Q: How much fun is it playing an unfiltered, off-kilter character such as Sam Loudermilk?
A: It’s a lot of fun. It’s terrific, really. The thing about it is, it just lets them write some amazing things. I get to say things that – I just get a free pass. I look at it as it’s kind of a free pass for a guy that is just kind of venting out loud with a lot of the thoughts that I think we go through during the day but we’ve learned that sensible people are supposed to keep those to themselves. And he for some reason is just missing that chip.
Q: Have you found that any of that has rubbed off on you?
A: A little bit. I think there’s probably some bleed into my real life, especially during the time that I’m actually doing the show. But the thing is, I feel like if you let that stuff out and kind of acknowledge it and name it, it doesn’t build up as much anymore. A little goes a long way. Loudermilk’s one of the few people that just can’t shut it off.
Q: But he is a man with considerable wisdom.
A: Yeah, and I think that’s the thing that’s kind of really special about 12-steps and recovery, is that wisdom is very hard-earned. They fight for that wisdom and it’s earned the hard way (laughs). You know, these are guys who are not sage people that can see the way the world is supposed to work and immediately go right there. They’ve got to be kicked in the teeth 50 or 60 times to have it slowly sink in.
But you know, once it does – that’s the fun of it to me, is you get to play all these characters that are sort of hapless numbskulls a little bit. But having shared this experience of having our lives fall apart and getting clarity and then doing the work and the inventory to put it all back together again, they do glean a little bit of wisdom out of it, although they’re still hapless numbskulls, hapless numbskulls that are just a little bit wiser.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.