- Paul Scheer
- 29 years old
- Grew-up on Long Island: "Specifically: Huntington, Northport, Central Islip, and Bayshore-My parents weren’t in the military we just had a fascination with their constantly uprooted lifestyle." Now lives in "Hell’s Kitchen (or as the real estate brokers say Clinton)."
- Actor and comedian. Eventual Playbill bio to read: "Paul was introduced to the world simply as "Usher," and released his debut album of the same name in 1994. The first single, "Think of You," gained Usher notoriety and reached gold status. In 1995, he recorded a national holiday jingle for Coca-Cola. He also joined several top male R&B vocalists to form Black Men United for the single "You Will Know," featured on the Jason's Lyric soundtrack. His third album, 8701 (2001), moved him from a teen pop star to a sultry R&B singer. In early 2004, Arista released the single "Yeah!" produced by Lil Jon and guesting Ludacris. The addictive, lightly crunk cut fast became a club and radio favorite. By the time the Usher full-length Confessions dropped later that March, "Yeah!" had hit the top of the Billboard charts. The album itself was Usher's most mature work to date and won the Grammy for best contemporary R&B album 2004."
First things first: Exactly how "tremendous" is your ego?
Before we begin, I must state that all my answers are being communicated to and typed by my assistant (Gerard) via GPS phone as I’m hovering over the Grand Canyon. Which is not impressive at all and sadly pales in comparison to what it is like to live my life. I’ve already forgotten your question, and since I don’t like to hear things repeated to me, I’m just going to answer skim milk.
Did you always want to be a comedian? Were you the funny kid in school growing up?
When I was growing up, I didn’t even realize that being a comedian was a job that you could have. I used to love watching Saturday Night Live and telling everyone that when I grew up I wanted to be Eddie Murphy. Which was tough because I’m not black, and my parents had a strict no cursing rule. However, I had a great red leather suit that I’ve never been able to use.
I don’t think I was the typical class clown, making fart noises and stuff like that. I was more subtle, and opted to whisper my observations to people around me, although most of the fights I got in throughout school were based off of those comments. I went to Catholic School for most my life, and I remember a nun overheard me say something snarky. She threw me up against a locker, and the force was so hard she cut the back of my head, but if it were now, I’d totally be able to take her.
How does performing improv differ from your work on VH1's Best Week Ever? Which is harder: performing for 30 people you can see or making sarcastic comments on TV for millions of people you can't see? (You can’t see us, right?)
I think whenever you are on stage it’s harder because you are working off the energy in the room and you immediately know if you are bombing or if it’s working, but you also can switch it up on the spot. But when we tape Best Week Ever, it’s much more relaxed. Not everything needs to hit. Plus you have the ability to be edited to just a sound byte, and all the people at that show -- the writers, producers, and editors -- are all trying to make you look good. So it makes everything you say seem perfectly off the cuff and great, but the truth is, for every funny sound byte there are 12 more that didn’t make it. Conversely, after a bad show people tend to forget about it but if you are in a bad movie or TV show it lives forever. We just did ASSSSCAT in Central Park for 4,000 people, and that was really nerve-wracking because you are out of your element, and you are wondering, Are people going get behind this? Long form requires a little more patience than the stuff you’d see on Whose Line…, but it worked really well, and it was such a relief, and I think when you are shooting something ,you never know how it’s going to go over until you watch it with an audience. Then it’s too late to change anything.