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January 5, 2023 43 mins

In this very special Season 4 finale of Let’s Be Real, Sammy Jaye chats with the one and only actor, performer & dancer, Dulé Hill! In this conversation, they do a deep dive into the journey of Dulé’s career, the lessons he’s learned, the art of tap dancing, the iconic dialogue of Aaron Sorkin, the impact of the show “Psych” and the experience of playing a Dad on The Wonder Years reboot!!

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi, guys, It's Sammy J. And welcome back to this
week's episode of the Lesbie World Podcast. This is our
season four finale, which is absurd to think about the
past fifty two episodes and four seasons. I'm more grateful
for this experience than I can ever say. And to
kick off this finale, what better way than to chat

(00:22):
with the incredible after performer dancer Dole Hill. This might
be one of my favorite episodes of all time. I'm
just gonna say it. I started the episode by bringing
a pineapple because if you are a fan of the
show psych and you are a psycho, you know you know. Anyways,
I love you, guys, and I hope you love this episode. Two.

(00:42):
Hello everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of the
Letsbie Oral Podcast. I am so honored because I am
sitting next to the one and only Dole Hill. Thank
you so much for coming on. It's my pledge, is
my pledging. You have such a unique perspective, and I
think you're such an underrated artist because you've been in
the business for so long and you've been in such
a variety of stuff. But before we start, I feel

(01:06):
like it needs to be sad that I'm a psycho
and and I'm so excited to get into this conversation. Well,
I'm glad that you are a psycho. I'm glad to
be here, and I'm glad that you are a fan
of Delicious Flavor. Absolutely, the psych world really holds a
place close to my heart, like the entire fan base.
Not just it's it's a it's a whole, it's a

(01:27):
whole thing, figger than itself at this point, it really is.
And what I love about the psyche world is that
I feel like I feel that psychos celebrate and appreciate
our unique idiosyncrasy is what makes us different. You know,
some folks may think we're like in general, made me
think we were Like people might think Gus is a cornball,
but psychos celebrate that like that's Gus is who he is,

(01:49):
and it's and he's worth celebrating. And not not only
on the show itself, but I think that is translated
into the whole site community. We celebrate what makes us unique,
our unique glow full like a pineapple. Have you ever
tried white pineapples? A real question? I have not. I've
never even heard of white pineapples. Okay, so when I
was in Hawaii, they have white pineapple and it's white

(02:10):
on the inside and it's like pineapple without the acidity. Really,
you're sweeten. Really it is heaven. If you can never
get your hand on some white pineapple was underrated fruit
I've ever had in my life. And everyone needs to
be aware of you. See, I need to check it out.
Check it out. And if you turn on Psychle one
day and here is talking about and they say Psyched
the movie whatever, and here is talking about a white pineapple,

(02:31):
then you know where it came from. You know what?
I think you just have to try and get ready. Um.
Something that I also need to tell you that I
did mention before is I did join a top class
because you inspired me. I think that's phenomenal. I would
love to start with tap. What drew you to that sport?
Because it is a sport. I mean, yes, it is
a look. It is a sport that I do think.
You have to be athletic in your own way to

(02:52):
be able to dance in general, but especially to tap dance,
just the way your body moves and contorts to create rhythm.
For myself, I started at the age of three, and
I really was just following the crowd because my brother
and my cousins were going to a dance school. My
mom was a ballet teacher there at the dance school.
It's a school called Marie Wildly School of Dance in
eastern New Jersey, and I went there just to be

(03:14):
around them as I was about the age of three,
and I was took jazz, tap in ballet, and as
I kept going, I started to get more affinity for
a tap and then at the age of nine, I
booked this show called The Tap Dance Kid, which was
on Broadway, and I just studied Savior and Glover on
Broadway for really about like five or six months, and

(03:35):
then I did the lead role on the national tour
for another year. But on the national tour I performed
with somebody by the name of Harold Nicholas, who was
of the legendary tap group the Nicholas Brothers. They're an
iconic tap duo. And being able to see what Harold
was doing day in and day out compared to what
I was doing really inspired me to go deeper in
dance because that's I was able to see the musicality

