Exclusive interview with Kevin Sussman

September 24, 2014 | Kevin Sussman portrays comic shop owner Stuart Bloom on the hit comedy "The Big Bang Theory". In our interview he talks about his acting and writing experiences, his character and his work on set of "The Big Bang Theory" and also about his social media experiences.

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Foto: Kevin Sussman
Kevin Sussman

1. When you started out as an actor you probably had some ideas about the job. Did it turn out to be what you expected?

I studied at The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in New York - it was all theater training, which was great, but I went into the professional world thinking weeks of rehearsal was normal… then I started in TV and film and quickly realized ANY kind of rehearsal was a luxury. The impressive thing about Big Bang is that they reach a level of performance in one week (each show is rehearsed and shot in five days) that in the theater world would take much, much longer.

What was the most challenging and rewarding part of your career so far?

I also write - I've sold a couple of scripts to various networks and once had a writing deadline which I was frantically working on while shooting Big Bang, running upstairs to my dressing after each scene to get back to work in order to make my deadline. It was challenging to be in writer and actor mode at the same time and having to split my focus like that, but also invigorating and rewarding. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time though.

3. What do you think are the most important ingredients in "The Big Bang Theory's" formula for success?

Casting, writing, set design, wardrobe… I think it hits all the marks. It's just so easy to watch – it's not too heady or deep, but the characters also aren't devoid of emotion – even Sheldon – he’s socially inept, but he's filled with emotion… the neurotic things he gets emotional about are what make him so funny. Mostly it's the characters Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady created. They’re so well defined and funny. By the way, I'm answering this question like I know the secret to its success… ha! I'm just pulling this out of my butt… I don't really know the answer. It's just fun to watch – it's like TV's equivalent of eating Bon Bons. I honestly don’t think I have more insight into what makes it great than any of your readers. I'm sure even Chuck didn’t realize what an amazing hit it would be. (which, again, I’m pulling out of my butt – I haven’t asked him… but he’s a pretty humble guy, I'm sure he’d agree.)

4. Do you share Stuart's and the boys' love for comic books? If yes, what is you favorite comic book?

While I was a struggling actor I worked at a comic book store in New York (Jim Hanley’s Universe – it’s still there, right near the Empire State Building.) So, I’ve been a fan of comics for a while. My favorite comic book is undoubtedly Eightball by Dan Clowes. But if we’re talking super hero stuff – probably Batman. I was working at the store back when Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight” came out and it changed my understanding of what a super hero comic could be.

5. Stuart isn't the most cheerful character and he doesn't think much of himself. What would you tell him to cheer him up? Which character traits would you praise?

To cheer him up… that's a tough one. I think being happy would take him way outside his comfort zone. Without his misery he’d have nothing. That said, they did set Stuart up for a completely new lifestyle at the end of last season, so we’ll have to see how things play out…

6. Do you and Stuart have anything in common?

Aside from both working at a comic store? I can be pretty neurotic and anxious. Stuart is definitely not far outside my wheelhouse. An exaggerated version for sure, but I can relate.

7. Right now all of the other characters are happily in love. What would the woman of Stuart's dreams be like?

Someone who returns his calls.

8. Can you tease anything about season 8?

I’m now living with Mrs. Wolowitz. That’s all I got.

9. Is there room for improv on "The Big Bang Theory"? If yes, what is your favorite improv or blooper moment?

Not too much improv happening. With four cameras shooting at once, in front of a live audience, everything has to be pretty precise – which again, is why after just five days of rehearsal I’m always amazed at how tight the final product is.

10. What storyline would you wish for Stuart to have? Which side of him should the viewers get to see?

Stuart is an artist. It’s a trait the writers never really explored past his first appearance. I would love to do something that involves his talent as an illustrator. He drew a fine portrait of Penny in his first episode. As a fan of visual art I’d love to go deeper into that.

11. How do you experience communication between actors and fans through social media? What does it add to the experience being on a show with a passionate fandom?

Mayim recently got me into Instagram (@kevsussman) which I hadn't posted to since 2012. I’ve been doing Twitter (@kevinsussman) for a few years, and I enjoy it a lot, but man, I had no idea how much more popular Instagram is. I like being able to engage with people all over the world, and am frankly shocked that people get so excited to chat with me. For a little bit on Instagram I was able to respond to almost everyone who commented, but in just a few weeks so many people have started following that it would take too much time to get to everyone. So now I have guilt about it. It's okay, I’ve got therapy on Tues.

12. What do you like to do in your sparetime? Traveling, music...?

I’ve started cycling about a year ago. I’ve been riding my bike about 100 miles a week (not that you would know it since I basically have the physique of Gollum.) I ride up in the mountains just outside of Los Angeles and it’s gorgeous. It’s the first time since I’ve been out here that I’ve thought “Aaah…. now I get why people want to live here.” I still miss New York, though. I’m also a big fan of board games. I love euro-games. Agricola, Power Grid, Dominion and many others. At some point I’d like to go to Essen for the annual game fair.

13. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about tv shows, we would like to know what your favorite shows are?

Oy. I’ll just cover shows that are currently running in the US: "Cosmos", "Married", Big Bang, "Louie", "Veep", "Mad Men". Waiting for "True Detective" to start up again. And somehow I missed most of "Family Guy" when it first aired, so I’ve been catching up.

Thank you, Kevin, we wish you all the best with your projects!

This was fun, thanks!

Ceren K. - myFanbase