers and sisters. But they were like, we can only save one. It must be young Konan, you know, like Calil.
Oh, yeah, yeah. And they put me in a little spaceship and shot me to Los Angeles. And I grew up in this incredible climate. I think I'd be a different person. I really do. I don't think I'd be as uptight. I think I'd have a V shaped torso. Hmm.
I think I would have I would have been dating casually dating people when I was 14 and I'd have been and have been surfing and I'd have a serious girlfriend at a very young age. All this stuff that didn't happen for me, that didn't happen to us.
I don't think that Seona did you I never had a V shaped horse.
I was dated at fourteen, has a very shaped torso. I had to be shaped torso. No, she's got, you know, four days. When I when I lived by the beach, that's when I was like, this is L.A.. Yeah, that's yeah. That's that's when you really feel it. But yeah, I think the SoCal life though just makes you kind of chill. Right. Is it. That's right, sunshine. I think so.
I can't hear you through all the chill. Right.
Yeah. So but see I don't have that. And even though I live in Los Angeles now, it's too late. I spent way too much time. Oh yeah. Coast and it's in me and I'm, you know, constantly, you know, yelling at birds in the backyard, getting into arguments with them, accusing them of being Yankee fans.
You know, it's just it's a shit show for me all the time because I carry that shit show within me. And then whenever I go home, I immediately when I go home to Boston to see my folks, I immediately go, oh yeah, I get it right. Yeah.
Well, can I say that I have known you since you moved here and you do. You've definitely been more mellow. Oh you chilled. You did chill a little bit koenen I noticed a difference but I don't know if that's just age you know.
Yeah. I think let me explain something to my listeners and this is medically been proven, but as a man ages his testosterone levels, starts to plummet.
Hey. All right. And so I'm just starting to guess. Yeah. Let's do this.
Shockingly, shockingly low testosterone levels now. Oh CocaCola. I guess we're running out of time and mixed in and out of tape.
We're actually using tape this time.
I think medically I'm a female fetus right now, think. And so maybe that's why I've calmed down. Oh, yeah. I should probably get on the guest list. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, I say this a lot.
I do this, you know, thing like we can't waste any time. We've got a great guest and it sounds and looks. Sometimes I say it when we don't have a great guest, you know, I'll say like we got to get going. We got Shihab Bickley on the show and he he's from that new program. Let's do the do. And I'd watch it. Yeah. Shtup. Bickley, you got to hear this. But I think we have today one of the easily one of the finest actors of our time.
Just brilliant. I think he is a genius. He's an Emmy and Tony Award winning actor who played Walter White on the hit AMC series Breaking Bad. Now you can. You see him in the Showtime series, Your Honor, which I've been watching, and it's fantastic, I'm thrilled he's with us today. Bryan Cranston, welcome. I am delighted that you're on the podcast because you're one of my favorite people, one of my favorite actors of all time, and also I've had the pleasure of interviewing you a bunch of times and then getting to know you a little bit, seeing you at different events.
And you're always the consummate gentleman and I salute you. You know, you literally say that to every guest you have on your show.
I know I'm reading it right now off the you know what I have I have it written on my hand and I say it, I say it.
The worst people in the world. I've never seen any of the worst, most horrible people in the world, convicted mass murderers. And before I get started, I'm like, before we get started and we we go over your crime spree, I just want to say you're one of my favorite artists of all the murderers. You're all the murderers. You're my favorite. Thank you. Ted Bundy. Yeah. Now, listen, I'm proud of that interview.
We had a great time. Yes. We played a drinking game and you should check it out. So much to talk about. I want to talk about your new show, which I am hooked on. I really love it. I love Your Honor. But there is so much to discuss. And what I like to do is always make it about me in some way. And I think that's appropriate.
It's where it's very much appropriate. Yes, we're both actors, I believe, of the same caliber.
But take it easy, son. I've never seen someone actually just walk out on a podcast now. You did? I have had the opportunity to meet all kinds of distinguished people. And then I had this moment where I totally sold you out. I name check to you in a way that I should be ashamed of, which is I bumped into you somewhere and you were wearing this Heisenberg tie clip. Oh, yeah. And and it's absolutely one of the coolest things I've ever seen.
And I just complimented you on this very cool Heisenberg tie clip and you took it off and you gave it to me. Now, of course, I'm such a Breaking Bad fan, such a fan of yours. Then I proceed to wear that tie clip around. Now, you'd think being in this business, I'd be kind of cool about it.
But no, the first person who bumped into me and said, oh, that's so cool. You got a Heisenberg ten clipboard, you get that. And they said, oh, a friend gave it to me and they said, Who's that? And I said, Oh, Bryan Cranston. And in that moment, like in an old cartoon, my head turned into a horse's ass.
