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[00:00:07]

Oh, God, you're unable to rejoin this meeting because you were previously removed by the host. Oh, man.

[00:00:15]

I mean, what do we live in where you have a second chance?

[00:00:22]

That is brutal in its finality, isn't really it?

[00:00:25]

So I'm sorry. Do you see me? Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. We've done it. Hello.

[00:00:34]

And I'm very, very touched that you said yes to this. Thank you.

[00:00:38]

I'm thrilled to be here. I told you I started listening once I knew that I was going to do it. It's wonderful. You somehow set the table for a really nice conversation with people.

[00:00:48]

Well, that's there's always a first time for it to go wrong. Well, it's true.

[00:00:51]

And it could be the guests fault. Hello.

[00:00:56]

David Tennant does a podcast with Jim Parsons. I've noticed that in the podcast, I'm always interested to see how someone is going to say their name, like Whoopi Goldberg was very like, I can't even say, but there was an enthusiasm behind it or whatever. There was an exclamation point when she said it.

[00:01:17]

That's true. That was. And I can I can hear as you say that. But there was also a kind of what we. Goldberg what the fuck? Absolutely. It was a kind of I am allowed to be here.

[00:01:26]

I do. It's interesting, isn't it, how we say I never feel particularly comfortable voicing my own name.

[00:01:32]

I don't either feels awkward and clumsy in my mind.

[00:01:35]

I could not agree more. And we've had to do it in our profession a lot like in a in a much more formal, repetitively formal way than I think most other occupations would ever understand. Constantly getting in front of a camera saying, Jim Parsons, six foot two reading for the role or whatever. Yeah, yeah. Or some version of that slating ourselves, I think we call it. Do you call it different there.

[00:02:02]

And we would understand what that meant. Certainly, yeah. Would you say. I don't think we've even got a term for it. Yeah you bet. You Americans are better at having terms for things like that.

[00:02:12]

So that is true. I think it's true. Yeah. We would just go, oh Justicia names, you name it. We'll give you your agent's name.

[00:02:18]

Well, I would prefer that actually. I don't like I don't like that it's got its own name, to be honest with you. It seems like such an informal, silly little thing that it doesn't deserve its own title.

[00:02:30]

That may be true. Did you have to do those auditions where they would make you hold up? They wouldn't even get you to say it. They'd make you hold up a card with your name on it like you were a fan of war.

[00:02:38]

Well, but back to our point about having to say your own name as if you're going to get that wrong in some way. And I don't mispronounce. But they give the wrong message. Like, that's not I don't trust them. Write it down. But you're right.

[00:02:49]

This war, that's amazing.

[00:02:52]

It's not a good look for anyone, is it? Don't think. No, but you remember the old Polaroids every year. Polaroids, in fact, on set.

[00:03:02]

It was always Polaroid like like costumes and makeup and have like those huge binder rings with a hole punched through the white part of the Polaroid was like all your different looks like a role model for every scene, every scene.

[00:03:13]

The thing I've always, as you see Polaroids, they will have existed on every big I mean, no, it's all done on people's iPhones, but they will have existed on every big movie.

[00:03:22]

Why is there not a massive black market in Polaroids of you know, and I agree with them in The Godfather three or I never understood where they all go.

[00:03:32]

Well, and not only that, but it's not just like it's not just a behind the scenes look. I would say a majority, and if not a majority, at least 50 percent of actors are complete jackass goofballs anytime they get a continuity picture taken. Yeah. And so you get some really sometimes tragic, especially of your own if you feel that way about yourself, some real gold from these pictures of people like people like Al Pacino or whatever, pulling some facially, why would he ever do that?

[00:04:03]

But it sounds that and getting continuity shot and they're all gathering dust in some I guess you have ladies in or somewhere burned, you know. Yeah. Oh, no.

[00:04:14]

Somebody is talking about you would just think that there would be a thriving market for that kind of memorabilia.

[00:04:19]

Well, I mean, I don't know that everybody knows outside of our industry. And maybe this doesn't hurt to the type of work they do now. You know, we may have opened the floodgates.

[00:04:29]

I hope so. Yeah. I don't have that many of me because they transitioned by the time I was doing it. Yes.

[00:04:34]

Well, it's it no longer exists. But I remember very vividly one of my first big TV jobs. I remember I did exactly that on every Polaroid. And again, this goes back to one's own one's own sense of self, one's own feeling that you have a right to be there on every Polaroid. I felt the need to sort of pull some goofy face or lock and until about a month. And the makeup designer who was quite a stern lady went like this.

[00:04:59]

I am a professional doing my job and you're not allowing me to do my job. And I got really, really properly pulled off.

[00:05:05]

Yeah. And I suddenly felt like a five year old schoolboy and ever since.

[00:05:12]

Oh, I'm sure you did.

[00:05:13]

Oh, I got I don't I don't respond well to being scolded. No. How does it make you go that is it make you punch back or does it make you weather. Oh no.

