Let me begin by disclosing my biases here: I am an unabashed lover of fake mustaches. I have seen every episode of Saved by the Bell multiple times and have written thousands and thousands of words about it. I started watching Franklin & Bash semi-ironically and it has somehow ended up becoming a part of my soul. I enjoy the comedy of Paul F. Tompkins, particularly his appearances on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast. And I would very much like to drink Manhattans with Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
So I am, shall we say, not impartial in regards to these videos from Paul F. Tompkins’ web series “Speakeasy,” which feature the comedian sitting down with the man behind Zack Morris and Peter Bash to knock a few back and discuss his career.
The second video I posted below is getting the most play so far, because it features Gosselaar playing a few rounds of Zack Morris In 2013 and that is some pretty damn strong Internet bait, but the more straightforward interview in the first clip is really interesting, too. For example, did you know that Gosselaar attended a regular high school 30 miles outside of Los Angeles for a solid chunk of Saved by the Bell’s run? How weird must that have been for the other students? Like, you’re just sitting at your lunch table poking at your Salisbury steak with your spork and all of a sudden Zack Morris himself asks if he can join you? I would have thrown up.
But I think my favorite part of the clip is when Gosselaar discusses the differences between being a teen star today and when he was on the cover of every third edition of Tiger Beat. He makes some solid points about how technology has changed the way we consume this sliver of pop culture, and, in the process, he sort of defends Justin Bieber. He also repeatedly calls him “annoying,” so it’s not the strongest defense you’ll ever hear, but still, it’s interesting to get a perspective on that situation from someone who lived through it and came out the other end a healthy, seemingly well-adjusted adult. A healthy, seemingly well-adjusted adult who owns at least one fake mustache. Let’s not forget that part.