Kumail Nanjiani had a very good question for William H. Macy on Tuesday.
“You’ve done a lot of dramatic work and you’ve done a lot of comedy work. Do you approach those differently or do you sort of perform it the same way and trust that the writing and the situation will carry it?” the “Silicon Valley” star asked. Both he and Macy, star of “Shameless,” were panelists at TheWrap’s screening for comedic Emmy contenders.
“I think they’re the… same…” Macy said, before pausing to consider the question further.
Nanjiani pressed on. He noted that another panelist, his “Silicon Valley” co-star Thomas Middleditch, had earlier said that jokes need almost mathematical setups to deliver, but that that wasn’t the case with dramatic moments.
That prompted an answer from Macy that provides a fascinating look into the process of one of our greatest actors. You can watch the exchange in the video above, starting at the 31:29 mark.
Though Macy has played many acclaimed dramatic roles — including in “Fargo,” “Pleasantville,” and “Magnolia,” there’s often a comic undercurrent to his characters.
Nanjiani has also combined comedy with drama: His upcoming film “The Big Sick,” which he and his wife Emily Gordon wrote together, is based partly on how a serious illness she suffered early in their relationship helped bring them closer.
The panel also included “The Mick” star Kaitlin Olson and “Love” star Gillian Jacobs — who explained how going to Julliard may have in some ways hurt her as an actor, early in her career. Watch for stories later today about all of the panelists, or watch the full video to see the entire discussion.