[00:05:24]

I mean much later, like going over it in bed at night going, gosh, I wish I'd have set like, you know what, I'm just trying to make the world a better place. How do you know. But at the time. At the time. No, I just want to crawl away.

[00:05:39]

I just I don't I don't I think I know that I have a fear of authority, but it's a real thing. I mean, I'm conscious of it. So I try not to let it get in my way. But in all honesty, I mean, that's what that stems from, to take this life serious with a story that is true. I know that's what it's about. It's like I because I would agree with her to a degree. You.

[00:06:03]

You are a professional. Yes, she was right. That's why you are you are the authority in this moment. And so I'm kind of having as much fun with it than I can because I don't know, I just I stop everything I'm doing to let her do whatever she needs to do to get her picture, whatever.

[00:06:21]

And you're in her hands and then to to find that you've misbehaved in that moment, that you feel it's bad feeling.

[00:06:29]

And it was the first time I'd had like a like a like a decent role in a big TV show. I was like, number three. I thought, oh, this is no, this is fine.

[00:06:38]

I can do this. I'm sure sure I can get it right.

[00:06:42]

And in that moment it was like, no, you not only do you get this wrong, you don't just have to be here. Go back to play all that Bolat. How old were you?

[00:06:51]

Oh, thirty. Yes, early 30s.

[00:06:55]

So you and I both I guess then were later in being in the kind of work that you would be recognized for or working with, honest to God, constant professionals all the time. Not not kind of rotating in and out of. I do a commercial here and there and then back in the garage doing whatever, which is fine. I don't have a great time doing that, but yeah, yes, probably actually not dissimilar.

[00:07:21]

What age were you when Big Bang Theory happened?

[00:07:23]

When Big Bang started, I was thirty three. Right, OK. I was probably about 33. I considered that.

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I still consider that's been a real blessing for me, that it, my trajectory happened the way it did. It did. It didn't happen to you when you were eighteen time wise. Yes.

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Yeah. I mean I wouldn't have been able to handle it. No one thing. No, I was I was a late bloomer in some ways. Not that I was ever irresponsible to the. Well, me, sure. But, you know, I like I wasn't a tragic case or whatever, but but I wouldn't have known how to compute all this kind of stuff at all, even just being on set in that kind of pressured environment. Or I would have made it very pressured for myself.

[00:08:01]

I know.

[00:08:02]

I would have never I known what to do, never mind any public recognition. Yeah.

[00:08:08]

Dear God, I've talked about this before, but the amount of things that I know I got to do in life and I'm not going into them here that were no one cared about, you know, not only that, no one knew who I was.

[00:08:19]

We didn't have cell phones. Take pictures and stuff. OK, thank you. Jesus.

[00:08:24]

You know, yes, they were normal.

[00:08:26]

They were normal, but normal doesn't matter anymore. It doesn't seem to me, you know, or it doesn't always matter. Things get taken out of context. And I don't know when one old image or whatever and suddenly you find your explaining the whole reason you're allowed to walk the earth worse.

[00:08:43]

Yeah, well, the culture of outrage is so fierce. No. And the need to bring down anyone who may feel like they're the right to be in front of us. Yeah. Yeah, of course. No, I think it must be very difficult for, I don't know, the stars of sex education or whatever role, you know, horrendously young and beautiful. And yet, yes, you're right. Camera phones everywhere you go, when you when you should be allowed to be making some mistakes.

[00:09:09]

Yeah.

[00:09:09]

Or just how I just live. Yeah. Just like that. Yeah. Yeah, quite. So, yes, last year you finished, didn't you? You did. It was a little over a year ago. Did your 279 episode, is that what it was? One hundred and seven. I've looked it up and you've been working on it for 12 years. It burnt you into the Mount Rushmore of comedy. I mean, a massive a massive show, countless awards, endless adoration.

[00:09:38]

So talk me through the thought process, which makes you decide 12 seasons is enough.

[00:09:47]

Well, I think the God it was a complicated road, as you can imagine. I mean, in retrospect, it wasn't. And it was just happening before my eyes.

[00:09:55]

I think we signed a two year our final contract was for the final four the last two years. But no one knew when we signed it what that would mean. I kind of had a suspicion in my heart. I think that that was going to be it for me when I did sign that contract. But you never say never, and who knows? And then we went through the 11th season. And then that summer I went to New York to do boys in the band on Broadway.

[00:10:23]

And I think anything I felt got really affirmed. It was a very intense summer. I mean, and not partly because of the part and the the experience of doing the play, but more because. Oh, God. So we were rehearsing in L.A. the play largely for me because I was doing Big Bang and so I would go to work in the day, which is a sitcom that was a multicam it wasn't hard hours. And this is not a woe is me.