(03:58):
of dance and all of what you can do with it,
I guess. A few years later I ended up doing
a show called Black and Blue on Broadway at the
same Minskoff Theater, and you see what I'm saying, And
that was with our Bunny Briggs, Lin Cheney, Ralph Brown,
Buster Brown, Chuck Green, Jimmy Slide. These are all the
hoover Is, the legends of legends of tap and being

(04:19):
around them and really seeing what they were doing continuous
had me go deeper and deeper. And then finally, when
I was about twenty, Savioan Glover called me to see
what I was doing. And I was a junior at
cton Hall University of New Jersey, and he needed one
more dancer for a show called Bringing Noise, Bring the Phone,
and I did that off Broadway, and then we went
to Broadway. And that's really when I started to grasp

(04:39):
onto tap as my own because I started to really
understand how it is music, how it is communication, and
how it is really it's a language, and for me
it started to become a thing that was very cathartic.
I was able to deal with my emotions and speak
on things that I didn't have the vocabulary to speak on,
just by putting it into my dance. We watched a
short film on top my class. It was amazing and

(05:01):
if there was a stylog just through their steps, and
I've never seen anything so just mesmerizing like that. The
reason why I think tap is mesmerizing is because of
the musicality, because that's the only dance form that's both
a dance and music. You know, if you hear music,
it can just draw you in the how melodic it
is and the phrasing of things, and tap is the

(05:23):
same way that as people are expressing them themselves through
dance and through music, I think the music side of
it really can draw you, draw you into that way.
Do you have any other creative outlets. I've been trying
to learn how to play the piano. I've been using
this app called Simply Piano Piano. Has it been helping
very much? I took it. I picked it up around
Christmas time. I did not know how to read music

(05:45):
or anything, and it has really been helping me out.
I can now reach heat music, I can know where
how to play on the on the keys. That's huge. Yes,
it's pretty impressive. And this is not a paid endorsement
or anything. I just really picked up Sampo piano and
I love it. You know, I paid my monthly fee
every month. It's like you know, some app costs, and uh,
you learn all these songs? What songs I've played? What's

(06:08):
the what's the song that that's in my head right there?
It's a song from Poor Game Best that I I've
learned how to play. I've learned how to play the
James Bond theme song. I've learned how to play a
whole bunch of like some of a Room five song.
All these kind of like the library of music that
they have in here is pretty impressive. So what are
you working on now? What's the goal next? Well? All right,

(06:31):
I mean I can open up my app because if
you look at it, a simple piano right there on
my is buffering this so I can come back to
when it when it actually comes on, because I guess
the signal side here is not you we'll come back
to it. Yeah, but I love it, so I've been
doing that. And then also because of the show that
I'm on now, The Wonder Years, Hey, I talk about it.
I'm looking forward to it. But okay, hold on, I

(06:53):
write along to me simply piano. It's loading, guys, I
got a feeling. Okay, see you're right here. That's gonna
be the next thing I work on set right there?
How long do you spend a week generally playing piano
when I'm working a lot, because in between setups, we
have a piano on the set, and in between setups,
I'll go and play. And I'm filming Atlanta, so I'm

(07:14):
by myself. My family is still here in l A.
So I will at home at night just to entertain
myself and to learn. I'll do that. It's a little
more challenging here to spend the time. Yeah, I mean,
I'm like I said, then be on a piano for
forty five minutes when I can spend time hanging out
with LEVI. So it's been harder at home. It's been
really hard at home to pick up my other thing

(07:35):
which I'm doing, which is the saxophone. But the saxophone,
I've played saxophone when I was in middle school. I
played it for about four years. Then I put it
down for about fifteen years, and then I did a
show off broad on Broadway in twenty thirteen around there
called After Midnight. That was with Fantasia Barrino. Desmond Richardson,