I don't do things like that. But I was so giddy and I was such a dick in that moment. And I think I've done that many times and sometimes to the same person over and over again. My tiepin. Yes, I know. Yes, yes. Bryan Cranston gave it to me. I'm glad to hear that.
And also, the people who gave me that tie clip will be glad to hear that because it's actually a GPS tracker. And so we've been marking exactly where you've been over the last couple of years. The IRS is very concerned. The FBI has got a huge file.
You know, now, why is the IRS care about what I do at a strip club? Yeah, you can't deduct the shrimp. That was a tip. You should have just let that go. It's a second job. I'm a dancer. I'm the I'm the lowest paid stripper male stripper in the history of the world. Come see consumption. Boy, Brian, so much talk about.
First of all, I was delighted to there were things in preparation for this interview that I read up about that I didn't know. I thought I knew a lot about you. And then I find out there's this whole period of your youth where you're a badass on a motorcycle riding across America when you're in your early 20s.
And what what brought that about? And who is that guy still in you? Are you still that guy? Yeah.
You don't want to know him. You're like Clint Eastwood in The Unforgiven. I'm not like that anymore. His back when you try to make this short, there was a lot of confusion in my childhood, a lot of discontent. My family unit exploded when I was 11 and split up. And I live with my grandparents for a while and I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I thought I would become a cop because I became a police explorer in high school and I was pretty good at it.
And so, oh, that seems like a pragmatic thing to do. So I'll I'll do that. And then in college, I took an elective course in acting. I got to kiss this really pretty girl in a scene in the first day in class. And I thought, oh my God, this is the greatest thing in the world. And then I thought I thought this this girl also really likes me. So this is the easiest date. I'm.
Ever going to have and so I asked her out and she said, no, I have a boyfriend, and then I realized, oh, she was just acting.
I swear to you, I thought she really liked me. My head is exploding now.
And so at the end of two years, it was like either I'm transferring to a university to continue police science courses or I run away. And I ran away basically hopping on a motorcycle and leaving the state for two years was running away. And in retrospect, I find that I needed to go get lost so that someday I could be found instead of locking myself into a position where I was just going to take the easy road and follow suit of what I was training for.
And but I realized I wasn't going to make the best policeman that I could have. And it really opened my eyes. So it was it was to grow up. It was to mature and find some adventure and figure out what I really wanted to do.
There's no way probably I'm I can't prove this, but I don't think you could be possibly doing the kind of work at the level that you're doing it if you hadn't thrown yourself out there for a while, that's for sure.
I always tell my daughter, too, that whenever something bad happens, it's going to make a great story. If everything in your life was terrific and beautiful and no hurdles to leap over and no stumbling. And where where are the lessons you're going to get from that? And by the way, where are the stories? Every single story worth it's worth its merit comes from a place of failure. Somewhere along the line, the hero stumbles and fails and has to get back up and achieve or overcome a fear or an inadequacy or something.
That's those are the best stories we want to watch. And if you have a collection of those in your real life, you're actually lucky for it. Remember that that line in a Billy Joel song, you have no scars on your face, you know, and you cannot handle pressure. Right? You know, it's like you need some some life, some lines on your face, some scars to to know how to behave and how lucky you are right now.
There's a famous story about Humphrey Bogart, who later in his career, you know, around the time of Citizen Kane, he would tell the makeup people, don't make me look too good.
Let people see what I really look like because I've earned that face. And that's the face of an actor who's been places and done things.
Yeah, that's I've got news for you, though. He wasn't in Citizen Kane. I'm sorry. Did I say I'm sorry? Caine Mutiny. I'm sorry. CAINE Well, you know what? I find his best rather than admit I made a mistake, I'm going to cover it by saying, late in life, Humphrey Bogart was deluded. He went through he went through a period of delusion where he thought that he was Orson Welles and was in Citizen Kane.
Well, thanks for catching that. I met Caine Mutiny. Yeah. I didn't want to die. Have you get all those emails like, hey, dummy, asshole? Then they'd be mad. They'd be mad at you, too, for not correcting me. I can't believe Cranston didn't catch it. Walter White would have caught that card. Yeah. When you were driving around a motorcycle, is this true that you claim this is that you once you believe you saw Charles Manson?
It's not it's not a belief. I did. And it wasn't the time I was on a motorcycle.
This was nineteen sixty seven, somewhere in 67, I think.
And I was about ten years old. And we used to go horseback riding because I was born and raised in Southern California, in the valley in Canoga Park.
And we used to go horseback riding at the Spahn Ranch in L.A. Is that a pass where Charles Manson held his little lair and it was his Batcave?
