Interview With Simon Helberg From The Big Bang Theory

Simon Helberg Big Bang Theory Photo

I’m really excited for the show to come back.  It’s a staple of Monday nights in our house.
Oh great, well I’m happy too!

I love your character.  They’ve made him so interesting every week.
Oh thank you!

Why did you want to play Howard?
It’s appealing to play somebody who is so confident in every possible way.  For me, believe it or not, it’s a stretch. It may not be a huge stretch for me to play a nerd, but to play a super confident guy is a bit different.  I tend to be a little more indecisive and insecure about things.  It’s pretty fun to get to just be out there and so smug and all knowing about all the situations that he’s been in with a woman.  Really, everything.  He doesn’t understand the word no.  That’s pretty appealing as an actor.  And challenging to try to make it believable and it’s just a lot of fun to go out there and seduce in every language.  There’s always something new that they throw at us, so you never know what’s going to come.

Is it a lot of fun on set?
It’s very lucky.  We all get along so well.  I wish there was more dirt to share about the in fights and the alcoholism.  There’s none of that.  There’s this five of us that really all like each other, we’ll hang out outside of the show.  There’s no trouble to them yet. Sometimes I try to create some trouble.  I just punch one of them in the stomach just to get things moving or make these interviews more interesting.  It’s pretty much just five friendly people just going to work and being happy to be around each other.

How is it working in front of an audience versus things that you’ve done?  
It’s pretty terrific.  I’ve done theatre and sketch comedy in front of audience, and I’ve done some sitcoms and stuff.  Everything has its own charm.  The benefits.  Everything’s got its own benefits.  I think working for the audience for me is the most fun.  It’s really a chance for something to work towards.  It’s where everything kind of comes together and you have to make it work. You have all these people who are sitting there, wanting to have a good time and wanting to laugh.  You really have no choice but to pull it out.  It’s just a great thing every week to have a few hundred people come in and laugh and feel like you’re actually doing something that affects people in some way.  It’s really fun to hear the laughs and it feels a lot more like playing around when there’s an audience there.

What’s the feeling on set coming back to work, knowing that, not only are you picked up for this full season, you’re coming back next year, too?
It was kind of a double dose of sweet news.  We were pretty blown away by both of those things so close to each other and finding out about the second season right after the strike.   It basically affects me in the sense that I’m now looking for more rugs to put in my dressing room and throw pillows.  I know that I’m going to be there for a while.  I know that I have to go to Pier 1, which I just came from.  That’s the biggest affect that it’s had on me, to find fake plants that look real to kind of stash in the corner.

Something that you won’t hate looking at for a while.
Haha yeah, we’re going to be there for a little while, so that’s really cool.

What’s coming up in the rest of the season?
I honestly only know about the things that we’ve shot, we’ve only shot a few and we don’t get any scripts in advance, or any insight as to where they’re taking our characters.  We’ve seen a lot of amazing things happen with Sheldon’s character.  You get to see what happens when he gets sick and just turns our worlds upside down.  He becomes a nightmare.  He’s like the worst sick person you could ever possibly imagine.  We have to create these ways of avoiding him and trying to get out of his vapor-neurotic, obsessive-compulsive web.  We start to experiment more with technology.  I rig the apartment so that through our laptops, people around the world can control the lights and the coffee grinder and remote control cars.  So we had like people in China who through their laptop are turning our lights on and off.  That’s like the coolest thing in the world to us, that we could sit there while the lights flash because someone in Beijing is flipping their lights on and off.  You just get to explore kind of how unbelievably nerdy and hyper intelligent these guys are.  They thrive on those kinds of things.  I think we’re going to go to some places that you won’t see coming.  They’re fleshing these characters out and preparing it for all sorts of crazy disasters.  It will be great.

What’s been your favorite episode so far?
I think I really like the one where Koothrapali gets drunk and has the courage to speak and he gets set up with the Indian girl to arranged marriage.  I think that one is a really fun one for all of us.  You get to see the different sides of all of us.  They just keep getting better.  There’s a few that we shot that are just hilarious.  It’s just constantly getting knocked out every week.  I think there’s going to be some really good ones coming up.

I was asked to ask you if the Stephen Hawking impression will make a return.
They haven’t forewarned me, but they constantly are throwing something at me.  I had to do a Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes impression last week so I’m sure they’ll keep throwing stuff out there.

What would you say to someone, now being the perfect time to get involved with the show, why should they tune in?
The characters are completely inept in the world.  I think everyone can relate to feeling sort of like an outcast or an underdog in some way.  You watch these guys, and you’d assume they have the whole world figured out, or the universe figured out in an equation, but they literally can’t figure out how to function with girls, with other human beings.  It’s really fun to watch people fall on their face, trying to crack that human condition.  It’s just fun to watch people put their foot in the mouth over and over again.  In some ways they’re the biggest morons in the world, but their IQs are higher than most people.  It’s a great combination of the over confident nerds, inept almost like aliens.  So yeah, if you like aliens fall on their face over and over again without learning a lesson, I think it’s just a fun a show.  I have fun watching it and not just because I’m in it.

What other shows do you watch?
I really did enjoy Project Runway which is over now.  I don’t watch as many new comedies.  I used to watch Arrested Development.  I loved that.  I loved watching 24 which is not on anymore for a little while, I guess.  I’ve been watching In Treatment on HBO.  I think that’s a really good show.  Obviously, I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Who are some of your favorite actors?
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is probably my favorite guy around now.  Paul Giamatti.  I think these guys are just incredible.  Of course, Woody Allen, I love.  Daniel Day-Lewis, obviously.  Those guys are high on my list.

I read that you play piano, which I think is fabulous.  What kind of music do you like to play?
I like to play jazz a lot, doing jazz bands and stuff.  I love rock music.  Not to be cliché but I do kind of enjoy lots of different kinds of music.  I love the Beatles.  I’m scarily obsessed with the Beatles, and I love jazz.  Those are my two favorites.  There are lots of specific people that I like, but that would be boring.

What else is coming for you besides TBBT?
At this point, I had done some stuff a little while ago that has come out.  This is pretty much the freshest thing that I’ve got going on now.  I’ve been writing a little bit.  But at this moment, I’m really focusing on the show, and making it good.

The Big Bang Theory Returns With All New Episodes Tonight In An All New Time Slot At 8:00PM ET/PT on CBS