It’s no wonder that Paul Scheer is appearing in no less than four TV series right now, has carved out a chunk of Web and podcast real estate, and has four movies coming up.
The quirky comedian, whose gap-toothed mug has graced a long line of sitcoms from 30 Rock, Party Down, Happy Endings, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation, is now getting laughs in Fresh Off the Boat, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and The Hotwives of Las Vegas and, starting Sept. 9 (10 PM/9C), he returns for the seventh and final season of FXX’s The League, the fantasy football show that’s really more about friendly humiliation, hazing and one-upping your friends.
As Andre, the plastic surgeon with a weird wardrobe and perpetual butt of his pals’ pranks, he may get the last laugh in the end: he starts the season, at least, with a hot blonde girlfriend, his buddy Pete’s ex. The premiere continues the tradition of NFL player appearances—Marshawn Lynch, Tyrann ‘Honey Badger’ Mathieu and Calais Campbell play themselves. Scheer talked with us about the many hats he wears—literally and figuratively.
“The one thing that’s changed my life, I have one of those standing clothes steamers—it’s way easier than ironing. It’s been a lifesaver. Wish I knew about them years ago.”
Andre sure takes a lot of abuse.
Yeah, my character has taken a lot of beatings. I got pooped on by like 50 pigeons, I’ve been impaled. The sad thing about Andre is no matter how far he comes, it’s always one step forward two steps back. He’s gonna get married to somebody and she gets blinded. He opens a restaurant and it gets shut down because his partner has sex there. He’s the unluckiest person. But unlike most people, after seven years of just getting ground to a pulp, he still doesn’t stop. He keeps on going. He gets back up. He’s the champion of the everyman. This is a character that a lot of people probably have in their own lives.
After seven seasons, how do you feel about it ending?
The great thing about knowing it’s the final season is we’re able to tie up loose ends, bring back characters from the first season. With Andre, his dating life is going really well and things in his career are good. Andre’s on an upturn and maybe that’s how he’ll go out. The thing I’ll miss the most is the camaraderie with the cast. We never get sick of anybody; we always look forward to it. I won’t miss standing on our sets under the hot lights—we’ve never shot on a stage, we’re always on location. Standing for 12 hours in a bar, no air conditioning, is the worst. And I will not miss the hats and the outfits.
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve worn?
I did wear something this season that’s pretty amazing—a matching hat, shirt, and pants outfit that was bought at H&M. We’ve been talking to the Smithsonian about giving all of Andre’s hats for a big display next to Archie Bunker’s chair.
Were you into fantasy football before The League?
No. When I found out what the show was, I said, ‘I don’t want to do that show, I don’t want to do a show about fantasy football.’ But they told me, “Don’t worry about it, it’s a comedy show–fantasy football is secondary.” Then I got into fantasy football. But I have a 15-month-old kid and when he was born I forgot about fantasy football.
Do you think the football aspect was a plus or minus for the show?
It’s always been a stumbling block. Originally, people were like, “Well, it’s a football show,” and I think they were expecting us to be about the minutia of trades and performance and stats. I think people realized, especially as we got on Netflix and in the second and third season, all of a sudden they went, “I love this show. I don’t care about fantasy. I don’t care about football. I just love these characters and the situations.”
What teams do you follow?
I’m from New York, so the Jets are my team. I follow the Knicks and Clippers for basketball and the Yankees for baseball.
When did you know you were funny?
I loved comedy from an early age. I remember putting on standup shows for my parents at Thanksgiving but back then it was doing other people’s material. I definitely got in trouble for messing around at school.
Did your family support you going into comedy?
My dad was always super-supportive of me but my mom was a little more suspect. Their whole thing was, “Go to school, get an education, and then you can do whatever you want.’ I was going to NYU and performing full time, so I was doing both.
What was your big break?
A show called Best Week Ever on VHI, where we talked about pop culture. People started to recognize me, and that gave me cachet and allowed me to make Human Giant, a show I’m most proud of, with Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel. Also NTSF: SD: SUV, a show on Adult Swim which I did for three years and got to work with amazing people like J.K. Simmons and Kate Mulgrew.
You also direct, write, produce—do you have a preference?
I kind of like to mix it up. If I don’t do one for a while I miss doing that. On The League I get to write and act, which is really fun.
You’re also in Fresh Off the Boat, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and The Hotwives of Las Vegas, which you also produce. How are you juggling everything?
It’s super fun to do all these different things. In the past when you did TV you were locked in to one role. Now you can do many things, especially when you have a three-month production schedule. We just did a comedy special on a bus, Crash Test–Aziz Ansari, Rob Corddry, Aubrey Plaza that’s on Vimeo now. It’s based on a show I co-host at Upright Citizens Brigade.
You have a few movies coming up.
I got to do a movie with Nicolas Cage called Army of One. It’s a comedy based on a true story about a guy who decides to kill Osama Bin Laden but has no training–that’s Cage. Daddy’s Home is a comedy with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. I have a small part in that but basically it’s two dads competing. Hell and Back is an animated movie that sold at Cannes. One Shot is a movie I shot in Mexico with Topher Grace and Anne Heche.
What’s ahead—what’s on your to-do list?
My overall goal is to have fun and work with people that I really like. There are times I‘ve worked with people and it’s just been a paycheck, and life’s too short for that. That’s what’s so great about this cast.
I assume you’ll stay friends. Might you work together again?
For sure. We all kind of pop into each other’s ecosystems.
What about personal goals?
I do want to continue to learn Spanish and I want to be able to take my child out and explore on new cool trips. My parents defaulted to Walt Disney World all the time, which was amazing, but I want to do it with a little more culture. But I have to wait till he’s a little older.
What’s the best thing about fatherhood?
I love it. It makes you put everything in perspective. Everything else can wait so you can spend time with your family. The best thing is finding that little thing that will make him laugh.
Does he take after you? Is he funny?
He’s super cute and he’s super funny, kind of a perfect combination of my wife and me. My wife is an actress too: June Diane Raphael, she’s on Grace and Frankie with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. We met at Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.
Did you get parenting advice from your co-stars?
Yeah. It’s so funny—when we started this show I wasn’t married, John wasn’t married. Steve, Katie had one kid each. Now I’m married, John’s married. Steve, Katie and Mark have two kids,
What are your style essentials?
Well, as a bald man I get off easy. I’m a big fan of the Kiehl’s line. I love that stuff. The one thing that’s changed my life, I have one of those standing clothes steamers—it’s way easier than ironing. It’s been a lifesaver. Wish I knew about them years ago. I have a little mini one for traveling. I’m trying to mature into clothes too, get rid of stuff. I don’t want to be a 40, 50-year-old guy wearing graphic tees.
What’s your definition of the perfect gentleman?
Good listener. Attentive to detail. Opening a car door, standing up when a woman gets up—little things like that. And trying to better yourself. I struggle to be that.”–
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