(07:57):
all these phenomenal in a cast full of phenomenal artists
in the Jazz at Lincoln Center, all stars. So in
my mind, I'm working with these great musicians. I might
also trying to maximize the time. So I dusted off
my saxophone, and thankfully a lot of the cats there,
especially Mark Gross who's a brilliant saxophone player. He uh,
I started teaching me how to play. So I started

(08:17):
learning thing, and then of course once the show ended,
I put it back down. And then now for wonder years,
my character Bill Williams on the show, he plays the saxophone.
Actually he plays the guitar, the piano, and the saxophone.
That told Salady and Patterson, who's the show creator, that
I'm having more of an affinity for the sacks, and
I know that better, so the more we can use that,
the better. So now he's leaning more into him playing

(08:39):
the saxophone. And I have a teacher out there too,
who comes to the setting is uh Shepherd. He thought
there teaching me how to how to play the sacks,
and I love it. Always learning, always learning. I think
it's important to always keep learning, you know, That's how
you keep expanding in mind. That's how you keep leaning
into tomorrow, that's how you keep growing. This years ago,
I was, you know, I'm a tap dancer, and I
was talking to Jimmy Slide, who was one of the

(09:00):
legends of dance, and I was always enthralled with the
idea of the journey of a hoofer, you know, like
the journey of tap dancers, and really jumping through without
going all into the whole conversation. He's told me, you know,
people call me a tap master, but you can never
be a master of tap. Every time I put on
my shoes, I keep learning, I keep growing. The day

(09:20):
I put on my shoes and I stopped learning, and
I stopped growing, is it danny to take my tap
shoes off? That always stuck with me that no matter
how good you are at something, no matter how prolific
you are at something, whether it's an art form, or
whether it's what you do with your job, or whether
it's how you interact with people, always keep leaning into
it because it's always something to learn, is always a
place to grow. It really struck me that this is

(09:41):
somebody who had been dancing for half a century by
that point and he was a tap master. He's passed
away now, but he was a tap master. But in
his mind, you can never master that. You have to
keep leaning into that. I just think that that's a brilliant,
agrelliant way to approach life, absolutely, And I feel like,
what's the fun of life if you're not learning and
keeping your mind open and just keep expanding your horizons

(10:03):
and trying things that you can't get right away, failing,
failing up. You're only failing if you don't get back up.
That's right, You're just trying. It's like, come on, let
me let me try to get this thing. Let me
try it again, Let me try it again, let me
try it again. It's the way that I tried to
live my life. It's a good way too. And I
think you have a very unique perspective. You've been in
the business a very long time and there are a

(10:24):
lot of ins and outs that people don't see. And
I was wondering what the most difficult part of the
entertainment industry that you face that isn't discussed much. I
think it varies depending on which stage of life that
you are in stage of your career. When I first
was looking to create space for myself as an actor.
That was the biggest challenge was getting people to see
me as an actor because I started as a tap

(10:45):
dancer mostly on Broadway. I was doing musicals and trying
to create that space of I'm an actor. I can
do scene work. I think one of the most flattering,
our most appreciative compliments I ever got was when Aaron
Sorkin said to casting he said, if more dancers act
like Dole, than we need to hire more dancers. And
that really was because I was fighting so much trying

(11:06):
to create space as an actor. It's kind of funny
because now people don't realize always that I'm a tap dancer,
because that was like you dance. It's funny how life
can evolved that way. But when I was younger, that
was the part about the career, just trying to create
space and in terms of trying to get people to
see me as an actor, but also trying to just
create space for myself in the business. Like I felt

(11:27):
like I was a good actor. I felt that I
had something to offer and getting someone to see that,
especially someone like Aaron Sorkin and being on a show
that is so dialogue heavy and it's you know, it's
so fast paced. Was being on that show? Do you
think that helped you um grow as an actor? Just
being around that kind of right and that kind of

(11:48):
you know, go go go, oh, yeah you can. You
can't be around doing the words of Aaron Sorkin being
directed by Tommy Schlami, working with Martin Sheen and Alison Jenny,
John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Brad for you know, Rob low
Stocker chanting. I mean, the list goes on. You can't
be around that group of creative people and not get better.

