I had the incredible misfortune this week of stumbling upon a podcast with Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on Mad Men. I say “misfortune” because it was, without a doubt, the most boring, mundane podcast interview I have ever heard in my life, and I say this as someone who listens to a ton of podcasts. During the hour-long interview, a soft-spoken Kartheiser mostly talked about process, and anyone who has ever heard an actor explain his “process” knows exactly how tedious that can be.
However, the podcast interview was boring by design. Kartheiser knows what’s up. A few years ago, he explained, after he jokingly said that he didn’t have a bathroom in his house, it’s all anyone would talk to him about in interviews. Five years later, and it’s still what journalists ask him about (in reality, while Kartheiser didn’t have a bathroom in his house, he did have one in his guest house, which was ten feet away from his main home). Kartheiser said that, since he started working on Mad Men, he’s been more “guarded” in interviews. He refuses to be “interesting,” he said, because journalists tend to make too much out of nothing, and we have lost our right to “interesting” interviews with Vincent Kartheiser.
So, he spent almost the entire hour of the podcast with Mark Shapiro proving just how uninteresting he could be. Despite the fact that he’s best known as Pete Campbell, he didn’t share any stories from the set. In fact, he barely even mentioned Mad Men during the entire hour. He talked at length about doing stage plays when he was 6 years old. And he said pseudo-profound things like this, when asked why he acts:
“When you do something for a long time, you start to find out things about it that you never imagined. It’s like a complex molecule, and if you go to Oxford and become a scientist, you start studying the molecule. At first, you study it, but if you study the molecule long enough, you’ll realize that there’s an entire universe and no matter how long you live, you’ll never stop figuring out things about the molecule.”
I swear, the whole podcast was like listening to a guy tell you about his dreams.
BUT, although he tried very hard not to, around the 42-minute mark of the podcast, Vincent Kartheiser finally said something kind of interesting! I doubt he even meant to, and it was in the context of explaining why he never talks about his personal life, but by God, Kartheiser let a soundbite slip through. He said something we could quote in a headline! He said “Thank God for Kim Kardashian,” and it was as though I had awoken from a long sleep. My brain flickered awake. I rubbed my eyes. Did he say, “Thank God for Kim Kardashian?” You mean, the same Kim Kardashian that his Mad Men co-star, Jon Hamm, called “a f*cking idiot?”
Why would Kartheiser say such a thing? After all, he had said he doesn’t like to put himself out there because he realizes that “for this one moment of joy” in an interview, he has to put up with seven months of saying, “No. I do have a toilet.” However, he explained, he appreciates those who are willing to put themselves out there (and thus, “pay the consequences”).
“Thank God for Kim Kardashian,” he said. “Because, really, she does something that actors haven’t wanted to do for decades, which is to put her personal life on display. And she does it freely. And she takes a lot of burden off of other actors. And for that, she does a great service for us.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Pete Campbell has finally found the silver lining in Kim Kardashian’s career. She takes “the burden” off of people with actual talent!
Source: The Mark Shapiro Podcast