It was his back. So my my cousin and I were dropped off by my mom to go horseback riding one time, and she was a year older than me, so she was eleven or so. We're getting out we're signing up for our horses and someone charged into the room and said, Charlie's on the hill, Charlie's on the hill. And he said, go on, go on, I'll take care of this. There was an older guy taking care, but it was such a startling moment that that's why we remembered it was like, oh, God.
And the old guy got our horses and we looked out and we see this six or seven people jumping on on horses and writing off. And I will tell you, when I saw the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, starring starring in Bogart.
I'm sorry. Sorry. Yeah, boy, he got it right. He got right. He he recreates Spahn Ranch. And there's that fantastic whole sequence that takes. It's been raining and it's chilly. Yes, and so what I witnessed in real life when I was 10 to see those people jump on horseback and ride away was the same thing I saw in the movie. So back to the story. My cousin, I get our little horses ready for the glue factory and we come plum plum.
Then we go down the the pathway. And about 15 minutes into our little walk out, we see this trail of horses coming back. Now, the trail itself is probably eight feet wide, so you're actually pass each other very close. And there were six to eight people on horseback. And we noticed right in the middle there was one guy sitting on a horse who was not holding his own reins, but the guy in front of him was holding his horses reins.
And we saw him, this guy, short guy, black shoulder length hair, black eyes and drugged out of his mind, undulating to the movement of his horse. Go just. And my cousin and I are passing stealing looks over there as we're passing him. And we you couldn't take your eyes off him. And they pass and she turns around because she was in the front and she goes, That must be Charlie. I go, Yeah, yeah, weird.
Then two years later, what happens, happens all the murders and they finally catch up to him. They put his face on there, here the guy at Spahn Ranch and freaking out. And my cousin calls me and she goes, Did you tell you what to think? I said, Yeah, that's him. We saw his face like, here's the face of Charles Manson. Of course, we only knew him as Charlie. And and that was my brush with Charles Manson.
I mean, and as I said, I mean, I'm throwing this all into the general category of you experienced. I mean, that's just one of many experiences. You have that experience, but you're also out on the road. You're on a motorcycle. You're you're you're going through what I imagine is a lot of familial pain. You're going through just so much stuff at an early age and acquiring so much that you could probably draw on, you know, and then your your your career.
You have this enviable career. I mean, with Malcolm in the in the Middle alone, I remember always marveling at your comedic abilities on that show. You were just absolutely fantastic and thinking a lot of people would be satisfied with that.
But your career really took a while. It took a while.
Well, I tell you what took a while was notoriety and celebrity. I was working steady as an actor since I was twenty five years old, as 40 years for me. So I've been working for 40 years. But since twenty five years old, I have been only working as an actor for a living. When I was forty, I got Malcolm in the middle. When I was fifty, I got Breaking Bad sixty. I'm doing Broadway and it's like a renaissance.
I was just talking about this the other day with Humphrey Bogart and he was giving me this will.
This will haunt me forever. I swear to God he's in Citizen Kane. He comes in at one moment and offers Orson Welles some soup. Yes. And I finally ask I finally had the nerve to ask Humphrey what was the meaning of Rosebud? And he said these magical words to me.
He said, get the fuck away from me.
That sounds like that sounds like him. Yeah.
You know, I had the pleasure of seeing you on Broadway in all the way where you played Lyndon Johnson. And I was just delighted by that performance.
And as and I just thought to myself, you're having the right kind of career, maybe the perfect kind of career where things just seem to keep getting better and better and better. And yes, it it was on a low simmer, but this is the way probably for it to lay out, don't you think? You could if you could pick a way for it to lay out.
I appreciate you categorizing my career as a low simmer. It's really a beautiful low simmer that led to a boil. I'm talking about a low simmer and then it led to boil. Look, if it's always boiling, the beans come out of the pot. You once you get the boil, you lanced the boil. They're very careful.
You've had a pus filled career that has now erupted. Yeah. And that's how I don't see why you'd be in. So why would you be into. No, you know, there is a Chinese saying that I once heard that that translated what is supposed to mean is may you find success early in life. And it's meant as a curse to say that you won't be able to handle it. That wisdom comes along with time. And maturity and and growth and as like Malcolm Gladwell would say, put in your 10000 hours of work towards something before you call yourself an expert at it or you before you can actually say I deserve to earn a living at this.
And so that's what it was. It's like I just kept my nose clean to keep my head down, do the work. And I was grateful. And it is my my most cherished professional accomplishment to say that at the age of 25 and onward, I've only had to work as an actor to support myself and my family. Yeah, that's that's very cool. I worked, as we know briefly as a male stripper, but other than that, I have applied the comedic arts that's just telling people that's what I'm doing.
It is comedy, but it's comedy. You gave yourself an artistic bent there, the comedic arts, as opposed to just doing standup, just being an idiot. Well, how how old were you when you finally made money?
