15 Questions: Laura Linney

After her visit to Harvard last Thursday, FM sat down with Emmy and Golden Globe winning (and Oscar and Tony nominated) actress Laura Linney for a discussion on fame, clarity, and Flava Flav.  Guest starring her husband, Marc Schauer.

1.  Fifteen Minutes: Your most recent work is on Showtime’s “The Big C,” which you’ve said grapples with “the privilege of aging.” What is the greatest privilege of aging?

Laura Linney: (Chuckles) Not being dead. Mhmm, honestly.

2.  FM: Do you have to consciously think about how you will balance your life and your work?

LL: Yeah, of course. This type of work will inhale your life, you know? It just will. It’s very demanding and very time consuming and it requires you to travel a great deal. That kind of pace and that kind of engagement can be addictive. It’s difficult to say no when you’re offered something. It’s very hard to say no. It does cost. It costs a lot. You get to a point when you have to start making decisions so that you can have a relationship (gestures to her husband, Marc Schauer) and have a marriage and discover what that is. You have to do that so that your relationships with your friends don’t dissipate, so that your family still has a sense of who you are. You do have to be very conscious about that.

3. FM: You have said that comedy leads to clarity–who is your favorite comedian and what has he or she clarified for you?

LL: Well, at the moment, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They do exactly that. They are a perfect example of what the skill of comedy can do to a situation; how the clear voice of comedy can come and make everything make sense. And then you realize the role of the jester, what the jester used to do. The jester was someone who was not just there to entertain–the jester put forth truth in a way that was so alarming that it would make people laugh. It’s an inherent thing in the human condition to point things out through comedy–it’s the great illuminator. I thank God for those two guys.

FM: I saw your interview with Jon Stewart–he thanked you for giving his life meaning, for affirming what he does!

LL: He’s fantastic.

4.  FM: Do you watch TV otherwise?

LL: Only in my lowest moments.

Marc Schaeur: When I first met you …

LL: Oh, I was in this reality show jag.

MS: She was addicted to “I Love New York.”

LL: Oh, yeah. That was just a train wreck of a TV show. That was really awful. It was a spin-off of “FlavaFlav.” Oh God. It was just the worst example of the train wreck that has happened to our culture.

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