20 questions with Jason Ritter
1. Where were you born?
Los Angeles, California.
2. How many siblings do you have?
Three. Carly, Tyler, and Stella.
4. Do you have any pets?
I had a lot growing up! My apartment doesn't allow pets. I want a dog though! I love dogs. Thelma and Louise were our two dogs growing up. We also over the years had a bunch of cats. First we had Pippi, who my sister named (The Pippi Longstocking movie had just come out), and Pippi had two kittens, that my brother and I each got to name. I named mine "Fluffy," because I'm sooo creative, and my brother named his "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ghostbuster," who was also known to the rest of us as "patches."
5. Do you have any nicknames?
Jace the Ace from Outer Space, Jace the Space Ace, Jace Ace, JR, J, anything anyone can come up with. I'm not picky. Ritter Critter's not one of my favorites, but I can handle it.
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
Ooo that's tough. I have an addiction to Koo Koo Roo's Barbecue Chicken Sandwich. I feel weird saying it's my favorite restaurant though. It's a huge chain. Oh, I got a couple. Native Foods in Westwood, and Real Food Daily in Santa Monica. The Bali Surf Burger at Native Foods has actually stopped me from traveling the extra two blocks to In-N-Out. And I looove In-N-Out. So there you go. Two smallish Vegan places, and two giant meat-eating chains. At least I'm consistent.
7. What is your favorite TV show?
I think The Office (UK) was brilliant. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
8. Who is your favorite band/musician?
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. There's just no pretense with either of them. They're both so brave as well. Kurt showed up on Headbanger's Ball in a dress. That takes balls.
9. If you could live anyplace in the world where would it be?
The Lost City of Atlantis. Or The Bermuda Triangle.
10. Who do you think should be the next President of the USA?
I think my mom would be pretty awesome as President, actually. I nominate Nancy Morgan Ritter.
11. Were you honored to be in Freddy vs. Jason?
Yeah, I grew up with them. It was nice to pretend I would survive if I ever came up against either of those guys.
12. Was it scary to work with established actors like Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen and the like?
It was until the moment I met them. I had known Mary before, because we had done a play together, but Mary and Joe are two of the kindest, most giving, most humble people I've ever met. They made everyone feel right at home, and treated everyone like a peer of theirs. The fact that they're both incredible actors on top of that is incredible.
13. Were you ever nervous about doing comedy because you might be compared to your Dad?
Oh yeah. Yes. Always. But it's there, and I can't control what people think, so I try not to let it trouble me.
14. Good sitcoms are so rare these days. Were you scared that The Class would be a bomb?
You never know what people are going to want to watch. I (unlike the networks, I imagine) always would rather be part of an amazing show with a smaller audience than some giant big hit show that I know in my heart is mediocre. I was just hoping that if it bombed, it would be a good bomb. But I didn't think it would bomb.
15. Why didn't they cast a paraplegic as Kevin on Joan of Arcadia?
There were flashbacks and dream sequences in which Kevin could walk, and the producers also said at the press conference that they wanted the audience to have the hope in the back of their head that Kevin could walk again. They said if they cast a paraplegic in that role the audience could be fairly certain that the character wouldn't walk again.
16. Did you get a lot of flack from organizations because of that?
Well, I personally never got any flack. I was just an actor who auditioned for an incredible role. The show did at first, before anyone had seen it, just on principle. As you can imagine, the roles out there for disabled actors are limited. They are heavily discriminated against in Hollywood. You hardly ever even see disabled background artists! So the idea that a disabled character was given to an able-bodied actor was frustrating. But when they saw the show, they understood why the decision was made, and that not only was it a way to bring attention to the disabled community, but there were more opportunities to hire disabled actors.
17. What is it like being a third generation leading man?
Am I a leading man? I don't follow. (That's me trying to be clever.)
18. Who was the funniest person on The Class?
The funniest person on The Class is hands down the cast member who might be reading this interview right now. All the rest of our performances pale in comparison to this incredibly talented actor's work. He/she is also undoubtedly the most attractive in my opinion as well.
19. What else are you working on?
I just finished working in South Africa on a movie called The Deal with William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, Elliot Gould, LL Cool J, and many others. The Education of Charlie Banks just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and is hopefully coming soon to a theater near you. A movie I helped produce, Good Dick, is in the final stages of editing. A movie called Our Very Own that I love is coming to DVD in July. But that's all stuff I did in the past. As of right now I am fully unemployed.
20. If you can pick one, what is the funniest thing your Dad ever said or did?
I don't know about funniest, but there were all these ongoing jokes that he would do all the time that would initially make you laugh, and then the hundredth time it would make you groan, and then the two hundredth time it would make you laugh again, if only at his persistence. For example, almost every meal I had with him, at some point he would put as much broccoli or whatever he had all over his top row of teeth, turn to us and ask, "Do I have something in my teeth?" or, "My friend tells me I should see a dentist, what do you think?" or any number of variations. But it was the same silly joke, and we all ate it up every time.