Paul is still as quick, funny and dapper as always, as we were reminded when we asked him about his moustache, Thanksgiving and, of course, his favorite podcasts.
He had a show called the Pod F. Tompkast, after all.
“Even though I do believe cake is superior to pie, pumpkin pie is the Ferrari of pies. Hey, even leftover cold pumpkin pie is delicious.”
When and why did you grow your moustache?
I’ve had it since 2009. I let my beard grow then started cutting it down more and more. The last thing to go was the moustache, and all of a sudden it just looked right on me, and I’m thinking, I’m going to keep this. Plus, my wife likes it, and that’s all you need.
Have you always had it these past few years?
One time I had an accident, where I wasn’t paying attention to the settings and shaved half off instead of just trimming it. So the rest had to go and I did a few shows without the mustache. It’s back better than before, yet people still ask when am I going to shave it off—I don’t think they can accept me as I am, which is real shame [laughs].
Who had the best moustaches in the movies?
Paul Newman in The Sting, I remember being a little kid and seeing that movie on TV and thinking he was the coolest-looking guy. In retrospect, legends like Errol Flynn in all those swashbuckling movies and Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind, with a moustache that couldn’t give a damn. Then there was also Ryan O’Neal in Paper Moon, a great movie made in the 1970s, shot in black and white, about the Depression. It was just a really great look for him.
Even George Clooney has worn a ’stache, how do you rate that one?
In O Brother, Where Art Thou? a moustache made sense for him. Clooney is a guy who should wear a mustache more often because he’s got a very big upper lip, a lot of real estate, and it looks good on him. The few times he’s had one, it suits him very well.
What are some of your favorite Podcasts?
One of my all-time favorites is With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus—she’s an extremely talented improviser and actor. The conceit is that it’s a different show every time, she has a guest on who acts as the host of the show, and they determine what the show’s going to be about, playing a character. And Lauren won’t know who she’s going to be until the guest introduces her. It’s completely improvised, and I absolutely love it. A lot of people know Comedy Bang! Bang!—and I do it frequently because it’s just so much fun—with host Scott Aukerman, who is a friend of mine.
A relatively new one I’ve been enjoying is Retail Nightmares, hosted by Alicia Tobin and Jessica Delisle, and they literally talk about retail nightmare experiences of their own plus guests who are usually comedians and actors. It’s eye-opening. I worked in retail for many years, and it’s still shocking to hear stories of terrible customers. Another one is Hollywood Handbook—two guys, Shawn Clements and Hayes Davenport, and the conceit of the show is that they’re Hollywood insiders and they’re giving you a guide to succeeding in Hollywood. They play these insane idiotic characters as if they know everything and they have real guests who come on as themselves but play along with the conceit.
You once rapped about cake versus pie. So set a Thanksgiving table for us, what are your choices?
Tofurky or turkey? Turkey because I have the choice, unlike vegetarians, and that’s my usual choice. Yams or potato? I’d rather have mashed potatoes, yams are fine but nothing beats a great mash. White or red wine? Red wine I enjoy. People keep getting me to try white wine, saying stuff like this one is very oaky or whatever but all white wine tastes exactly the same to me.
Broccoli or collard greens? Broccoli. My wife is from the South, so I’ve had my share of collard greens but they are often cooked with animal fat, and I like animal fat, but if I’m going to eat a vegetable, I like to feel I’m not cheating. And, pumpkin pie all the way, even though I do believe cake is superior to pie, pumpkin pie is the Ferrari of pies. Hey, even leftover cold pumpkin pie is delicious.
Since your wife is from South Carolina, where do you do Thanksgiving?
We usually stay in LA and very rarely travel. If there are people left in town, we’ll invite them over and have all the traditional things, turkey, potatoes, stuffing and all of that. One year we had a tofurky because we had a friend who was a vegetarian, and it was really fine, nothing to be afraid of. Another year it was just myself and my wife, and we actually finished in front of the TV, watching a Twilight movie. We used to go visit my family in Philly but it’s absolutely miserable weather. And now it’s so glorious not to have to travel to a cold place. You do get spoiled in Los Angeles.