This is PART TWO of Lost In A Supermarket’s interview with Vincent Kartheiser of AMC’s Mad Men (click HERE to read PART ONE). Unlike PART ONE of the interview, which was pretty heavy on the Mad Men geekness, this one’s a much more personal look at Kartheiser himself. Hit the Jump to read him discuss the genius of Mitch Hedberg, the biology of monogamy, dealing with the handsomeness of Jon Hamm and why, exactly, he chooses to take the bus everywhere in LA…
…yes, he really takes the bus in LA…
So word on the street is you take the bus everywhere in Los Angeles?
I take the train and the bus everywhere unless someone’s already going in that direction, then I’ll hop a ride with them — and then they’ll feel better about themselves, too, hopefully.
Because your publicist even said that she’s offered, “We’ll get you a car,” and you’re like, “No.”
No, ‘cause if a car is going to drive to pick me up, and then to my destination, and then idle there — for some reason those guys who drive those sedans, like they don’t seem to ever think about turning that car off — then what’s the point.
I guess they idle there because they want air conditioning, and they don’t pay for gas.
It just doesn’t seem logical. You know, I’m actually supposed to be test-driving a car today. Yay!
So what are you going to test drive?
I’m supposed to be, I’m not going to though. I’m going to stand the guy up. I don’t know. I’m not super super super political, but, like, the car thing is weird, man. I have a hard time pulling the trigger on some things. Honestly, cars are great things. But it’s like meat. If everyone only did it once in a while, we would all be fine. You know you can take the bus most places you have to go, and then every once in a while you take your car when you really need to. We would have not a big problem; the car would last 30-40 years. You could buy a really expensive car because you knew you could pass it on to your kids. You know, we’d all have these crazy dope Rolls-Royces from the fifties and, whatever.
And you could just drive when you wanted to go 200 miles, or when you needed to go with your four kids or something. I just think it’s really abused now. And I think that’s the whole thing with America is that we make a lot of choices and we never think about it. Every time I get into a car I think of all the pieces being made in different cities, and then put on boats and shipped across the ocean to another place where they’re tied together and then shipped to another place, and then more shit’s put on it, and then more shit, and then it’s shipped somewhere else, and then it’s just like, “Wow,” and then 12 years later it’s thrown in a dump, and you’re like, “Really? Or I could just walk a little bit?” I just think people are lazy and they take what’s convenient. And they know that what they’re doing is wrong, and they do it anyways. So they just shift what right and wrong means. And right and wrong, honestly, just has to do with what is the majority doing. Because if the majority’s doing it, it’s right. If enough people watch factory-farming videos, it would change. But people don’t want to watch it. Or they do watch it, and then they go, “Ehh! Everyone’s eating it man, and what is this going to change anything?”
I went on a fucking tangent. I’m sorry.
No, I think in most ways you’re right. They seem to know what they’re doing clearly plays against the very survival of their own future, but for an immediate and transitory pleasure they partake in it anyways.
And people right now, they don’t realize that you can have all and then nothing, or you can have some forever. You know? It’s like you can keep eating fish every day, and then in 40 years there will be no fish left in the ocean. Or you can eat fish twice a month and then we’ll have it forever. And I mean these seem like very easy fucking concepts.
Right. Nobody’s saying you can’t ever fish again, or you can’t eat a burger again, they’re just saying, “Do it less.”
Honestly? If I have a private farm with chickens on it, and like the time came for the slaughter, and like you slaughtered a chicken and you ate it…it wouldn’t be easy, but like I think I could eat that chicken even easier.
“You know a guy that handsome, even before he was a celebrity, he was a celebrity. And you walk into a room and you look like Jon Hamm, and even Brad Pitt’s like “He’s the fucking stud,” you know what I mean?”
Ok, just to switch it up a bit…I notice you’re wearing a Surface to Air tshirt. Are you into fashion at all, or is it something that’s sort of on the fringe for you?
Girls buy me shit and then…Honestly, I dated this girl for years and she – fuck her in the ass – had really good fuckin’ taste. She had really good taste.
She got you your best stuff in your wardrobe.
She bought me a lot of gear and I still wear it all the time.
Is your present girlfriend excited about this – she doesn’t know that you acquired most of your wardrobe from an ex, does she?
No, I mean…
Do you have a present girlfriend?
Lots of girls have bought me stuff…Yeah…
As Mitch Hedberg said, “I don’t have a girlfriend, but I have somebody who would be really mad to hear me say that.”
