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MB: With all the stuff you do on film, where the process is so much faster, do you feel like you actually get to use what you learned in your theater training at Yale School of Drama? MP: Part of what they tell you is that they're training you to be able to instinctively respond, to train the instrument to be open. And I think that's really key in television and film. Oftentimes, you're responding to a piece of tape on the side of the camera, because the other actor is working on something else or has to be in the make-up chair and they just need the reaction. And you think, "Well, that's not what theater training is about at all, to act to a piece of tape," but I think it gives you that skill set to be able to bring up what you need to. MB: Just for the sake of full disclosure, do you remember that time we were in graduate school together? MP: Yes. Yes, I do. Write it down! MB: Who can forget academic year 2002-2003, right? But now, let's totally shift gears. MP: Okay. MB: Are there differences between working on a cable series and a network series? MP: The budgets are a lot different, so you have to work within the constraints of whatever that is, and generally, networks have a lot more money than cable shows. But I feel like [30 Rock and Weeds] are pretty similar, in that the writers are all interesting and creative and fun. I don't sense the network or cable presence the way that the creators might, but it seems like both shows have been given the license to run with it. MB: Getting back to 30 Rock, I think it's interesting that you are an actor of East Indian heritage, but you are playing a character whose name is Jonathan. His minority status doesn't really come into play, and that's pretty unusual for television. MP: I don't think the part was written to be played by an East Indian actor, but of course a lot of East Indian people don't have East Indian names, so I think it works. And I think it speaks to the intelligence of someone like Tina Fey that she didn't feel the need to compartmentalize the character by changing his name. I think pointing it up could have made it more of an issue that it needed to be. MB: Doing you think your ethnicity has affected your career? MP: Yes. Sometimes in a great way, but sometimes it can be limiting. What's great is there are all these parts I can play that are written for East Indian and South Asian and Middle Eastern characters. I just went in for a French Arab character, and I've played Lebanese. There are all these great things I've been able to do. But on TV, people of color are still usually the friends of the lead characters, so the stories are not always all that interesting.