Now, no more open mic nights. No more. What was the time?
And I made I started out as a I first made money writing, not performing. I made money writing comedy. And I was so excited. I was when I was 19 years old, I wrote a piece for a national parody that the Harvard Lampoon was doing. I got a check for two hundred dollars and I needed the two hundred dollars, but I refused to cash it. And I still have it because I thought to myself, I just made money writing something silly and that that's when the nickel dropped, that this is something I would do anyway.
And they pay for this shit.
Twenty two. I was twenty two when I first started earning money in Los Angeles.
Coming up with ideas.
Yeah but Conan you can actually start cashing those checks that you've been accepting all these years. Did you realize that. I didn't. I still have all the checks. I've never I've never cash them. But my father his last name is Texaco. Yeah. Dr. Thomas Texaco.
And so I don't need it. I think that's something Jay Leno would always say in the commercial breaks at The Tonight Show.
When I was on as a guest, he would always lean over. And I've heard of other people say this, too. He was very proud of the fact that he made so much money doing standup that he never cashed his Tonight Show money. Yeah. So he'd lean over in the commercial Bronco, you know, and never cash The Tonight Show money. I just I have a lot of cash to single check from The Tonight Show. And I think stop telling people that it's not cool.
I don't even need this. You know, I've got so much I don't know what to do with it. Yeah.
I remember when I was doing all the way before Broadway, we did it at the A.R.T. in Cambridge. And I think I was I was invited to be honored by the Lampoon. And at that triangular building.
Yeah. On both street. Yes. The Castle, the castle castle. And they brought me in and everyone's masked and everyone's doing all this pomp and circumstance. And it's the weirdest night ever. But I also think that I was honored because I was geographically desirable at the time. I was. Yes, in Cambridge working. And they said, well, let's get him. He's close.
Well, first of all, a couple of things. The masks are to hide the acne. And I wore mine for many years afterwards. No, there was no masks. I don't know what you're talking about with masks, but the Lampoon will do any. They love having a big deal celebrity come by. And I've told this story many times, but we used to make up trophies, literally invent, go to a trophy store and make up an award that didn't even exist to get celebrities to come by and be honored by us.
And that's that's how I met a couple of really big deal celebrities and handed them what was a bowling trophy.
But we saw we sawed off the arm that was bowling and like taped, you know, the comedy mask on to a crudely and said you just won this prestigious award and it was complete bullshit.
I have had the pleasure, a little bit of getting to know Vince Gilligan, I've had gone to have a meal with him, you know, a time or two. And he recently, my wife and I went to the theater and he was sitting right in front of us, being a real dick, cackling the play.
When was this when did you go to a play? I went to places pre covid obviously just praecox.
Yeah. If the play was called. Ironically, the play can never come here. And starring Humphrey Bogart. I know, but such a lovely guy.
And I'm thinking it's so funny because you you met Vince Gilligan in this other period of your life. Were you doing. Was it an X Files that you were doing.
Nineteen ninety eight.
I was doing the rounds. A guest starring on anything that will have me. And and there was a role on the X Files that he wrote. I didn't know who he was, but I got that role and it was a character that was really kind of despicable and is anti-Semitic and he was bigoted on every level and just an ordinary asshole kind of guy.
And he needed it was an it was an invitation to to learn the nuance and the brilliance of Vince Gilligan's writing so that the concept was that Mulder, David Duchovny s character had to drive in a westerly direction at 80 miles an hour, or my character, my head would explode. I'm in the back seat and it's messy.
So they're always rewriting the same old, same old things. The old 80 miles west of my head will blow up. That will make it 80 miles east about that.
So where he's driving, he's driving in the car and he's got to keep it up or my headaches are just going to explode. Now, most writers would have written my character to be sympathetic, to be nice, to be a good guy. And so that the hero, the star of your show. Yeah, Dave. David, save that guy. He's a nice guy, but you're not invested in that. That's an obvious.
So what Gilligan did was make my character awful, despicable human being, which puts the moral dilemma in the center of your lead character. Is this man worth saving simply because he's a human being? What he would love to do is just pull over and watch me explode, but he can't do it. That's the brilliance of it. So as he starts developing that, I go away for seven years. I do Malcolm in the Middle. I didn't didn't really become a friend.
I didn't know him. And then after Malcolm finishes, I get this call that Vince Gilligan wants to see me. Do you remember him? He remembers you. And I said, no, I don't know who that is. So he's a he was a writer on X Files and he's doing a show called Breaking Bad. And I go, what does that mean? He goes, Well, nobody really knows, but do you want to meet him?
And I said, Yeah, if he remembers me, OK?