[00:10:52]

It was just a situation I would rehearse and then go to rehearsal for the play after Big-Bang rehearsal, yada, yada. And then when the end of the season happened, we shot our last show on a Tuesday night of the eleventh season. And then Wednesday morning I flew out to New York and Thursday I started tech, which they had started without me. And I want to say by Monday we did our first preview.

[00:11:21]

We ran Monday through Saturday. We took Sundays off. I don't know why, but that's what we did.

[00:11:26]

And on that Sunday that I had my first day off, I shot a commercial. I had a contract with Intel.

[00:11:38]

And so I had scheduled that and I was exhausted. And I was really upset about more than anything one of our dogs was getting really at the end of his life around them.

[00:11:49]

And I'll never forget that walk around the park to let him go to the bathroom before we went to the commercial shoot. He just looked so bad and I was so tired and Todd was like, that's my husband. He said, we got to go. We've scheduled this. We they fit everything around your schedule. And I just started crying and was like, it makes me upset. Now, I was like, this going to die while I'm off working and I feel so bad.

[00:12:17]

It's so funny to talk about triggers anyway.

[00:12:20]

So. So I went and did the commercial and I came back and and then Monday I went to do the play and and he had a really bad seizure that night. And so I knew that we had to make a decision. And that Wednesday I had a matinee. And so the decision we made was we called somebody the person comes and puts the dog to sleep at home. So that happened Tuesday. And as you can tell, it really upset me.

[00:12:53]

Still does. And so I went back to the show and I did Wednesday, the two shows I did Thursday in the night Friday. And then I had Saturday matinee and I had one more show Saturday night. And I got I was in the Saturday matinee and I kept thinking, I don't I don't know how I'm going to get to the end of this performance.

[00:13:12]

I just I was just so beaten down. But I did. I did.

[00:13:17]

And I walked out for curtain call one more show that night. I walked out for curtain call and I slipped and I broke my foot. It was the scariest moment for the next couple of days because I didn't know, I felt like I was at the edge of a cliff and I was teetering and I saw something really dark below between the death of the dog and. I don't I don't know what they would have done if I couldn't have gotten back on for the play, but I did and I did it in a boot for several weeks, and then I did.

[00:13:54]

And then I got out of the boot and these weird shoes and then I finally got into these regular shoes. But the bottom line was it was a really intense summer and the dog passing away, he was 14 and Todd and I had been together for 15 years at that point. So it just was the end of an era. And it was I saw I had this moment of clarity that I think you're very fortunate to get in a lot of ways of going don't keep speeding by, you know.

[00:14:27]

Yeah. Use this time a source of money, the way it stops me, use this time to take a look around and I did and I was like, I got a I got to make I got to make a move. The other thing was that this is the most morose podcast you have ever recorded. The other thing was that my dad had passed away years before, but he was 52 and I realized that at the end of season 12 I would be forty six.

[00:14:57]

And I am not superstitious or anything like that, but it was just a context thing. And this is what I said to Chuck Laurie and Steve Miller when I talked to them.

[00:15:04]

When I went back to work that year, I said, if you told me that, like my father, I had six years left to live, I don't I think there's other things I need to try and do, and I don't even know what they are. But I can tell that I need to I need to try. So. Right. I cannot believe this is the way this podcast has started for me. I really can't listen up in quarantine.

[00:15:29]

But that's interesting. You had absolute clarity in terms of where you were.

[00:15:33]

Well, I mean, yeah. And it was it was one of those men, like I say, that I felt fortunate to have it was kind of, you know, clarity thrust upon you, as Shakespeare might have said. I wasn't sure. I didn't know that I was searching for it between the dog in the foot and just I was like, OK, let's it's let's take charge here. And so that's exactly what what happened. That being said, I was I never had feelings of like, I don't want this show to go on without me.

[00:16:01]

In fact, I kind of felt the opposite about it. And I don't even know if I can explain why. But I just had a feeling of like there's so much good going on here. So many people love it. It would feel it would have made it even feel like a bigger thing in a good way to have been able to go. Yeah, you were part of it. And it's even it's bigger than you and you know what I mean.

[00:16:25]

I don't know. I don't know if I can fully explain that, but but the biggest thing was I just knew this. People working on it, not only for someone, was it was complete joy, which overall, I think it was for almost everybody cast crew alike that worked on it. But but a lot of people could use the work.

[00:16:42]

And that's always, you know, when an actor quits anything or stops doing anything and it does close down like that, there's always that that part of it that other people who were like, I could use the work.

[00:16:57]

Do you know, that's just that's just the way this business is.

[00:17:02]

And that that part's hard. And was there was there any tension with others who wanted to continue?

[00:17:07]

Did you get any slack for that?

[00:17:09]

You no. We've worked in a very respectful environment for the most part. I mean, we're humans or whatever, but I'm one of the keys to the success of that show. There are so many you couldn't that are a mystery, you wouldn't know.

