John Goodman was on The Howard Stern Show Tuesday, and, well, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like you know John Goodman really well— like maybe uncomfortably, intimately well— this is an interview you’re going to want to listen to. He covered a wide range of subjects, from his habit of drinking on the sets of Roseanne and The Big Lebowski, to his current sobriety, to not being able to remember Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s name. However, it’s this story about Goodman finding himself starstruck and embarrassed over Kristen Wiig that makes my heart hurt.
She was talking to somebody else, and I was just — I think she’s so great, and the social barriers broke down and I interrupted the conversation. And I would just hate for somebody to do that to me. And she goes, ‘yeah, I’ll talk to you in a minute.’ [makes sound of bomb dropping] It was like the Atom. I shrunk down to Atom size. …I really like her, and it was embarrassing, so I’ll never speak to her again.
Is there a word for a type of schadenfreude that is comfort, rather than joy, in other people’s misfortunes. We don’t even have the one word word in English, but I’d like to petition for us to have both. Because that element of ‘stars, they’re just like us!’ really does give the social anxiety us normals feel on a daily basis a little bit of a pass, doesn’t it? If even John Freaking Goodman can get embarrassed for forgetting how to start a conversation with a stranger, that should make the rest of us feel at least a tiny bit better about our own nervousness.
In the same vein, Goodman also expressed his disappointment at his own performance the last time he hosted SNL.
The last time I hosted was two years ago — and I felt every week of [my] 62 years. I just — I ran out of gas. I was in every sketch, I had to do all the pre-tapes, and I couldn’t develop — I didn’t bring much to the party, I’ll say that much. I just — it’s the first time I felt I let ‘em down. …I ran out of gas between the dress rehearsal and the actual show. …I had a bottle of, what do they all it, the 5 Hour Energy drink, and I didn’t want to do that because I didn’t want to be too nervous. But I should have taken it.
And check out what he had to say about hanging with his Monuments Men costars, those ‘Super A-Level guys.’
I tried to hang with them, but Matt [Damon] and George [Clooney] would always have these conversations, and they’d go out for cocktails afterwards and I don’t really drink, and I don’t bring a lot to that party because they’re super A-level guys. But Bill [Murray], they gave us bicycles, George bought everybody bicycles to ride, so I’d ride bikes with Bill. …We’d just go get lost, and they had to send guys in cars out to look for us, and to make sure Bill’s not gonna go over any borders or cause any trouble. …We were in a small town in England, and women would approach him, so Bill would pick them up and put them over his shoulder.
A huge takeaway from this interview, which is just a fantastically casual yet intimate look into the life of a legend, is that— as we already knew!— Brie Larson is the f*cking best. They’ve been working together on Skull Island, and for anyone with the type of insecurities Goodman has expressed, Larson is, apparently, the #1 person you want around.
I love her. …she is so charismatic. She would organize — she was like the only girl there, on set…every weekend she would organize stuff to do for people. We’d go look at kangaroos and she’d organize a trip to an amusement park after they closed. Just stuff for people to do. Because she’s over-sensitive about people getting nervous and angry and on each other’s nerves. She’s incredible.
Thank you for being so honest, John Goodman. This type of openness only makes the world a better place to exist. As a tribute, for no other reason than his beautiful, necessary transparency, here he is being charming with Helen Mirren.
The very best.