Mad Men
The Rich Sommer Interview

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"He Wants To Be A Guy, But Also Wants To Be A Man"
CB: So you were ready for the theater after that. RS: Yeah, I mean…[laughs] I haven't actually done a play since grad school, which was three and a half years ago. But I still feel ready. I'm gonna get more ready as the strike goes on. [both laugh] CB: And you did Upright Citizens Brigade, which some of my friends on staff will be thrilled about. RS: I did. You know, my time at UCB was…actually, the summer between my second and third year of grad school, I went to UCB to take classes for that entire summer. And right when I came back to New York after my third year of grad school, I started back up there, and I had made some friends the year before and was interning there, and there was a weird shake-up in the performers' ranks there, and a guy that I knew was given a list of names and was asked, "Who do you want to perform with?" And my name happened to be on the list, and he said, "Oh, how about Rich?" It was a little premature. [both laugh] I wasn't fully prepared. Our team only lasted about four and a half months and then disbanded. But it was a really good time -- I get to say that I was a part of that whole organization, which is really phenomenal. CB: Yeah. And it must have been terrifying, too. RS: It was absolutely terrifying. I mean, when you're in the back hallway and Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers are walking by, and you're just like, what the hell am I doing here, I've been here for, like, three months. Everybody hates me because I've only been there for three months and there are some people who have been studying there for three years and haven't gotten onto a house team yet. And I just got on because I guy I knew saw my name on a list and said, "That'd be fun," not really considering the fact that I might not have been fully prepared. Not that I blame him -- I blame myself. So did you do both sketch comedy and improv? RS: With UCB I only did improv. CB: Do you find the on-the-spot…well, especially with UCB, but do you find the on-the-spot aspect of improv has helped you with your acting? RS: Oh, absolutely, I mean, especially when I look at, like, the commercials I've done, because I did a handful of commercials, I don't know, eight or nine national spots, and the improv training was absolutely essential. It made it easy to switch gears and, you know, improvise when they needed it, and make things sound interesting when they didn't, so that was definitely an important part of that. Not that it's not important now, but I get to access it a lot less, with a show that's as tightly written as Mad Men.

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