Comedian Paul Scheer recalls the nerve-y process of auditioning for Black Monday with Don Cheadle, the time he made a shockingly dangerous Xbox commercial and more on the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s The First Time.
Ahead of the Season Two premiere of Black Monday, June 28th on Showtime, Scheer spoke about being nothing like his character Keith — a closeted stockbroker in the Eighties — but connecting to the idea of “this guy hiding who he was in a world that couldn’t accept him.”
It wasn’t until Scheer got to the audition, where he was not only acting alongside Cheadle but for producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, that he finally felt like he fully understood Keith — and the key was how nervous he was. “I used my energy of nerves and just turned it into this kind of coked-up energy of this character, and that was the first time where I felt like, ‘Oh, I really get Keith,'” he said. “And I think keeping those nerves and that energy of someone who is self-medicating and trying to be the smartest person in the room, even though he knows deep down he’s not, actually helped inform how I played him in the actual series.”
Elsewhere, Scheer explained how Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps inspired his bad movie podcast How Did This Get Made?, shared some memories of working on his acclaimed breakout sketch show, Human Giant and dredged up a mortifying memory of an improv show at a private home where he was also expected to serve food. Scheer shared another early-career horror story as well, reminiscing about his first on-screen acting job, a commercial for Xbox that involved being literally dragged through the streets of New York City.
“It didn’t occur to me until years later how dangerous that was because, at the time, I was like ‘I am acting,’” Scheer said. “I am an actor. Look at me! And then I realized that that commercial didn’t even air on TV, it just aired in like internal Microsoft meetings. So it wasn’t on TV, I didn’t get paid any money for it, and I almost died.”