Laugh Tracks: Comedian Jimmy Pardo & Mad Men's Rich Sommer

By Kyle Dowling

<p> </p><p>We asked Jimmy Pardo to team up with a guest of his choosing for this Playboy series. His choice: <i>Mad Men</i> star Rich Sommer. </p><br><p></p>

It seems if there’s one person to thank for the revolution that is podcasting, it’s comedian Jimmy Pardo. The Never Not Funny host—and opening act on TBS’ Conan—began his show back in 2006 with cohost Matt Belknap. And today, almost a decade later, NNF remains one of the most talked about (and funniest) shows of the podcast realm.

We asked Pardo to team up with a guest of his choosing for this Playboy series. His choice: four-time Pardcast-a-Thon guest and Mad Men star Rich Sommer.

We’re curious: what happens when a comedian gets together with a Mad Man?

Jimmy Pardo: You are very handsome, yet you have to spend hours on set with Jon Hamm. Do you just avoid mirrors while in production?

Rich Sommer: Jimmy, you’re such a gentleman. You really know how to open an interview. To answer your question, I avoid mirrors whether we are in production or not, but that has nothing to do with the inspired inadequacy one feels when in the presence of Mr. Hamm.

Pardo: While on The Office, you were called “one of the most hated characters in the history of television.” Why do you think I said that all those years ago?

Sommer: I forgot you said that! I knew someone did, but I forgot it was one of my good friends. Anyway, my guess is you probably said it because you knew they had considered using me as another roadblock in the Pam/Jim mythos, and you just wanted them to finally start experiencing the ease that is True Love…which I couldn’t really argue with.

Pardo: You and I have had lunch many times. Any sandwich stand out more than the others?

Sommer: What was that place on, Wilshire, was it? That place had a pretty good sandwich. I think I had a Cuban. Yeah…let’s go with the Cuban!

Pardo: You are a fan of board games. Your favorite and why!

Sommer: All-time? Probably Die Macher by Karl-Heinz Schmiel. It beautifully and intuitively translates the German election system into a four-hour-or-so game. Glad you asked?

Pardo: Here’s why: I just gave you $50 and told you to create and design a mock-up of your own board game and pitch it to Hasbro. What would it be?

Sommer: I’ve had an idea for a while of a game that covers the spread of TV in the United States. Probably that.

Pardo: You are the voice of OnStar. Have you had the chance to use the product yet?

Sommer: I hate to say that I haven’t; however, there have been plenty of times I wished I had it in my car. It’s a very cool product. Everyone should buy one, and cite the ads with my voice as the reason!

Pardo: I lost my virginity while listening to the soundtrack of An Officer and a Gentleman. Care to share about your first time?

Sommer: Oh boy…the movie Fear, with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon, was playing on the TV. I believe I had rented the VHS; I refuse to accept that I may have owned it and that I just happened to play it at that moment. I like to believe it was due back at the video store yet I still hadn’t watched it. Therefore, I had no choice but to have it on at that special, special moment.

Pardo: I was recently in Minneapolis and was invited to go ice fishing…can’t think of anything worse. You grew up there. Is this a good time? Did I miss out?

Sommer: During one of the last times I went ice fishing I ended up drunkenly guiding my father-in-law’s keys into the ice hole—never to be retrieved. We tried tying a coat hanger and a flashlight to some fishing line to get them back. So, that kind of encapsulates what ice fishing means to me.

Pardo: You’ve guest starred on Law & Order. So, victim or perp?

Sommer: Well, I’ve been in the franchise three times: once as a random interviewee, once as the perp and once as sort of an accomplice/victim combo. So, I’ve really run the gamut. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it on to the L.A. version before it was cancelled… one of my life’s great regrets.

Pardo: You enjoy Twitter. Describe our first meeting in 140 characters. Note: you must use all 140.

Sommer: Hamm intro’d us, IIRC. Was that the time you shit all over our friend’s famous husband right in front of her? Or had we met before that? FU.

Pardo: I have no idea if you are a fan of either, but you have to go to a Ke$ha or a Taylor Swift concert. Which do you choose and why?

Sommer: I know almost zero of either of their respective catalogs, but I think I’d choose Ke$ha. The “why” is more difficult. I think she appeals to whatever part of me thought Fear would be a great movie to attach a permanent and significant memory to.

Pardo: Enough with you. Let’s turn this conversation to me. You participate in Never Not Funny’s Pardcast-a-Thon every year. Do you have any particular memory you’d like to share?

Sommer: Ah yes, it’s all about you. Well, every year, I like to tune in near the end to see how insane you and Matt [Belknap] and Pat [Francis] have gotten. I think it’s better since you switched to the noon-to-midnight slot, but seeing you guys at six A.M. back then—on a hundred energy drinks and zero sleep and 12 hours straight of talking—those were special times.

Pardo: What about Pardcast-a-Thon appeals to you?

Sommer: There’s someone new to see gracing the stage each and every half hour…every year. You’ve gotten some amazing people to participate. I’m just glad you are superstitious enough to keep bringing me back so I can meet all the people you round up. Plus, it’s one hell of a cause. Can’t wait to see how much we raise this year!

Pardo: Last question. Really think this one through: mustard or mayo?

Sommer: Mustard, of course! What kind of monster says mayo?!

Pardo: I do, Mr. Sommer…I do. If that makes me a monster, so be it. I, Jimmy Pardo, am a monster!

RICH SOMMER is an actor best known for his portrayal of Harry Crane on the AMC series Mad Men. He’s also had supporting roles in The Devil Wears Prada, and he’s guest-starred on The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Law & Order.

JIMMY PARDO’S raucous-but-smart weekly podcast, Never Not Funny, is the No. 2 paid podcast hosted by a comedian, after Ricky Gervais’. His guest list reads like a Who’s Who of comedy: Conan O'Brien, Richard Lewis, Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman have all been guests. Actors Jon Hamm, Ty Burrell and Craig Bierko have appeared on several of the funniest episodes.

Read more Laugh Tracks interviews HERE.

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