Interviews - TV
Jack Plotnick – The Doctor is In
Q) What are the current projects you are working on?
A) I have a movie coming out, which is my biggest role in a drama. I am sort of the funny part of the drama. I always tend to be the funny part of something. The movie is called Stay and it was written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. He’s such a great guy! This movie went to Sundance this year and it was sort of the “talk of the town.” The premise of the movie is so risqué, but it was really well received there. We got a release date of September 29th. I play a crystal-meth addict. It’s really dramatic, which is different for me since I usually play comedic roles. I am also the voice of Xandir on the cartoon show “Drawn Together,” which airs on Comedy Central. I just finished our third season, which is really funny and (as usual) really wrong.
Q) Please tell us about your character Dr. Steve Morris on the show “Lovespring International.”
A) He’s the resident psychologist at the dating service. He’s kind of in charge of, as he puts it, “weeding out the crazies.” He meets with clients and helps figure out what they are looking for and who would be the right match for them. He helps clarify who they are looking for. He also happens to be a complete letch. He’s always chasing skirt. He fancies himself a real man’s man. He kind of models himself after Tom Selleck a bit or Patrick Swayze. He’s a real smooth guy, but I don’t know how often he gets lucky. He’s a little kinky, too. He has a thing for women’s feet. His license is pending because of a hearing for inappropriate behavior he had years earlier.
Q) What made you want to be a part of the show?
A) I was with the show since the very beginning. I helped Guy Shalem, who created the show. He came to me and we sort of put together a cast and filmed a seven minute pilot presentation that we did all ourselves. It was all filmed in one day. I sort of helped Guy realize his vision. We made this seven minute tape and with it we were able to sell it to Eric McCormack and his partner Michael Forman. With their help, we sold it to Lifetime. I’ve spent the last ten years as an actor for hire, but I executive produced a film called Girls Will Be Girls. The movie did great and it won awards, but I realized I just don’t want to be an actor. I like to help create things so it is more of my voice. That way, I am not just at the whims of what people want to say. With “Lovespring,” I wanted to play something totally different than what I am normally cast as. I came up with the mustache and came up with this sort of 70’s quintessential marvelo man with my own twist on it. There was a big discussion with Lifetime as to whether I would wear the message. For me, I knew the character I wanted to play and I knew I couldn’t play him without the mustache. I aged my skin like I had been out in the sun surfing for too many years. I just wanted to try something totally different than myself. Because I half created the show, I had the opportunity to do that.
Q) How did you prepare for your role as a psychologist for “Lovespring?”
A) I know a fair amount about psychology, but Steve is a terrible psychologist. I think what is fun about him is that he sort of has half knowledge about everything. He sort of knows a little bit about everything and then half of that is incorrect. There really was not a whole lot of preparation I had to do. I did read the book Psychology for Dummies and if you look closely in the show you will often see it sitting on my desk because I believe Steve would have it near him at all times. I also based it on a lot of men I had growing up around me in the 70’s. We had a next door neighbor who was named Steve Morrison, so I sort of stole his name.
Q) What has been your most memorable moment from filming?
A) Our whole show is improv and I don’t think a lot of people know that. I think they think half of it is written and the other half is improv. The story is there, but we just don’t know what we are going to say. One day, we were doing a scene in the conference room, and I said something that struck Wendi McLendon-Covey (I don’t know if she was tired or what) as so funny. She laughed so hard that she cried her makeup off! She had to go get her eyes fixed before we could film again. I just thought that was so funny and I really adore Wendi. I was just really touched that something I said tickled her so much. I think maybe she was overtired, but I just love moments like that. Any moments where we’re cracking up, having a blast, makes me say to myself, “I can’t believe this is my life. I am so lucky to be on a show surrounded by friends and having such a good time.”
Q) Why should viewers take the time to turn in to the show?
A) There is nothing like it on the air. I think that the sitcom is dying. I love reality shows, too, but I think this is a great sort of in between a sitcom and a reality show. As actors, we’re all just playing in front of the cameras and writing it as we go. I think that’s really exciting and fun to watch. I think it’s a show filled with really quirky characters, which you don’t always get on network television. I think these are fantastic actors that deserve lead roles on shows. Wendi is on “Reno 911,” but (for instance) Sam Pancake is an amazingly funny person. Now, he finally has a role that really shows him off, Jennifer Elise Cox, too. These are amazingly talented comedians who are on a great show. It’s really exciting! Also, watch it so it can get picked up for a second season!
Q) You do a lot of improv work like on “Lovespring” and “Reno 911!” What is it about this genre that is so appealing to you?
A) As I said, I spent ten years in Hollywood as an actor for hire. I got to interpret a role, but other than that I had very little power in creating a role or in writing a role. Improv is a blast for me. I love being creative and when I watch an episode of “Reno 911!” that I did, I say, “I did that in its entirety. I made that joke up!” It’s really exciting and exciting to perform. You are really walking a tightrope and you are really on the spot. I enjoying being on the spot. You can never sit back and just go through the motions when doing improv. It really keeps you alive, alert and fun! I also have a sick sense of humor so it allows me to do my sense of humor and not someone else’s.
Q) You have done work in front of the screen and worked behind the screen doing voice over work. Which do you prefer and why?
A) I absolutely prefer acting in front of the screen because I am using everything about myself. I love physical comedy. We did an episode of “Lovespring” (and this is another moment I’ll never forget) where I am across the street in someone’s apartment naked and being beaten up by some big guy for coming on to his girlfriend. I wasn’t really naked because I was in a little beige swimsuit, but it was really fun getting to make it look like I was being pummeled. We practiced the fight and when the cameras were running, I took my clothes off. He dragged me across the rug and it wasn’t until I took my clothes off that I realized it was really painful! I realized I was getting a rug burn and I shouted, “Rug Burn!” I’d much rather be in front of the camera, but voice over work is really fun, too. It’s much easier. I can do a whole episode of a TV show in a half an hour. It’s just more fun getting to use my whole self.
Q) What do you do in your spare time?
A) “Lovespring” is currently taking up all of my spare time because even though the actors have gone home, I am a supervising producer. So, I still have to go to the office every day and help edit the episodes. These episodes happen, completely, during the editing. For a thirty second scene, we’ll film for forty minutes! We really create the show in the editing. When I am not doing that, I teach acting. You can go to my website and see that there is sort of a self-help book for actors. It is completely free. It’s called New Thoughts For Acting. It’s about thirty chapters of writing done on the subject of helping individuals enjoy acting. That’s really my passion and I work with actors once a week for free. It’s just my way, sort of, of giving back.
Q) Dr. Steve has a foot obsession. What is your latest obsession? A book? A sport? A movie? An activity?
A) “Project Runway” is on again! I am looking forward to every Wednesday when I can watch the show.
Q) What would you like to say to your fans and supporters?
A) The only person I can think of that is a fan is my mom and I would say to her, “I’ll call you tomorrow because I am busy right now!” Actually, I would say you have very good taste! Thanks for noticing and keep watching “Lovespring” because the episodes that are coming up are hysterical!