And so far you're coming off as really uncurious and surly. And this story was Gilligan's Breaking Bad. What does that mean? Shenanigans. And it's never getting better than Malcolm in the Middle. Tell him to fuck off.
So I go to talk to him and I but I read his script and it's just the best one hour script I have ever read. It just kept me going. I was so sympathetic toward this character and that was his genius that he he told me in the meeting that he wants to change. He he wants to bring about change of the lead character. He wants to take him from a good guy to a bad guy. And I said, I don't think that's ever been done before because look at the characters.
Tony Soprano was always Tony Soprano. Vic Mackey was him. Every character is the same. They adjust slightly to impetus that comes into their lives.
But by and large, they're the same character this was turning. As he said, I want to turn Mr Chips into Scarface. Yes. And that's what he did. And and so I'm fortunate that he remembered me from doing X Files and he said that's the character that I need, someone who does start to do despicable things and yet the audience will still sympathize with you.
One of my favorite American movies of the last 25 years or 30 years is The Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood's film. And one of the reasons I love it so much is that it's very European.
You know, a lot of American movies are you root for the good guy? And then he wins in the end after he's gone through a bunch of scrapes. This had this very sophisticated. Everybody in that film is trying to do the right thing. Everybody, if you look at it, everyone in that movie, every character thinks they're doing the right thing and all that result is carnage. And I thought about that a lot. And I realized one of the things I love so much about Breaking Bad is I understood everyone's motivation.
And you were taken there naturally. So you can't go from Mr. Chips to Scarface in one episode or 10 episodes or 30 episodes. It took years of people. And I think that's why I think more than any TV show I can think of where everyone was so invested in it. I mean, the world was invested in this man because we understood every step of the way why he did what he did.
And you think of of storytelling, a story should be as long as it takes to tell it completely.
So we think about can you imagine Breaking Bad as a as a feature film would have been terrible and two hours to tell that story, the transition of a man from good to bad in two hours.
It's like it's too truncated. It's too sandwiched together. You wouldn't be able to experience the slow pain of that transition. And so it is as long as and not to besmirch Saturday Night Live, but sometimes they'll do a brilliant sketch and they'll say, let's make this a movie. And it's like, no, no, it's great. In sketch form, it was designed to be three minutes long or five minutes long. Don't try to make it two hours.
I think about there are many times where people have asked me to do comedy at a situation and I start asking them about the room and what's the occasion, and they'll say, it doesn't matter. You just come out and you'd be really funny. And then we bury the guy, you know, make what you know, wait, it's a funeral and you're like, yeah. And I'll say, no, you don't want me at that. It doesn't it doesn't work.
Look like they'll be really funny if you came out and and or it's a complete it's just the wrong context or what am I following. Well, you're following a 20 minute video on horrible things that happen to dogs.
And then you come out and they they believe that comedy is a thing. The way a refrigerator is a thing that you put something in and it gets colder. It's just you're like, no, no, it has to it's all about context.
It's about so.
And did you really please tell me you did do a standup at a funeral? Please tell me.
No. Well, I did. But one of the bigger challenges I've had in my life is I did it was a very good event. It was in town hall in New York City. And it was a very, very good, worthy event. But the people, just the way it timed out, it was to raise money and excellent cause for people that had been really grievously injured in the war.
And so there was a long film up top about the injuries. Then they had people come out and play taps, so they played taps. And after they finished playing Taps, a voice of God just said Conan O'Brien.
So I walked out to Taps. Taps was my. And look, I'm not listen, it's about the cause and it's all that that. But and I actually I had to talk about do you understand the situation I'm in right now?
And that ended up being the thing that I think helped turn it around.
And obviously, my my struggles in that moment paled in comparison to the sacrifice that all these people had made. But I was just thinking, you know, it's that was that's a moment where I you talk about moments where you remember I remember being backstage and they start to play taps and then hearing my voice and almost wanting to be I'm thinking I'm sure glad I'm not that fucking guy and realizing I'm that fucking guy, you know? But I've been watching, as I said, I've been watching Your Honor and this character playing Michael Desierto.
And again, year you've chosen this role that I think speaks to a lot of the work that you've already done.
And you're so you're well prepared for this.
But it's something where I understand everybody's motivation and and I'm wary of giving away too much about the show. But as a dad, as someone who's got a teenage son and daughter, your son does something and your character, a judge, is trying to save your son. But you're you're doing all these things that are completely anathema to who you are as a judge.
But I understand every single thing you're doing and I understand why you're doing it. But it's a it's that's I think what really makes the show so riveting is that, yeah, it's it's it's it's a tough with the premise itself.
Got me. And I would present that to your listeners.
I would ask all seven of them if. If you were told there's an eight, OK, we're told there's an eight. We don't have proof, but we're told there's an eight.