[00:17:21]

But one of them I know for sure was it was a very professional cast. I mean, you know, because we were on a comedy we were asked for over a decade, I'd return to the head, what are the pranks on the set? And it was like, well, there aren't any I mean, you know, we save it for the stage, I guess, is what I'm saying. And I don't know what would have happened if there had been a more organic by Hollywood's terms discussion to happen, like if it had been a contract thing, I don't know.

[00:17:52]

And when you first decided that acting was for you, did you have a sense of what kind of actor you would be? I mean, did you did you see the theatre or something to head for or was it did you want to be on a sitcom? I mean, did you have a sense of that or was it just was it more general?

[00:18:06]

I would say it was more general, but I would also say that I knew that I had some reason I was I had an ear for comedy. Rhythm is really what it is in my opinion. I had I had good timing.

[00:18:24]

Is that because you were the like the funny kid at school or because, you know, I mean, I could be funny, but that was more of a defense mechanism.

[00:18:29]

Like, I wasn't the class clown, but I was more oh, God, I felt, you know, well, I mean, I was gay and I didn't I mean, somewhere I knew that, but I certainly wasn't dealing with it. And and I was always afraid of being made fun of. And so I would, you know, try to be on top of that, which is not to say I had a miserable time in school. I really didn't.

[00:18:52]

But no, I really I really think any comic timing I have is more related to music than it is anything else. It's just I think it's a rhythm issue. I really do it.

[00:19:06]

Did you do a production of noises off in high school? That's right. That that felt like a big moment there, were there?

[00:19:11]

Yes. Yes. There are two seminal moments in my life as far as an actor. And the first was doing noises off as a junior in high school.

[00:19:20]

And I mean, maybe there's myriad reasons, but the one that I can no, I can point to is that I.

[00:19:28]

Was set free by the force element. All the fears of being revealed or being in my mind, there was no chance of somebody watching saying, oh, God, that's what he's really like because it was just so outlandish, the situation and everything. And ironically, but not, I was able to be more myself in that role and actually engendered. I've never forgotten it. My best friend at the time, it was it was such a glorious moment.

[00:19:58]

I knew it was well received and I was so I felt I could feel it. I knew it was something good going on. And he said that was it was just like you. And I wasn't horrified after that because I was being well received, of course. But it was ironic that that was what his response was. And the only thing I would add, as long as we're saying this, is that I've up only kind of thought of this recently.

[00:20:20]

The second really seminal moment for me as an actor was then in college when a student there asked me to be part of these Charles Bush plays and I was put in drag and.

[00:20:33]

Again, because. Well, this went more to a gay issue or or try not to appear effeminate on stage, I was let loose of that. In fact, I needed to appear feminine to a degree.

[00:20:47]

And I without that burden, without that fear of veiling over what I was trying to bring as an actor, I, I felt an ownership, a power, I guess, to control, to know once they controlled the stage but take stage and then I wouldn't have had otherwise or it might take me a longer time to get there, but that was kind of one of them.

[00:21:15]

For me, the last thing holding me back was like, OK, I'm not afraid to be my quirk's on stage and bring who I am and my sensitivities, but I am afraid of revealing the gay.

[00:21:26]

And once that was taken care of.

[00:21:31]

And is that because at that point you weren't admitting even to yourself or just to the outside world? I don't know.

[00:21:36]

That would have been around the time I was coming out. I don't think it was much more hiding it. As far as that goes, I'm an eager young man. But but I do think that I was afraid of not being able to play anything but gay parts, not only if I came out, but because I would appear effeminate. And again, the irony was, I think I discovered how to obviously let the fear go, but that means just what are you talking about when it was just people behave in all sorts of ways, and I am who I say I am when I take on this role, you know, and that's that's the bottom line.

[00:22:12]

And, yeah, I don't know.

[00:22:14]

Did you feel there was a pressure not to come out when you started working as an actor?

[00:22:19]

I knew having grown up in Texas, and I don't mean to throw my mother under the bus. I love her. And she was she was a wonderful woman. And if anything, she would just be worried for me.

[00:22:29]

And I know that was a concern of hers, that, I mean, I could feel it off of her and maybe she even said it to different degrees of like, how would it work to be a successful actor in the at the what I don't know, level you want to be or whatever and make enough money at it, really pay your bills with it and be gay.

[00:22:48]

Where where does that fit in, you know.

[00:22:51]

Yeah. Well I mean, what was the atmosphere in Spring, Texas, like for a young man who thought he might be gay?

[00:22:57]

Was that would that be the precedents around you? Did you know any. No, no.

[00:23:03]

If I knew anybody who was gay, they were much more on the periphery in a way I didn't want to be. I knew that they satellited what was going on. They weren't necessarily a part of it. And that was why or at least that was my perception. It was such a different world.

[00:23:19]

I mean, you were sort of close in age, you know, I mean, different countries. Maybe it was different there, but like, it just sounds so outlandish.