Ha ha ha ha!! God, he was so good. “I don’t have a girlfriend, but . . .” Yeah, no, he’s the best. Yeah, girls buy you clothes. I get free clothes. I haven’t gone out to a store and bought a fuckin’ pants in forever.
The style is so on point in Mad Men. You have this vision that everyone in the show walks around impeccably dressed 24 hours a day.
Well, Matthew Weiner has great style. Bryan Batt does. Michael Gladysz does. Lots of the guys do. Jon Hamm has great style. So a lot of guys have a great style. Just not me. I’m like one of those top-of-the-drawer tee-shirt guys, you know? But people tell me I look good in certain things, so then I just kind of assume those are the things.
So you never go shopping?
Not for me. You know, I’ll go shopping with, you know, with my girl.
Right. Your female friend.
No, we just had a discussion last week, so – my girl.
Oh, it’s official.
Not monogamous. But official.
But official. Well, great.
Yeah, I draw the line at monogamy, damnit!
Then you win and you win.
I win and I – well, and I win
That’s very Don Draper, right there. He’s got the beautiful girl waiting at home, and then on the side…
She’s pretty cool. Yeah. I do definitely have the beautiful girl waiting at home. She’s very great. I just don’t believe in those sorts of ideas. I think – look, I don’t actively seek anyone else. I just don’t believe in those kind of ideas. What is monogamy about? What am I actually saying to you? I don’t want you to be with anyone else because that has to do with me how? It has to do with my ego because I want to believe that there’s no one that you could ever want in the world other than me? Fuck me! I’m not that good, man. And, you know, even if I am that good, you might have a really romantic night in Italy with some guy who like, you know, blows your mind and shows you things and draws a painting of you or a mural of you on a wall, and kisses you and like I’m gonna make you feel guilty about that? Or I’m gonna make you cry or stop a romantic moment because I…I own your vagina? No, fuck monogamy. Monogamy is an old antiquated idea.
It’s also a female-centric idea, though.
No, I don’t think it is a female idea.
I think it is, because it’s biology. Biology, at its most basic, is all about procreation and gametes, right? Creating zygotes and all that. So a man – how many women can he impregnate in a year?
Infinite, technically, but let’s say hundreds. A woman, how many times can she get pregnant a year?
Once. So our pure biological programming as men – I mean base, empirical, animal programming, is to…
But women are made not to be monogamous.
They’re the only mammal that doesn’t show when they’re in heat. Do you know why? Because they used to when we were animals go off and breed with a big powerful thing and then come back to a smaller thing that would take care of the baby.
In fact, in a study they found that women when in heat found one type of man attractive, and the other three weeks of the month found a man totally different than that attractive. A rounder-faced, more genteel man. Where they found a more brute man who would probably kill the babies more attractive while they were in heat. Like I think they think 25% of people grew up with someone that they still don’t know isn’t their father.
Yeah. So women are actually not – women have been taught to be this way because it was put on us by religion, and still is in some countries. Saudi Arabia a man can have many wives, a woman can’t fuckin’ show her face. So this is an idea that was put on women that they have to be monogamous. That it was not right. It was unclean for them to use that thing in that way. And just recently in the last couple of hundred years have they pulled it around on men and said, “Oh, guess what? Now we’re going to do that shit, too.”
Ok, but I think that also women have a base desire to find the best mate possible, whereas men have more of a inclination to find as many mates as possible.
Yes. I agree with that.
That’s why a man like Draper doesn’t leave his wife. He just cheats on her, but he doesn’t want to lose her. But when a woman finds a “better” mate, you’re fucked.
She’ll leave you.
You’re left cold-blooded on the street. And it’s interesting that women consider themselves so much more loyal and caring than men, but I’m not sure that’s the case. If they find somebody “better”, a better mate, then you’re cut and you’re done. As many men have found out in the past.
So it’s not that they’re better or worse, they just have a different mentality. Maybe a woman will cheat on you behind your back, but to the world…
She would not really tell them.
She would never tell the world. So a woman will have an affair and never tell anyone. And some men can do that.
I think men need to actually tell someone to legitimize it, to make it real.
I don’t think monogamy works, really. But that being said, thank goodness for women leaving you for better men because it’s been over and over something that has pushed me to prove them wrong. And there ain’t nothing like running into a girl five years later, because…(and he just laughs)
You have the last laugh?
