Yes, Topher Grace knows that practically everyone who’s familiar with him is so largely due to That ’70s Show, the sitcom he starred in from 1998 to 2006. Since then, the actor has pursued smaller independent projects with critically acclaimed writers and directors, like Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and It Follows filmmaker David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake. And he’s now starting his own podcast under fellow podcaster Anna Faris’ banner.
In Minor Adventures, which premieres Sunday, March 31st, Grace and his guests embark on a variety of surprise journeys into the worlds of lie detector tests (Whitney Cummings), telemarking (Paul Scheer) and getting hypnotized (Tony Hale). The actor turned podcast host hopped on the phone with Uproxx to discuss the new venture, as well as the art of the celebrity interview — be it on talk shows, podcasts or websites — and his penchant for editing down the likes of Star Wars, The Hobbit and Seinfeld.
In the first press release and the preview episode, you self-deprecatingly joke about how there are a billion other podcasts. All jokes aside, however, I get the sense that you’re genuinely having fun with this.
I became a new father about a year and a half ago. Not that this is possible for everyone, or really anyone besides someone like me, but every new father should have at least one hour week to themselves. That’s what this became for me, especially since I was doing it with my friends. People like Whitney Cummings, who’s the first guest. I mean, we hooked ourselves up to a lie detector, but it’s given me the opportunity to do so many other things. We’ve done telemarketing. We had a DJ come on and teach us how to do that. Paul Scheer and I did a telemarketing competition together. We were just calling random people all over Los Angeles, and if you got their email, that was one point. If you got a $10 donation to the charity we were doing it for, you got two points. If you got them to commit to come to an event, it was three points.
So it was a break for you, then?
Yeah. I mean, it was a lot of fun to do, but it’s like, that’s what you want when you are trapped in the house with a new baby. Sometimes an excuse to get out and learn something new can do you some good. You can say to your wife, “Hey, I have a professional reason to leave the house for one hour this week.” But it was great because I got to go and experience these different things I knew nothing about. When you’re stuck at home with parental duties, that’s not always the case. So I feel like I’m in a weird kind of liberal arts college scenario, where you can try anything. It really is the most fun I can have at this point in my life.
Minor Adventures is sponsored by Anna Faris’ podcast Unqualified, which you were on last summer. How did this come about? Did you go to them with the idea, or did they come to you?