[00:23:27]

I think some of those two young years now. But that was that was just the way it was, you know, and and only the bravest of brave were taking charge of that at that time. And I didn't have any intention of that. I didn't I didn't want to be on an outside group. I wanted to be part of and not just normal, but like are perceived as normal, quote unquote. I wanted to I wanted to be a part of the big game.

[00:23:54]

I wanted to be, you know what I mean? Like, I wanted to be. Yeah, yeah. I wanted to be able to be in the main show.

[00:24:00]

And and I think I was frightened that I know I was, especially as a young man, that that would make that impossible.

[00:24:08]

And so were you living a lie personally at all or did you always have your personal life in your professional life divided up?

[00:24:14]

Well, this is where I I had so much it was so fortunate. I grew up out of the limelight. I by the time I was, you know, one or two years into college when I was like, OK, this is you know, I had a crush on a boy in the department. And he was very flirtatious with me, quote unquote, straight. And and it was really that moment of seeing life in color. You know, you hear it all the time.

[00:24:36]

But it's so true. It's like once you've once you've tasted that well, that sounds vile or at least salacious. That's not what I meant. Nothing happened. But but the way I felt about him, I was like, oh, oh, this is what a crush is.

[00:24:50]

I had a girlfriend all through high school and we got along wonderfully well.

[00:24:54]

And we were a couple and we behaved as such. And so so once I came out to my self and admitted to myself, I the only people were my my family, sadly.

[00:25:05]

But that's kind the way it goes. They were the only people who I hadn't told everybody else I worked with knew. Right. What I was doing.

[00:25:10]

I was doing theater and I was still in school and I was running around, you know, it was low key. It was out of the public eye. There were no high stakes. There was no interview. Nobody was asking to talk to me about my work or whatever, you know, personal questions were coming up and I had to deal with. There was no cost to it in that way.

[00:25:30]

So did your family not know or did they always know? They didn't know? Well, maybe they knew deep down inside or whatever, but no, it was several years later. It was really when I met Todd because I had things had gone so well for me in in that regard of like I'm not unhappy.

[00:25:47]

I don't feel stifled by this that my family doesn't know. So I didn't see any reason to have that conversation and isn't that handy. And but then I met Todd and I realized when I met him, that was the first person that I loved in a way that I wanted to share with my family. And that that made me sad. And I thought, well, I have to try and do this, you know, and how did that go?

[00:26:15]

I didn't go great. Right? It's been. It's been. It's great now, but it was it was hard at first, it was hard for them. You know, this was a couple of years after my dad had passed away, which made, I think, really hard for my mom. I mean, you know, is their world turned upside down enough now? She needed to process this information without his help. Yeah. So that was really hard.

[00:26:37]

And I feel for that very much.

[00:26:40]

But it got better. And I don't know if this sounds shallow. I don't mean it to but on my part or their part. But I definitely know that a couple of years after that, once Big Bang started in the success of that happened, that all helped to you know, I think, again, I think so much of any parent's problem with it, not all of it. And but in my case was fear of how this would make my life not good.

[00:27:07]

And when it started to prove slowly, surely, more and more that it was actually had my life was going just fine.

[00:27:16]

I think that that allowed a lot of relief. I'm sure it did. How could it not, you know? Yeah.

[00:27:21]

And it's interesting when you have the success that you have had and and you also happen to be gay, sort of you become de facto an activist, don't you? In a sense, those are sort of the very fact that you admit that in a world where still not everyone who's in that position. That's right. Is willing to talk about it.

[00:27:39]

That's right. And that was my last hurdle with coming out, right? Yes, I was.

[00:27:45]

Because I just because I knew it was like you'll be a gay actor from here on out and.

[00:27:52]

Right. And now looking back, not only has it not been a bad thing for me, it's been the exact opposite. It's been a great thing for me.

[00:27:59]

It's it's not it's not untrue. But it's also not that I don't mind, you know, I don't know.

[00:28:08]

Did it feel like a big decision to take, though, because you were having to weigh all that up or did it just, you know, no, no.

[00:28:14]

It happened organically. I was doing an interview the year after Normal Heart with The New York Times. And Patrick Healy was interviewing me and he just asked we were at whatever we were interviewing over coffee or whatever, and he asked, was it more meaningful to you to be a part of the normal heart because you're gay? Or something like that, and I was like, OK, here we are. And I went, Yes. I thought, well, I just sort of came out through the back door, which again, sounds dirty in this conversation anyway.

[00:28:46]

It's a little.

[00:28:48]

Yeah, but but it kind of was appropriate because to your first question, I wasn't I wasn't trying to hide or from my friends and family because you'd never lied about it.

[00:29:00]

No. Oh, no.

[00:29:02]

I definitely just never been taking my girlfriend to the Emmy Awards or what hadn't happened.

[00:29:06]

I just had found a way to not, you know, invite the conversation if I could keep it at bay. Somewhat cowardly in retrospect.

