Co­me­dian Scheer is jug­gling projects

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - A+E - By Robert Lloyd

It is not a sur­prise to find that Paul Scheer talks fast. He doesn’t have time not to.

As a per­former, writer, direc­tor and/or pro­ducer at the cen­ter, mid­dle or edge of a wide va­ri­ety of cre­ative projects — mostly but not ex­clu­sively in the world of com­edy (main­stream and fringe) — Scheer, 43, keeps up a ca­reer that would make a bee feel like a slacker.

You will have seen him on tele­vi­sion in good wigs (Show­time’s “Black Mon­day”), bad ones (as in his Adult Swim ac­tion par­ody “NTSF:SD:SUV”) or with no wig at all, as a reg­u­lar in FX’s “The League” or in re­cur­ring roles on ABC’s “Fresh Off The Boat” and HBO’s “Veep.”

You may have heard him on one or both of his pod­casts. “How Did this Get Made?” is about ter­ri­ble movies, and “Un­spooled,” which he co-hosts with film critic Amy Ni­chol­son, is about os­ten­si­bly great ones.

He’s on­stage too, with his “Hanging with Paul Scheer,” which he de­scribes as “a show-and-tell show, like a din­ner party with props,” or at the Up­right Cit­i­zens Bri­gade The­ater, where he im­pro­vises reg­u­larly. For that mat­ter, you may have read him: “Cosmic Ghost Rider De­stroys Mar­vel His­tory,” his lat­est se­ries for Mar­vel Comics, be­gan ap­pear­ing in early March.

“The ben­e­fit of what we get to do, for as long as we’re here, is to try ev­ery­thing we pos­si­bly can,” Scheer told me re­cently. “I think pod­cast­ing has made me a bet­ter writer; what I’ve learned from comic book writ­ing has made me a bet­ter direc­tor.”

The fol­low­ing is an edited tran­script.

Q: Was there com­edy in your house­hold as a child?

A: I’m an only child, I was home alone a lot, watch­ing a ton of TV, ran around the front lawn talk­ing to my­self. My dad showed me a lot of com­edy, and would show me R-rated movies but cut out scenes of sex and vi­o­lence — so I re­mem­ber watch­ing a bootleg copy of “Bev­erly Hills Cop” that was miss­ing 30 min­utes. He knew I loved Ed­die Murphy so much. Watch­ing “Satur­day Night Live” with him Sun­day morn­ings was, like, the best mem­ory for me.

Q: How did you get started in com­edy?

A: I grew up on Long Is­land. My par­ents were di­vorced and my dad would be, like, “Let’s go see stuff in the city.” And so we would go to this church base­ment and see Chicago City Lim­its, a short-form “Whose Line Is It Any­way?” im­prov show. And I fell in love with it. They had classes, and my dad would drive me into the city.

Then the Up­right Cit­i­zens Bri­gade came to town. I started tak­ing classes with them, and as their the­ater was build­ing up, they were, “We want you to do shows.” UCB was noth­ing back then, but it was the to­tally right choice. I made my best friends there. I got to au­di­tion for “Satur­day Night Live,” I started to do bits on “Co­nan.” A whole world opened up.


Scheer says pod­cast­ing has made him a bet­ter writer.

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