It’s just – you know, life’s so cruel…and I’ve been so lucky.
Ha! Wow. I’m going to end this interview with that right there. That’s about says it all.
It’s true, though.
Do you ever lie about not being you? Like if you’re recognize by a girl on the street?
So it’s a fine line. If they don’t know what I do, they usually don’t come up to me. But if for some reason a girl approaches me and asks me what I do? I tell her I work in a plastic factory in Anaheim. And if she asks me what I do there, I say, “Well, you know those files you put in your drawer, that little white thing that hooks over the edges? We make those.”
You should say you designed them.
No because with that answer you will see all of the light go out of the woman’s eyes so fast. It’s like – it’s 10 times worse than insurance salesmen. They don’t know what the fuck to say. They’re just like, “Oh. So robots and things, huh?” “Yup, robots and things.” And I pick something small because I don’t have muscles, so that they can’t be like, “Wow, that’s kind of heavy lifting things like that.”
So, I’m thinking you do this with girls that aren’t attractive. Let’s be honest.
No, I do it with all girls.
Oh, come on. If some beautiful girl comes up to you, you want to see the light of attraction extinguish in her eyes?
Man, I can’t tell you – the last time a hot chick walked up to me she was bringing me my bill. You know? I mean, I don’t really go out a lot, and when I do I go to little dive bars, and even if I go to like chi chi spots, man, like, dude, this town is full of tall, bronze, good looking men. I don’t get bothered. I live a pretty simple life.
If they do come up to you, then they certainly know who you are.
I’ve never been bothered by a beautiful girl.
Not in this town. I mean, like, I meet women like you do in most smaller towns. I meet them through friends, you know? Like you meet people and I attract women because I’m funny and I can tell a good story and, like, I like it that way. Like there’s natural chemistry, you know? I think it’s kind of awkward in some people. I mean, I’ve had moments where I’ve gone up to girls who I found attractive, but it can be awkward, you know? I mean, it’s better when it’s like natural chemistry. In truth, I love my anonymity. And it was a choice I made a long time ago when I did this kind of big movie for me – I was 16 years old and I did this movie and they sent me on this press tour and I did all these teen magazines, and all of a sudden, like…
Was that the Alaska film?
Yeah. I couldn’t go up to my mall in Minnesota without like fucking people running up to me – and I started hanging out in L.A. and I had some friends who were having some success, you know? And I mean, some people can handle it. Some people can’t. And some people want it, and you just have to really know what it is. Because parts of me still want it. Just like parts of me just want a Porsche 911, but you can’t really know what that means. You have to really understand what it means to own that thing.
[TWO GIRLS WALK BY, VINCENT MAKES A CASUAL JOKE. THE GIRLS GIGGLE.]
Like those two people – how they would respond to me if I was Justin Timberlake right there. It’s so, so different.
And sometimes you want that, but most of the time you don’t. To own a Porsche, is like to fuckin’ do a lot of work on it. Have to pay a lot.
Like 10% of the time it’s fun, 90% of the time it’s work.
You know, it’s fun, but you’re usually just stuck in traffic. You are.
Is it craziness now seeing that fame and celebrity worship with Jon Hamm first-hand? Like, I don’t know a single woman that doesn’t have a crush on him. It’s just gotta be mad to be in his presence.
Well, I don’t go out to bars and stuff but yeah, even when we go to T.C.A. events and stuff like that, we’re overwhelmed by fans and people like that.
And does it seem too much to handle in that circumstance?
No, he handles it really really well. I actually think because he’s been acting for so long and he has so many friends who have had success that he has really good role models for how to respond to it, and he just handles it. And he’s really comfortable with it. It hasn’t changed him.
That’s a little like George Clooney, right? I think Clooney got famous so late in his career that I think he was really stable about it.
I agree. I think it is a lot like that. And it suits him. You know a guy that handsome, even before he was a celebrity, he was a celebrity. And you walk into a room and you look like Jon Hamm, and even Brad Pitt’s like “He’s the fucking stud,” you know what I mean? So he’s already kind of been spending his life realizing that like people are watching him, and he’s comfortable with it. He knows how to make a room feel comfortable with him in it.
That’s an interesting way to put it.
Some stars come into rooms and it becomes about them, and then they don’t know how to handle that – they kind of get bigger or they get bossy, or they need to hide or run, and he just kind of he’s very good at like allowing the whole room to take a deep breath with him and just be at peace.