[00:29:16]

I guess what I think it's interesting what you say, because I think within our lifetime, which is, you know, spans a relatively short period of years, I think there it is. It is hugely different. When we were kids on TV, even even people who were evidently gay weren't talking about it.

[00:29:35]

They were they might be like, for Christ's sake, you know what we had?

[00:29:40]

I mean, like we had Larry Grayson, for instance, who was hugely successful and his act was all about making kind of give, you know, and yet myself as an eight year old child watching.

[00:29:51]

And he wasn't thinking, oh, there's a homosexual Jeno. You know, it just didn't. It wasn't.

[00:29:56]

No, he was just following you. He was entertaining. Yes. Good. Yeah. Yeah. So there has been a big sea change and to to sort of grew up through that. I think. I hope it's easier for an actor.

[00:30:09]

No. Yeah.

[00:30:10]

Can I just say that I don't know if. I don't know. I don't, I don't see.

[00:30:14]

I mean we're in such a wonderful but weird time right now and we have been going into this time right now already. But there's so many opportunities. There's so many there's so many avenues and venues with which to make a show and all types of characters. And which is not to say that they're all equal. You know, you can not everything is going to be like a level of a big bang. And so, yeah, it doesn't have the returns necessarily financially that the people involved would want or whatever.

[00:30:44]

And I said that's hard.

[00:30:45]

But but just put that aside. I mean, the opportunity to represent and be who you are and whatever, that's I think that's I know that that's more going on in the industry now.

[00:30:58]

It's not far enough, but that doesn't stop or it hasn't stopped yet the kind of society things you grow up with that might make you personally, even if the industry is even if you know you can work, you may not be wanting to have that conversation. So going back to 2006, when you were before you were one of the biggest stars in the world at you were how much of a struggle was it?

[00:31:23]

I mean, how often were you doing other jobs? And not that often?

[00:31:28]

I I was really fortunate when I got out of grad school. I got cast within a few weeks in an off Broadway play, which didn't pay enough to pay rent.

[00:31:40]

So it wasn't it wasn't fortunate in that way. But it was crucial for me in that I was a working actor meeting other working individuals as soon as I landed there. And I think it's one of the biggest one of the big reasons why I have such a love for New York as it was. It's just it's just in my DNA now, even from just that moment.

[00:32:01]

But, you know, I spent a lot of time on unemployment and I did I was working another job. There was this fabric store called Happel Construction, and I was working there a few times a week.

[00:32:14]

And that was the. I guess that was the only job I took once I graduated from grad school.

[00:32:20]

That was not acting but you, because you chosen to move to New York to become an actor rather than Los Angeles. So you were auditioning in New York. But then you would you would also do pilot season, which was. Yes. Would you go to L.A. to do a pilot season or would you do that for now? I would do it from New York on tape.

[00:32:38]

And I actually got two pilots from New York on tape, which shocked me. I thought every time I taped a pilot audition in New York, I thought, well, these are going into a trash bin somewhere.

[00:32:49]

And then this summer, I got Big Bang. I actually had spent out in L.A., though, and I did make room for that.

[00:32:57]

And so I don't know I don't know if that made a difference or not. I was glad to be there for it.

[00:33:04]

I've heard you say that you when you read that script, you knew that that was a part you could you could nail. Yes.

[00:33:11]

Is that something that you would often feel about things? Or was it was that was it quite unique?

[00:33:15]

I wouldn't say it was often, but it was a calling card of mine as an actor to myself, which was that I can I would read a script and I would frequently know when the character that I would be suited to play was suddenly talking OK, after a while, not like with one word or something, but like I just get through a couple of seasons ago, that guy I could play and I always had a way of wording it, which was that I may not get it.

[00:33:37]

There's plenty of ways to go about things. I should be in the final five. That's how I always was like it. I should be in the final five with this.

[00:33:45]

When you if you knew when something suits you, will you then avoid something that doesn't or do you kind of go, no, I'll make it.

[00:33:53]

That's a tough question. But I think my response that I'm thinking is that that's when I would need to be invited and OK.

[00:34:00]

And Hollywood was like that for me with with Ryan Murphy.

[00:34:03]

I mean, I knew that I had it in me somewhere inside to play a darker character or.

[00:34:10]

Yeah, not even dark, although he is.

[00:34:12]

But like, really Roy Cohn ask in his nasty evilness at times and that a role that I would love to play and and I knew that.

[00:34:23]

But I don't know if I would have read this script and said, oh, I should be, you know, in the final five for Henry Wilson. But I said I could Rin's that I should. And therefore suddenly I could and did. Yeah. You know, yes. He's a pretty monstrous kind of old school, for instance, own agent. And he has this.

[00:34:40]

He wields great star making power, which he also abuses for his own sexual sexual gratification and advancement are.

