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The Maulik Pancholy Interview

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"I Think Selling Pot Becomes a Way For Him to Have Something to Do"
MB: I thought it was interesting that in the last episode of Season 2, when all those people in the grow house have got their guns aimed at Nancy, Sanjay suddenly has all the power. Nancy shoved him in the closet, and now none of the bad guys know he's there. He's the one with the element of surprise, and there's this tension for the viewer that comes from knowing he could burst into the scene at any moment. It seems like the show is positioning him to move in a new direction from there. MP: He does move in a pretty new direction. What happens in the first episode of Season 3 and how it moves forward...it's not like it gets resolved and then everything goes back to normal. It affects the whole season. MB: But you're probably not allowed to say anything else. MP: Totally not. MB: So...how did you get the role of Jonathan on <a "href=http://www.nbc.com/30_Rock/ target="blank">30 Rock? MP: I just went in and auditioned. In the pilot episode, Jonathan had no lines. He just talked through Post-It Notes, so I had to go in and do this little scene where I was just handing Post-It Notes out and try to make it funny. Then I had a callback with Tina [Fey], and they told me to "explore the physical comedy." So I went in and did all this crazy stuff. And the Post-It Notes fell. So I was, like, writing on my hand, and I remember leaving and thinking, "Oh my God. That was way too over-the-top. That's not what this show is about." So then several months went by where I didn't hear anything, but then they called and said they wanted me to do the show. MB: Are you going to be back for Season 2? MP: Definitely. I'm already on board for the first few episodes. MB: You mentioned not having any lines in the pilot. Jonathan still doesn't talk very much, but he totally makes an impression. He seems like someone who is desperately devoted to his boss and who will lose his mind if anything goes wrong. How would you define him? MP: I think Jonathan is sort of the ultimate executive assistant. The reason he wants to do his job so perfectly is he sees Jack Donaghy and he thinks, "This man is perfection, and I, too, could be like that." I think he develops this whole way of seeing the rest of the cast through Jack's eyes. Like his relationship to [Tina Fey's character Liz] Lemon is that he needs her at times, bur for the most part she's nothing, compared to his boss. But at the same time, that crazy respect creates a lot of fear for him, so he's terrified of messing up. He wants to be seen as the perfect assistant at all times.

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