This past weekend at Comic Con Africa, Pippa got to sit down with the awesome Kevin Sussman and chat about all things geek and his role as Stuart on the popular show, The Big Bang Theory. Did you know that Kevin actually worked in a comic book store before he landed his role as Stuart, a comic book store owner in the show? Neither did I. check out the interview between Pippa and Kevin below.
So what is it like being an international sex symbol?
[Laughs] It’s new for me… Um, I dunno, I’ll tell you if that ever happens! Let me get back to you on that one.
What do you mean? Stuart is totally that guy!
Thank you, that’s nice of you to… lie about. [laughs]
Everyone is always going to ask you the geek questions, particularly because of Comic Con and your role in The Big Bang Theory, but if acting wasn’t your first choice, if that hadn’t have worked out for you, what would have been your other option?
Probably illustration, I like visual arts.
Did you ever study illustration?
No, I have always doodled, ever since I worked at an ACTUAL comic book store.
So you did actually work at a comic book store?
Yeah just coincidentally, they didn’t actually know that when I got the role… I, of course, told them, because I like to sort of, y’know, boss them around about like, what they have wrong in the comic book store…
What is accurate…
Yeah. But ever since I worked at a comic book store I’ve sort of doodled and stuff and I do that a lot on my iPad with, I use an iPencil… and I do all sorts of stuff and I love that. Before I doodled with digital media, I was the type of person that was so afraid of making a mistake while I’m drawing that i would draw really lightly…
I’m from an animation background, so I do understand!
Oh yeah! I love animation too, I’m a big fan of animation. In fact, John Bowie, who plays Kripke on the show, the guy with the lisp, he and I, uh, the first season that Amazon did original content, we had a pilot – it didn’t get picked up by Amazon, but they did produce like a 6 minute sort of demo thing with stop motion animation based on a script that we wrote. It took place on an evil space station! Two slackers on an evil space station!
That’s really cool! Haha, of course, an evil space station for the win! [laughs]. So you’ve also been in a number of other series, Big Bang Theory isn’t the only thing you’ve done although perhaps that’s what people know you for at the moment, but has there ever been a part where you’ve thought, I should have been that guy! For example, you’re Stuart in The Big Bang Theory, but perhaps you’re like, damn I should have gotten the part of Sheldon Cooper.
Yeah I dunno, maybe I should have switched roles with Will Smith in Hitch? [laughs] yeah, I’ll leave it at that. You’ve emboldened me with your statement about me being a sex symbol. If I could go back, if I felt my own power back then, I would have done that.
Excellent, I think that’s a good plan! Alright so we are going to do a little bit of geek trivia, it is Comic Con and we kind of have to do some of it. So let’s see how good your knowledge of geek trivia is… Which movie did the following quote come from? “I’m from the Church of Lenny, I bow to his will!” Was it A: Burn After Reading. B: Almost Famous. Or C: Hitch?
Good job! Very good memory! The following line, “for like 2 days, it takes longer than that to digest corn”. Was it A: The Mentalist. B: Liberty Heights. Or C: Ugly Betty?
That sounds really familiar. What were the options? uh, I don’t know! Is it my line? Did I say that? It sounds really familiar. Uh… The Mentalist?
Haha, yes it was The Mentalist!
Was it my line? It must have been my line because I have the worst memory in the world so…
The fact that it’s stuck there means…
Yeah means that at one point I must have sat and gone over it a million times! Cause that’s how I learn my lines! [laughs]
In Burn After Reading, is Tuchman Marsh a rock band or a law firm?
Oh come on! [laughs] I’ll give you an interesting anecdote about that… After I made that movie, I was living in an apartment building and a neighbour of mine, told me that somebody upstairs had had a party and pushed… a potted plant fell on his car. And they didn’t want to pay for it, and he asked me to deliver a subpoena to the guy upstairs, and me being me, I was like, “ooookaaaay” and I had already played the guy that worked for the law firm Tuchman Marsh and I delivered George Clooney a subpoena in the movie. So I go upstairs, I’m knocking on this guy’s door, he doesn’t come out, I figure he’s not home, but I’ll do my due diligence and I keep knocking and finally this guy comes to the door, and he was clearly in the middle of a deep sleep, his hair is all messed up and everything. He opens the door, and I hand him a subpoena… and he’s like… “Tuchman Marsh?” [laughs] He’d clearly just seen the movie…
He must have been like, “what is happening?”
And then he opens the subpoena and he just looked confused… and upset… because he’s getting a subpoena, but also excited because it’s the guy from the movie. It was one of the weirdest meta coincidences that I’ve ever been involved in.
That’s pretty awesome. So, you were raised in New York, and you went to American Academy of Dramatic Arts?
Image Credit: Joburg.co.za
So how were your family when it came to like, acting and so on. I mean you said you also like to draw, so it seems like they knew that’s the direction you would take…
Yeah, my other brothers were more like sports… my parents were fine with it, my oldest brother, who’s 5 years older than me, was a genius who went to Harvard and became a doctor and stuff, so my family was like, ok, we’re done! Our job here is done!
The rest of you can do whatever you want!
Yeah, you want to go into acting? Fine! Whatever you want to do! We’ve done our thing. So yeah. Luckily I had parents that were supportive of me doing that. Uh… did I answer that question?
[laughs] Yes! Basically, were your parents supportive was the long and short of it.
Yeah basically they weren’t like stage parents, they were just like, yeah do what you want.
Just one last one, now that The Big Bang Theory is wrapping up, what has your experience been like on the show as a whole. Now we all know it’s coming to an end, but you came in slightly later in the series, what has the experience overall been like for you?
You know I’ve been on for 11 years now, since my first appearance so in a way, it’s almost like, uh, like an old-fashioned kind of, the old-fashioned Italian theatre… uh, commedia dell’arte, where you play one role for years and years. It’s like we’ve come full circle because I’ve had this role… But as opposed to when you do a play on Broadway where you’ve been in for a really long time, this is different…
It’s not the same story the whole time, whereas a role on Broadway it’s the same show the whole time… it’s familiar.
Exactly. That’s been fun. To play a character that develops over time and just like, all these different circumstances and all this stuff I’ve had to do. Scary stuff as well, like having to be submerged in a hot tub for an uncomfortable length of time. Um, and uh, but yeah it’s been overall an amazing and positive experience, working with everybody on the show. Everybody is really close and tight-knit.
I can imagine, after so much time it’s like a family.
Yeah and I think, that’s the reason. The fact that they all are… there are no divas in the cast. Everybody is super supportive. And super fun, and friendly. And I really do think that is one of the main reasons the show has lasted as long as it has because if they didn’t all get along it would just be too difficult.