[00:34:49]

Is there a catharsis in playing someone with no moral compass, is there is there a kind of liberation to that? Oh, utter, complete. You know, there were two things about this part, which was, number one, the lengthy make up process, which which is funny to me, because I it's I keep saying no one would look at that and go, who is that? That's not. No, I had a friend who said she goes, it's like you were shot through a spidery creepy filter.

[00:35:17]

And I said, that's a really good way of putting it.

[00:35:20]

But but between going through that two and a half hour process every day and changing my eye color from blue to brown, from putting in those teeth just the different hair line and stuff, it was it was very freeing to me.

[00:35:36]

It goes back to what we were talking about with noises off and the Charles Bush stuff. I had no fear that this violence, anyone was going to confuse the feelings of this vile character from my own. And so I was free to embrace them completely and make them my own.

[00:35:54]

And and and once I did that, it was I felt like a kid in a candy store. I really did. I loved seeing some of the horrible things I said.

[00:36:03]

Yes. It also requires quite a lack of vanity. I mean, I'm particularly thinking of the dance of the seven veils that you did to an unresponsive Rock Hudson. I mean, it's that for a scene like that again, is that part of what you're saying? There's a real liberation and a joy in that? Or do you need a stiff chin to do a scene like that?

[00:36:21]

I didn't end up needing my version of a stiff gin, ended up being home work on it because when I first read it. And I saw down to his last two veils, I thought, motherfucker, Ryan, promise me that only people twenty seven years old and younger would be showing that much flesh.

[00:36:39]

So that's my first thought. It's a very naked show. Yeah. And I didn't have to do any of that. Thank you, Jesus. But but then I started going into I don't know who I knew who Isadora Duncan is, but I didn't know how. What does it mean to want to emulate dancing by her anyway? One thing led to another. And I just started, like I say, doing my homework and looking at it and moving around my apartment in that way.

[00:37:03]

And that's when it started to get really fun, not because I was enjoying my own moves, but because I was loving the fact that this character that we've seen in this vile, power hungry, gay, but really machismo like fuck you way his his spirit animal was this diva of a dancer, this joyous sexual and that line they put in there, shut the fuck up, I'm dancing. It was like, yeah, this is my moment, bitches.

[00:37:33]

I am and I am beautiful.

[00:37:36]

And that really worked for me. And I knew that I didn't have to be a good dancer and I certainly didn't have to look beautiful. I just had to know that Henry felt that way and that that was really fun.

[00:37:49]

It's a fantastic series. It's a real sort of love letter to go to movies at the same time exposing how miserably the industry has treated issues around race and about sexuality. And it's a whole big sort of what if you know, what if Hollywood had dared to be progressive in the 40s? I find it I find it really moving, actually, because of how miserably far away from the reality we still are. I agree. And and and even since that series has been released, of course, with the terrible stuff that's happened with George Floyd and, you know, the Black Lives Matter movement, where do you think our industry is at with that?

[00:38:24]

Do you think?

[00:38:25]

We've I think we're at a turning point. I think. Well, yeah, I think we were getting better. I don't think we were getting better enough, obviously, and not quick enough. And I think we've hit a tipping point and I don't know exactly where it's going to land. It's a curious time. There's no real work going on.

[00:38:42]

But maybe that will work in its favor because. Well, I don't know why I'd be making up to understand why it's just that it's such an extraordinary moment in the world in general, maybe that will couple with this moment of realization.

[00:38:58]

I feel more to use the parlance awoken, awoke, awakened suddenly in a way that I would assume that I had been before. I don't know.

[00:39:10]

I don't know why the confluence of everything in the world, but something about the latest this the George Floyd video really seemed to make I felt it. There was an extra sense of fuck this enough. I don't know the answers.

[00:39:25]

I don't even know how I'll be able to play a role in helping. But something's changed. Something's changed, and I think it will change. I do think it'll change an industry. I think of it and I don't mean this in a I don't mean to sound callous. So much of this is about power and money.

[00:39:42]

I mean, look, I think colourblind casting and making sure we're telling the stories of people that his stories haven't been told, all of it is, of course, crucial and important.

[00:39:52]

But to try and do that simply through the way everything is right now will never get us any further or it won't get us much further.

[00:40:02]

It it's the people whose stories need to be told need to have their literal representatives in the biggest seats of power. I'm not telling anybody how to do that, but it's just how I feel about it. We need to see more people of color in the executive positions of different places. And I need not to be quite as, oh, there's a black person in the room. When I go into a pitch meeting, as I and I don't, I hope that I don't even get in trouble just for saying that in this world.

[00:40:39]

I don't know. I don't want you to be taken wrong. But that's how I know things have to change because that is still a thing. It's still remarkable at times at least, to see a person of color in a multitude of positions of power. And that's not that's why we're still in the shitter, as far as I'm concerned.