If you were presented with the the real belief that your son or daughter was being threatened with their life, would you become a criminal to save their life? And I haven't talked to anybody who said no. Yes. Right. They would be coming. I would do that.
And so I said in this premise, my character is a is a superior court judge. And he tries to convince his son, who was I? We talked about the premise. The premise is that my son is involved in a hit and run accident. He panics and leaves the scene of the accident. And the boy who he hit on a motorcycle dies. And he's distraught with that, of course. And he realizes he made a huge mistake. When he confesses what he did to me, I convinced him to do the right thing.
We're going to the police station. We're going to turn you in, and we're going to be responsible and accountable for our actions. However, at the police station, I discover the parents of the dead boy is a mob boss, a deadly, dangerous mob boss. And I know with every ounce of my being that that guy is going to kill my son no matter what. And that's the thing that turns it around. And my character then uses all of his law background as a lawyer and as a judge to be able to say, OK, how do I reverse engineer what actually happened and create an alibi, destroy evidence, manipulate a jury and to get this into the so that my son stays alive.
And of course. Yeah, whatever you try to become someone you're not, it's a slippery slope to destruction. That's what happens. It's it's quite good.
The actor who plays your son is amazing. Yeah. Hunter Doohan, you know, just when you're describing it, if you don't like the son or sympathize, because when you lay the story out and say the son is involved in this hit and run and kills this mob bosses child and runs and then runs away, it's so well done.
Because, you see, because your son is having an asthma attack while it's happening, you see all the reasons why he tried to do the right thing, but then panics and ends up doing the wrong thing. But it's laid out correctly. Do you know what I mean? It I'm saying. Do you know what I mean?
You're the star of the show. Do you understand, Brian? I hear it's a good show. I haven't seen it. I know. But that's that's the genius.
Going back to the most underrated element of all performance art is the writing.
Every performer knows that you are only going to be as good as the writing is. And I say this often, if you handed Meryl Streep sea level material at her best, she can get it to a B because she's that good. But it won't ever be any because the material is just not there. So when you're handed a level material, you're a little apprehensive and nervous, but you then read the script and see the guideposts of how it's going to take you on this journey.
And, you know, just memorize your words and don't bump into the furniture and you might be OK.
So you have this career that I described as starting on a low simmer and then building to an outrageous boil. I mean, there's there's beans flying all over the place and sticking to the the ceiling and there's a kitchen fire because you're your career is on such a boil.
My question is, you had so many years as a working actor and then, you know, respected actor doing well. And then you hit this note. And now because of Breaking Bad, I can't imagine a place you could go in the world where you would not get recognized. Are you OK with that level of fame?
I well, I don't know that I've thought about that. I don't know if it really matters if I'm OK with it. Fame is an interesting and odd thing. It's not something that either one of us was able to to prepare for. We didn't know what that was going to be like. You're just doing your thing. It's a byproduct of your success as as a professional in your field. And it's very rare, too, because we both know scores of people who are talented, who don't reach that level of celebrity.
And so we you've got to count yourself very fortunate. With that comes a lack of privacy. Interestingly enough, you you have tremendous benefits on one side.
And there are few things that you have to learn to live without from that point on. And but it's it's worth it, as I think you'll attest, that you you have opportunities and meeting people and, you know, reading really great material and working with terrific directors on my end of.
It and I know you to be a very nice, sensitive person, there must be times where you think I'm very grateful for all this success, but now isn't the best time. You know it is.
Well, as you know, I had you have to set up some boundaries. So, for example, when I go to a restaurant with my family, once I'm in the restaurant and seated, I don't take pictures. I don't sign autographs. I don't do that. People will approach the table and I'll say politely, no, I can't do that right now. I appreciate it. I'll shake your hand. Thank you. If you want to wait and meet me outside when I'm done.
Yep, I'd be happy to do that. But otherwise, if I stood up for one person, then it gives permission for other people. Approach and what happens to the dinner out with my family stops being that.
And now I'm sharing my time with strangers and it creates an odd dynamic.
Then within my family I've had moments where I'm with my family. No one's approached for a selfie. We're not getting along. And I say out loud, I'm sure someone wants a selfie here just to get the fuck out of that situation and then just create it and just to create distance.
And people are like, we're good. I'm like, I'll pass for like I really like you in the nineties. And I'm like, I'm here now, man. I'll pay for your meal. I'll pay for everyone's meal. Let's just get a line going. We're good. It's history. It's an Arby's. It's not that expensive.
Brian, I it is a delight to talk to you.
I would feel I'd feel wrong and evil keeping you any longer because you've been generous with your time. But just delightful to talk to you. Always delightful running into you. I love wearing the tie clip. Thank you. And being incredibly obnoxious about it.
