“All I’m saying is, I don’t think they made this shit in seven days; or that anybody was biting an apple and burning any bushes.”
Like we said, contains traces of nuts. Thanks Iggy. Hamm’s comedic talents gained traction with a recurring role on 30 Rock. There, he played a love interest of Tina Fey – an inexplicably dense, stupidly handsome doctor who’s completely oblivious that the world bends, at every turn, to his handsomeness. In one episode, Fey attempts to shake him into reality: “Because of your whole Disney Prince thing, you live in a bubble where people do what you want and tell you what you want to hear. You’re in the bubble!” The joke was that Jon Hamm is so damn handsome, that he really would live in the bubble. Up close, all granite jaw and dimples with generous stubble, he does quite seem like a prime candidate for permanent bubble tenancy. “I don’t think that’s at all true,” he chimes. “Anybody who knows me would not say that.” Today, certainly, the waitresses don’t linger and flirt. The gawkers don’t gawk. Here, at least, on this West Hollywood rooftop, on this Monday afternoon, Jon Hamm is outside the bubble. Sure, there are bubbly moments in his life – the Merc, the Emmys. But it seems there’s always a part of Hamm with a limb cautiously out of the bubble. He’s too wary to be blissed out, to be wholly naïve. Because even when you’ve been Don Draper, even when you’ve quit Café Med, even when you allegedly pack the ‘Hamm-aconda’ and drive The Nicest Car You’ve Ever Been In, there’s still a reach. There’s still some hustle. “Am I consciously choosing what comes next? It’s hard to say. When you look at what’s out there in the feature world… I mean, I’m not Denzel Washington. I’m not Brad Pitt. And I’m not Matt Damon. And I’m not Ben Affleck. And I’m not Christian Bale. Those heavy dramas go to those guys. And they don’t make a lot of them. There are three, four, five a year. The Spotlights; The Fighters. What gets made a lot these days are superhero movies and comedies.” On paper, the past 18 months of Hamm’s life have been hell. He’s been in and out of inpatient treatment for alcoholism. He’s split from his long-time partner, too. “There’s stuff you wished would have turned out differently – whether it’s people dying, or… but, that’s part of life too,” he says, stealing some time before continuing. “For me, it’s about understanding that it’s not the end of the world. The sun’s going to rise tomorrow. You have to put your fucking shoes on. Pull your pants up. Take a shower. Don’t wallow. You want to tell me your sad story? We all have a sad story. What are you going to do about it? “You know, a lot of people look at me and go, ‘Oh my God, you’re so lucky, you have this, you have that, you’re this, you’re that. Wanna trade places with me? Like, now?’ Sure. Do you want to do it when I was 23, and living out of my car? And had no parents or prospects? But that part led to this part.” The eternal optimist in you knows Hamm will be OK. You know he’ll take this as a teachable moment. Because you don’t lose both parents before you can legally drink and crawl over the Rockies in a Corolla with $150 and sit through Mary’s decision on The Big Date and get Mad Men only to crumble now. You just don’t. While today’s meal is on GQ, Hamm’s quick to slap down an Amex. Then, on spotting us in reception, after we’ve wrapped, he offers a lift. And so, the valet giddily rounds the corner. We hop in. It’s nice. Real nice. The Mercedes S Coupe AMG 63 – that’s the nicest car Hamm’s ever been in. We pull out into the Sunset Boulevard traffic. Hamm fires up the sound system. Wilco’s new CD unfurls through the speakers. Wait, no – as if by cosmic fate, it’s playing on the radio. Because Jon Hamm still listens to the radio. We crawl down Sunset Boulevard, where everyone appears to be a little hungover from last night’s Emmys. A five-minute drive stretches beyond 15. Finally, Hamm sees his opening and guns the Merc around an indecisive sedan, giving him a honk for good measure. “What a guy,” he says through gritted teeth, flooring the car with glee. For a moment, roaring towards the Chateau and the Hills, the inner kid, the inner fabulosity of Jon Hamm is easy to see. Our hotel’s across the street – we can jump out here, but Hamm’s having none of it. “No, I’ll spin it!” He pulls a slick u-turn into the hotel driveway and waves away the valet with a polite, “No thank you, sir.” Then, Jon Hamm puts the car into drive and folds back into the Hollywood traffic with an easy grin, Wilco ringing in his ears and one foot firmly outside the bubble.