– When I walk on, into a scene, I just don’t want the film
to come to a grinding halt. (upbeat music) Hi, I’m Paul Reiser. I have been an actor for almost 40 years, almost 90 if you count grade school. And here’s what I’ve learned. So when I started, I was in
an acting class in New York and I thought that that was
gonna be the ticket to launch, but actually what happened
was I got my very first break because I walked into
an office by accident where they were casting “Diner,” and I wasn’t supposed to be there. And they said, would you come
back tomorrow with a picture? I said, no, I’m not actually,
I didn’t mean to be here, I was, because my friend was auditioning. And they said, yeah,
but come back tomorrow. And so then I met with
the director and in fact, I was trying to show all the
skills and wonderful things I had learned in acting class and he said, yeah, none of that, just pretend
like you’re having coffee. I went, well, but then why
do I go to acting class? Because I could have coffee
without acting class. He said, yeah, but this is a
movie about guys having coffee. So I threw everything I
learned out in acting class and I had coffee and
then I was in a movie, and that’s how I got started. Coffee and accidental office. You gonna finish that? Aliens was a very different thing for me because it was the kind
of movie that I would never imagine myself being in
and it was a fantastic read. I have never had this
experience where actually being out of breath
reading, flipping pages. I remember having to stop
in the middle to breathe because it was so intense on the page. I was very aware that this
was a, gonna be a huge hit and I just thought, wow,
this is James Cameron who’d already done
“Terminator,” Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton and all these great actors. So I knew I had this part
of a big pie and if you just do your part, that’s all you have to do. That was something that
I learned just being part of a big ensemble, but the other thing was because of just the way
the shooting schedule was, I didn’t speak for like a month. I was just in the background,
and it actually taught me to think a lot more about, what
are you doing in the scene, because it’s not just about dialogue. And as a comic, I’m used to talking a lot and it’s like, oh, I’m
actually in this scene but I’m not saying anything. So then it makes you
go inside a little bit and think of what you’re doing. So if you look carefully,
you’ll see me going like this a lot in the background, just, you know, to entertain myself, but a lot
of that was cut, I believe. I always tell people I’m not smart enough to make anything up, so I
can only write about things that actually happened to me, so “Mad About You” was
really something that grew out of my standup and my
standup was really growing out of what was happening
in my life at the time. I was newly married and it
all seemed kind of funny and challenging and interesting and bang-your-head-against-the-wall
kind of funny, and that’s the kind of
show I would write about. And the only reason I ever became a writer is because I didn’t know
how to describe things. I would pitch things and
they would sound terrible. I went, let me write it. You’ll see it’s different. Then I would write it and they would go, well, this is sort of good
but is that gonna be funny? I went, watch when we do it. Every morning, you’re snapping
and folding and creasing like an origami festival. (audience laughing) And then you turn the pages
and you lick your finger, gotta lick your finger,
grab a little page, and you just go, lick,
lick, then your thumb and then you lick it. Hey, hey, hey. A lot of the comedy is not something that you would see on the page. It’s all behavioral and
it’s all character stuff, so when you have a long-running show, people are invested in the character and they will be engaged in tiny moments and it has a lot of weight because you’ve lived with these people,
but it’s not necessarily something that would be on the page. So that’s one of the
great advantages of doing a long-running series is
you don’t have to end it. You can, it’s all little
bricks in the same wall and you want to build this
relationship over time, which is a nice place to be. (audience laughing) You’re a very complex woman. When I first met The Duffer Brothers about “Stranger Things,”
I presumed that these guys who were clearly sci-fi fans,
knew of me from “Aliens.” Turns out they said, well, actually, we grew up watching “Diner.” I said, well, that’s even more absurd that you would watch “Diner” and go, we should put that guy in this. But for some reason they had me in mind when they were writing this and they said, we actually had it in the script, he was called Dr. Reiser. And
then it came time to cast it, we thought, well, why
don’t we call Paul Reiser? I said, well, that
makes so much more sense because if you had,
you know, somebody else and it was called Dr.
Reiser, they’d be confused. See these patterns here are really pretty. I like the design. It’s almost psychedelic. – This is a joke to you, huh? – No, it’s not a joke. I just, I really, I don’t understand what this has to do with me, chief. Part of the fun of it was people automatically had this
resonance from “Aliens,” and they said, hmm, this guy’s no good. In truth, I didn’t even know myself if he was gonna turn
out to be good or bad. They didn’t tell me. That was the first question
I asked and I said, well, is he a good guy or is he bad? They go, we don’t know. Or they did know and
they chose not to share. So I was halfway into that second season still not knowing if I was good or bad, which is a really
interesting challenge to play because like, it has to work both ways when you get to the end of it and go, oh, oh, that’s why he. So it was sort of finding
this middle ground, which was a lot of fun to do. And people still thought,
well, he was a bad guy. I go, no, I wasn’t, I was very good. I actually saved people. Do I get credit? No. Jesus Christ. Here’s what I’ve learned. Get a good night’s sleep. Stay away from the craft service table because it’ll kill you. Know your lines. Listen to the other people, and then be as good as you can
because to suck is not good. We hope you’ve enjoyed
this little crash course and we hope you’ve learned
something, or not really, but more importantly, check
out “Horse Girl” on Netflix.