I'm glad. I'm glad you liked it. That's great people. Yeah.
No, seriously, my wife is tired of me saying check out my tie because she's like I know we all know that. You know Bryan Cranston and he gave you a tie clip. Shut up. It's 4:00 in the morning. Don't wake me up again.
But and seriously, I'm thrilled with your with your new show, Your Honor. And I can tell my last observation is that you clearly, after Breaking Bad, said I just spent years telling a story that took place in an arid desert.
I want to be in New Orleans, put me in humidity and humidity, let me eat and drink and soak up. Yeah, that's what it was. That's what it's all about, the humidity. Well, Brian, thank you very much. Thanks. Appreciate it. It was it was a blast. Thank you, ma'am. You guys want to do some voicemail's? Yeah, sure, yeah, I mean, I not knowing what's in them, but I trust in the kindness of humans.
Should I trust that people know that I'm sensitive and that the voicemail's won't be mean? I think you're overestimating your fans.
I think because you're sensitive. Just want to shit and you OK. It seems to that idea seems to bring you delight. Seona, you seem to be chuckling away at the idea of me getting my feelings hurt, but bring it on that I can handle. OK, let's take a listen.
Hey, I so I'm just listening to this and I mean I know to work and you guys mentioned something I was supposed to be doing some stuff which made me think, well, what is the weirdest thing that going has incentive to buy, but also feel like the person having a personal assistant when you're famous is that they can go do shit like that for you and not draw attention to yourself or your business. But of is famous now. And I wonder if that actually hampers her ability to be an assistant.
Yeah, you guys cheer me up and I'll to be going. Oh my God.
Wait, is she does she work at the hospital? Was I don't know anything more than that. And let me set this up. The episode she's talking about was Sony buying something for Conan. But Conan, you joked that you sent her out for BDM stuff, led her to ask this question about whether Sony can do that.
Right. So let's make let's clear up a few things. First of all, I hope that person's headed to the hospital in a work capacity. But if they're going for some procedure, I hope that that went well. So wish we wish you well. I also love I listen to episode ninety nine.
I know we have no oh good old ninety nine. That was a COICA delight to you. Which one episode. You know I love that like episode forty eight. That was me at my best and then. Yeah. And also I'd like to clear up that. Yes I was joking when I said that I sent Seona out to buy bondage. You know, sadomasochistic stuff come for me because as we all know, I make that shit myself.
Homemade whips and stuff. Yeah. I like to make Lamberson, I make my own chains like I have. I have a latex press in the basement. And so I look I believe it's sort of and I sell some of it on Etsy and people love it. So look for my homemade bondage stuff I learned name of your Etsy shop.
I, I, I know this is bad improv, but fuck you, I don't know what this is.
Oh my gosh. What's the name of that improv shop. I don't know. Not only do I not know, but I'm going to slam you Gaulish.
Yeah. You know, I just you get angry at us and now you do this. That's that's the kind of improv I like to do is get up on stage and someone I walk out on stage and my partner in the scene says, oh, I love your candy shop. What kind of candy do you have? And I go, I don't know, fuck it. And then just walk off and then the curtain comes down.
By the way, episode ninety nine with Sam Richardson. Oh, great, wonderful. I love Sam Richardson. OK, now we answer the question.
I still do everything you asked me to do when I remember to do it. Yeah. I mean, thank you. I thank you for that. I mean, it's very sweet. She thinks I'm famous, but I'm absolutely not.
No, but I've heard you on the phone. If you are on the phone taking care of something for me, I've heard you say yes. Yes. This is Seona. Yes, that's Seona. Yes, yes, yes. A bad assistant. Yes. He needs his butt plugs. I don't like these bits. Again, you fuck you once again. I don't need butt plugs from anyone. I manufacture my own. Oh, they're made out of endangered ivory to really enrage people endangered.
Yes. Ivory from around the world. That's illegal and endangered. I, I have animals slaughtered for my homemade buttocks so I can sell them at my bondage store on Etsy. That's called fuck you Yoogali. Yeah, I like to make things myself.
I'm very handy when it comes to the central arts making crafts artisanal but plugs, you know. But plugs. Yes.
You know how I know you're not good at like building a lot of things because you build that Sopwith Camel and you wouldn't stop talking about it for like four months. I know.
Yeah. Did you ever finish that? I did. I did finish it. It's very it's very good looking. It's sitting on my desk right now. In fact, I'm looking at it and it's gorgeous. I put a lot of time into it. It is so 1917. So you've seen it. It's it's awesome.
And kudos to you, Seona, for remembering the name. That's pretty. I know.