[00:40:59]

I do what I want to talk to you about. George, you got married in 2017. How did you meet? We were set up on a blind date in two thousand two. I've been in New York for a year, and my good friend from grad school, Tammy, she was close friends through their husbands, actually, to the woman who was Todd's boss at his ad agency. And I was lonely and he was lonely, and so they scheduled for us to meet and it really worked immediately.

[00:41:35]

It really did.

[00:41:36]

So the whole Big Bang Theory journey that changed your life, you know, completely reimagined what your life could be that he's been on that whole journey with you the whole way. Yeah.

[00:41:48]

And there's no you know, if there's two things I'm grateful for, it's the number one, that kind of success hitting later in life for me, because I had been through a lot of other things already. And the other huge one, and probably the biggest one is to have already fallen in love to have a partner in this going forward. I think that I think it's always been harder.

[00:42:10]

You know, I worked obviously for many years. I worked with Kaley Cuoco, who was 20 when we shot the pilot, and.

[00:42:20]

And I always felt and she's happy and successful and married to a great guy, but but watching her as a young woman and dating people without even knowing what was going on or not going on with her, I thought that's got to be really hard. I think that would have been hard for me, too.

[00:42:37]

I think it's a difficult thing to lose your anonymity, isn't it? It changes how it changes how strangers react to you, to have your partner, to have that nailed down before you go into that. Exactly.

[00:42:48]

In their expectations of what you're going to bring into this relationship, like, well, with them comes maybe some baggage, maybe some notoriety, maybe some picture taking. I don't know.

[00:42:59]

You know, and that's just it's just it's just more hurdles to get through of getting to know somebody, you know, and figure out who they really are.

[00:43:07]

When I hear you talking about your life, I told you, you describe it as a very normal life together and you really relish the normality of that.

[00:43:14]

Yes.

[00:43:15]

But as such a recognizable human, how easy is it to have a boringly normal life? Surprisingly easy.

[00:43:24]

I mean, one of the things is we run a very lean machine as far as a home life goes, like we're not we're not a celebrity couple who has any assistants or people running around the house working. It's just us and the two dogs. And so, you know, any time we've looked at an apartment or a house or whatever, something, the laundry always comes up. And I remember specifically a realtor saying, yes, the laundry's in the garage, but you won't be doing it anyway.

[00:43:50]

And I was like, well, how do you think it's going to do it?

[00:43:52]

We do not what people assume is going on, but it's really the opposite, you know. So I think that's helped. I mean, both of us grew up with such a stable home life.

[00:44:05]

Thank God, you know, parents that stayed together and loved each other and and we kind of just know no other way than to make it work, both on a day to day basis and kind of the relationship wise to, you know, highs and lows or whatever. And that's just what that's just what it is to live to with somebody.

[00:44:23]

Yeah. So what do you still have left to do, either as an individual or as a couple? What's the. I don't know, I really don't know. I mean, again, this is kind of back to the the existential question that I was starting to ask myself before the whole world started asking it, which is like.

[00:44:43]

We've all been granted this moment of pause, and I don't know who could fight hard enough to distract themselves, to not take some level of look at life, where I am, what's going on?

[00:44:56]

What do I really want to do next?

[00:45:00]

I'm excited about it, but I'm not exactly sure what to be excited about yet because I don't know what world we're walking back into. Yeah, I read something that said when. We're about to walk into 20, 30, basically, and a lot of the changes that would have slowly happened from here until 2030 will be accelerated. And it was a whole long piece that I didn't I'm not smart enough to regurgitate here, but I thought I have that.

[00:45:23]

I kind of know what you're saying in my heart. I feel a sense of that.

[00:45:27]

Like it won't just be because of some masks and some gloves and some hand sanitizer and distancing that things are different. Things have changed while we've been in here. And and much like 9/11 was in this country, a lot of the changes you won't really realize until a few years down. That's right. We didn't always go through these kinds of security checkpoints. We didn't all wear whatever it's going to be. It might have been unfathomable five years ago, but now this is going back, would seem, you know, might as well wait up a cigarette and a plane.

[00:46:00]

You know, we can't even imagine that now. But but that's they did it.

[00:46:05]

Well, Jim, it's been a joy to talk to you. Thank you so much for that.

[00:46:10]

It's been a joy to talk to you and listen to you. I've loved running through season one. It's been fun.

[00:46:15]

Yeah, well, you've made season two the highlight of season two. Yeah. You have to.

[00:46:22]

OK, you and Judy. Yeah.

[00:46:24]

Side by side, cheek to cheek. And listen, thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you for struggling with all the wires and all the.

[00:46:31]

No, no. It was a pleasure. And I hope we get to meet in person. One I need to know would be really nice.

[00:46:54]

David Tennant does a podcast with Is A Something Else and No Mystery production produced and edited by Zooey Edwards, additional production from Harriet Wells, Sarah CamNet, Steve Akerman and George Tenet. The sound engineers were Josh Gibs and Galavan. Lawrence Tickle, the executive producer, is Kristiina.