May 142015
 

KevinandRobertaskype1KevinandRobertaskype2
Shortly after Kevin Rahm joined the cast of Mad Men, I was lucky enough to have a friend (virtually) introduce us. Since that time it’s been something of a Mutual Admiration Society, peppered with we-really-need-to-do-an-interview-one-of-these-days moments. So I wasn’t shocked when Kevin agreed to do the interview via Skype, and it made for a more fluid and fun conversation. See translation: Fluid and fun also means we ran long. You’re getting Part 1 now, and Part 2 middle of next week, as a reprieve from the wails and WHYYYS of the post-finale frenzy. The show will end, but The Basket will be alive and well for years and years to infinity, with fresh material–like Part 2 of this interview!

Kevin and I spent about five minutes being happy to meet each other and getting settled (me checking recording devices and such), and talking about:

1. The fundraiser he’d just done the day before in Louisiana for The Academy of Children’s Theatre (ACT), which he could not say enough great things about–like how he got involved because his niece was a student there; like how fantastic the co-founder Cynthia Whitaker was; like how 90% of the students go on to get full scholarships and almost all–if not all–the rest get partial scholarships.

2. How it was he knew our mutual friend, Bob Bergen. Kevin worked with the late beloved actress Kathryn Joosten on Desperate Housewives–she won an Emmy for her performance as Mrs. McCluskey (I adored every moment she was onscreen on The West Wing). Ms. Joosten served, along with Bob Bergen, as a Governor of TV Academy’s Performers Peer Group. She encouraged Kevin to join the Academy–he hadn’t known it was an option. At her funeral, Kevin approached Bob and asked him how he might help, and from there he became active in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Performers Peer Group, with Bob as something of a mentor.
(As for me, I’d studied voice acting with Bob awhile back, taking his workshops several times. Kevin and I agreed he is among the nicest humans alive.)

3. Then there was this whole thing about our mantras. His is “Don’t be an asshole,” which he actually presented to the kids at ACT as “Don’t be a butthead,” and mine is “Suck less,” which, coincidentally, really helped me the last time I worked with Bob Bergen. This all led to….

Kevin Rahm:I had a couple of moments like that when I was on the set of Mad Men, where I was just, Oh, God, I suck so much; this is so bad. Which is daunting. It’s daunting walking into that world. My favorite quote–my first big role, the one that changed me where I was like, okay,I’m an actor now–was Waiting for Godot. It was at Brigham Young University, I was a freshman in college, 21 years old or 22, and Todd Parmley, who’s still one of my best friends, played Vladimir and I played Estragon, and I got a great poster. It was the back of Beckett’s head and onstage is Lucky and Pozzo, and the quote from Beckett is “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Roberta Lipp: Love.

KR: Right? It’s the more positive version of “Suck less”. Continue reading »

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May 142015
 

Thanks you guys. And remember, we’re not going anywhere. We’ll be right here, talking about Mad Men and its people (and lots of other stuff).

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