Adam Scott Talks 'Party Down' and His Adventures in Food Service
The party is just beginning for 'Party Down,' the clever comedy about a crew of misfit caterers now entering into it's second season on the Starz Network. Star Adam Scott, as Henry Pollard, is only too happy to dust off his pink bow-tie and keep the party going. Not only has Henry been promoted to team leader of the Party Down catering crew, Scott himself has become one series' producers.
Scott says the catering escapades backstage at a def-metal concert, at an orgy, and Steve Guttenberg's birthday party are even richer with the newest hire of Megan Mullally. Mullally is joining the staff for the departing Jane Lynch, who is now starring in 'Glee.' In an exclusive interview from his kid's gymnastics class, Scott talks about the odd jobs he's had in the food service industry, who supported him with his acting dreams, and what's in store for the new season.
Did you ever work in the food service industry?
I was in Little League and I was so terrible at right field that literally I sold the concessions at my own games. It was not nice. I think if you're a Little League coach you should play everyone equally. I was certainly not athletic and not helping the team out, so I could see why he wouldn't play me but it wasn't great for my 12 year-old self esteem.
Since I had nothing else to do because the coach would never play me, I made friends with the people at the concessions stand and I would go and sell hot dogs and candy and stuff. People would come up to buy stuff and they'd see me in my uniform, look back at the field and then look at me and say, 'Wait a second, what's going on? Are you supposed to be out there?' and I'm like, 'Well, not really. You want fries with that?!'
What other odd jobs did you have before you became an actor?
The first time I was ever on film was in an REM video. That was while I was still in school and I just wanted to be in their video because I was so into them and just wanted to be close to Peter Buck. Those guys were like The Beatles to me so when I got to meet them it was incredible. When I first arrived in Hollywood I was an extra in a Tia Carrere music video. It was in the early '90s and took place in a coffee shop. I wore a beret and had a conversation with a model behind Tia sitting on some stairs singing. It was incredible! I did a great job. I'm not gonna dance around this. I really made it happen. I found it on You Tube a couple of years ago and you can't even see me.
I'm surprised you never had a job as a waiter when you first came to Hollywood.
I worked for one day at Johnny Rockets. During the training session they told me that whenever the jukebox box comes on and a '50s song starts you have to drop everything and sing along. I was like, 'Sorry that's just not gonna happen!' I quit right then and there.
I had a really generous grandmother who gave me her 1968 Rambler and I was living in a studio apartment in Hollywood subsiding because she would help me out with my $350 a month for rent. I was very lucky. After my grandmother and my parents would help me out financially I could get acting jobs once in a while. My grandmother passed away in '96 but even though I hadn't really done much she was thrilled and kept a photo album of all of my meager accomplishments. It was very sweet.
Are you thrilled to have Megan Mullally on the show?
We really lucked out on her. It's a double blessing because we got to watch Jane (Lynch) blow up and achieve the success she so richly deserves, while at the same time we get major coup with Megan Mullally coming in and making the show even better than it was.
What are some of your favorite moments in season two?
We're catering the backstage party of a def metal concert. I love Martin Starr (as the character Roman DeBeers) dressed up as a take-off of Marilyn Manson. The rock star is called Jackal O'Nassis (guest star Jimmi Simpson). He's a kind of a Marilyn Manson-type character, and he and the Marilyn Manson character switch places so Roman has to dress up like him and he looks like an insane beast from another planet. When I saw him in that costume I thought to myself, 'I've been waiting my whole life for something like this.'
Then there's the Steve Guttenberg episode where he called Party Down to cater his birthday party but then the night before his birthday his friends threw him a surprise party and he forgets to cancel Party Down. So we all show up and it's just him. Him being a nice guy he asks us to stick around and we just end up partying with Steve Guttenberg. The guys knew him because he had done 'Veronica Mars' episodes so they just asked him and he is like the sweetest guy in the world and said, 'Yeah of course.'
The orgy (episode) was great because this guy who's throwing an orgy, (guest star) Tom Lennon, has it catered but no one wants to take part in the orgy except him because they're all grossed out and don't want anything to do with it. Roman (Martin Starr) takes it upon himself to help him out and try and get everyone sexed up.
How do they decide what food to use to cater each episode?
With this show it's the cheapest food because we're on such a budget. A lot of times we end up seeing celery with a hotdog next to it; like it's really whatever we can afford. The catering on the set is a lot more high-brow.
Are you hanging onto your pink bow-tie in anticipation of season three?
I think they have 100 of them just so we never run out. We each took a few of them home with us when the second season ended because we didn't know what the fate of the show was gonna be and we wanted to have them to wear as a sign of solidarity; kind of like a black armband. I have three of them at home in my T-shirt drawer just in case.
We're all worried because they're letting the cast sign on to other shows and it's really too bad. We're all hopeful that they will (renew) and I think the show is designed to withstand cast changes. A revolving door for people working at the catering company is a perfectly viable scenario for the show. I can do three of them if it gets picked up for a third season. They just want to see how it performs and the cast was signed on to one-season deals so people could leave for other shows like how we lost Jane (Lynch) after the first year to 'Glee.'
Will you still continue to produce 'Party Down' even if you're not in it?
I want to be involved in every way possible. I really love it and I love all the people. I'm basically there to do whatever they need me to do. (Executive producers) Dan Etheridge, John Enbom, Rob Thomas, and Paul Rudd are all dear friends of mine so letting me into the producing club was really flattering and I knew I had a lot to learn. I just asked them to give me whatever work they didn't want to do.
Watching all the different cuts of the episodes as they come in and giving my notes or reading their notes and trying to figure out what everyone thought about them was really terrific and invigorating. I lived and breathed the show the entire time I did it. I was certainly exhausted at the end of the second season and didn't know my children anymore. I needed to reintroduce myself to them. It was all encompassing but really wonderful.
Did 'Parks and Recreation' steal you away?
No, they didn't steal me away. Starz wasn't picking it ('Party Down') up so there was nothing to steal me away from. Every time I had an inkling of another job coming I would let them know in case they wanted to pick 'Party Down' up. As is their right they want to see how it does so we're all waiting to see and we're hoping that it continues because it's everyone's favorite show to do.
Now you have an 'in' at 'Saturday Night Live' after working with Amy Poehler.
I play a state auditor who comes in to cut the budget of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department and kind of scares everyone. Amy Poehler is just incredible. She's so hilarious and so sweet. Everyone was very welcoming. Of course I have a lifelong dream of hosting 'Saturday Night Live' but I don't see that happening any time soon.