Well, you said it so many times, and that's. Like, if someone builds things all the time, they don't talk about it constantly. OK, so this is a true story I. Years and years and years ago got this small house in Connecticut that was like the first thing I ever bought and I would go up there. I'll never forget there was this handyman around and he said, Do you need anything? And I said, yes, I need a workbench.
And the guy said, OK, I'll get you. I'll I'll find you a workbench. And I said, yes, and I'll need a vice to hold on to things while I'm fixing them. And he went, right, I'll put a A by a vice and I'll put it in the, you know, work shed and you know, attach it to the workbench. And I went, good, good. And I'll need a hammer and a saw.
And he went great. And so whatever, flash forward he gets all that stuff and I look at it and then the day it's the vises, this metal vise, and it's sort of a bright industrial blue. And you turn the crank and it goes out and then it goes in again, you know, and you're like, yes, I've got my vice, I'm ready for my work.
Flash forward 15 years.
And my son, who at the time is like 10, says, hey, what's the deal with this bench and this vice? And I went, I need that for my when I do my work around the house, when I do my repairs and I fix things. And he said this and he pointed to it has never been used and he peeled off some plastic that was on the handle that you would feel if you even once turned the handle, which I never did.
So I have this I mean, you could eat sushi off this thing and there wouldn't be one microbe on it. It was it's to this day, the most pristine. You can't find a vice in a hardware store that's brand new and sealed in Lucite. It's cleaner and and less use than the vice that's sitting in my little little house in Connecticut. It's just gleaming like a jewel. So I'm an ass. I think that's what we've learned. Yeah.
I've never fixed anything. I don't really use a and it's sad.
Conan O'Brien needs a friend with Sunim Obsession. And Conan O'Brien has himself produced by me, Matt Cawley, executive produced by Adam Sachs, Joanna Solotaroff and Jeff Ross at Team Coco and Colin Anderson and Chris Bannon at Airwolf. Theme song by the White Stripes. Incidental Music by Jimmy Luisito. Our supervising producer is Aaron Belayer and our associate talent producer is Jennifer Samples. The show is engineered by Will Beckton. You can rate and review the show on Apple podcast and you might find your review featured on a future episode.
Got a question for Conan. Call the Team Coco hotline at three, two, three, four, five, one, two, eight, two, one and leave a message in two could be featured on a future episode. And if you haven't already, please subscribe to Conan O'Brien needs a friend on Apple podcasts, stitcher or wherever find podcasts are downloaded. This has been 18 cocoa production in association with Noel. Hi, everyone, I'm Nicole. You may know me as the host of Nailed It, you might know my standup or the half a dozen other podcasts I host.
I host a lot and she's tired but fulfilled. Well, guess what? I am so excited to announce that my podcast, Why Won't You Date Me?
Is now part of the Team Coco podcast network. Oh, yes. See, I've been desperately single and have been for decades, so each week on Why Won't You Date Me? I talk to comedians, actors, drag queens, couples and even ex flings to speak about their dating life.
While I try to figure out my own, I want your version of how you guys met and came to be together. Oh, I'm just a desperate homosexual.
Like the rest of these race chasers out here, we talk about all things sex, dating, relationships, honestly, anything I really want to talk about because it's my podcast, but we talk about which dating apps are the best to use, how to do it safely during the pandemic. And I'll tell you, it's hard for me. First date horror stories and sex capades gone a little wrong like Jameela Jamil and her hook up story.
I've never told the story publicly.
He books and takes three steps and kisses me on the cheek and then collapses face forward. He breaks all of his teeth when he falls and to the teeth and blood just explodes all over my house. Bear in mind I'd been in America ten days prior to this.
Oh my. So I don't know anyone here apart from other men from Tynda, but I can't really call them in this situation.
I also speak with professional relationship therapists and dating coaches who give tips and tools to navigate dating in the 21st century.
When you see the color red, you stop in nature. We see animals when they're trying to attract certain parts of their body will actually turn red. So it's biological. And studies have also shown that men especially will respond favorably to the color red. They did this study. They showed guys pictures of all of these women and they changed the color border on the on the photos, men would rate the same woman as more attractive when it was a red border.
So if you wear red or you have red in your background, what you're saying is stop, pay attention to me. Look at my other pictures. Interesting.
This is just a little glimpse, but we've got so many great guests lined up like Conan O'Brien. Why Whitney Cummings? Who? Paul Thomkins. Yes. Roy, would you interview Amber and Trixie? Mattel. Oh, and Bob the drag queen and so many more.
Guess what, you guys, you don't want to miss an episode because honestly, it's a real treat for your ears, whether you're single dating or in a relationship. So for everybody, search and subscribe to Why Won't You Date Me with Nicole Byer? There's me on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get today doing podcasts. You're going to be a nice little treat for your ears, a dream, if you will.