(12:09):
It's like if I played basketball every day with Michael Jordan,
Lebron James, Magic Johnson and Larry Birds, you would improve exactly.
And I'm not a good basketball player, not at all,
but I wouldn't. There's no way that I could keep
playing with them for seven years, day in day out
and not get better. I think you are known by
the company you keep, which is why I tried to

(12:29):
always get around people who who can inspire me to
reach reach further. Yeah, it's surrounding. You know, you are
who you surround yourself with. And when you surround yourself
with other driven people that make you want to be better,
you want to do the same same thing. You know,
it's funny to talk about the West Wing to being
a tap dance to help me understand how to tackle
the dialogue of it's all rhythm. And once once I

(12:51):
got that that, it all made sense to me. I said, Oh,
this is a song. Yeah, this is all just musicality
right here. West Wing truly is just musicality like it
is so it is so brilliant. What is the biggest
takeaway you learned from that show? I think one. There's
a few things, so I guess it wouldn't be the biggest.
It would be a few of the big takeaways. One

(13:12):
was to always stay humble in the midst of what's
going on because it's not going to last forever. I
really appreciate how Martin Sheen was is such a humble person.
He's always connected to his fellow beings. He's not a
subjector of persons, meaning he's not going to talk to
you one way because he doesn't look at you as
as being a value. Everyone is a value involved in
the creative process, from Aaron Sorkin to a p a

(13:35):
who just came on set for one day. And I
was aware of that. I could see because I very rare.
It is very rare, and I had just done a
team movie before that name She's all that. And I've
seen how a lot of my peers we're acting on
the set. It was my first studio film, and being
on that set and seeing how the egos that were
there that could be amongst a lot of a lot
of people, but in that case a lot of young people.

(13:57):
And then to come to the West Wing set and
see how Martin, who it's such a great, vast body
of work, how humble he was, how connected he was
really stuck with me, And for myself, I said, that's
more the path that I want to follow. That seem
that resonates more with me of appreciating people. And I
guess for myself too, because I've been on the other
side of the coin, especially being in Noise Funk where

(14:18):
Savian was the you know, the big quote unquote star,
and that's that's that was my brother, my my my man,
and we would roll tight and I would go to
places with him. But because people then I recognize me,
Oh yeah, I got the soft handshake that hey, how
are you doing, brother? And moving on, you know what
I mean? And even and even after she saw that
because me and Freddie Prince are very close and hanging

(14:39):
out with Freddie Prince during that time, he was Freddie Prince. Yes,
I was in the movie, but I wasn't Freddie. I
would get that same thing here in l A two
of The Brush Off. Really, it is not until West
Wing came along that people started to now they want
to be up in my face. But I took that
in of I'm still me, and I think it's important
to always engage people, no matter who they are, where

(15:01):
they are, you know. So that's something that took away
from it. And then the other thing that I took
away from it, from the art, from the craftmanship of
it is to keep reaching. It's like a theme. I
keep going back to this, but I remember, you know,
the first season we got we won Best Drama, and
we're getting all these awards, and the collective energy of
the past and the crew was let's go higher, let's

(15:22):
go deeper, let's not live off of our laurels of yesterday.
We had a great first season. The second season is
even harder. Let's keep digging, and that I like, that's
still how I am. As a tap to answer on
that way and as an actor on that way, and
I hope that as a person on that way where
it's let's keep going further, it is more to get
you know what. That's so funny you say that, because
I think that shows and everything you've done, but also

(15:45):
with Psych alone, the movie is just keep getting better.
It's like it's the thing that it's like it just
doesn't want to stop. It just doesn't want to stop.
So it's one of those things. And I know that
Psych it's such a collective, a unit. And so those
lessons you learned from West Wing, did that translate into
that show as well? I think so. I think, uh,

(16:06):
I think coming to Psych from the West Wing, it
was I came to the show now in a different
position because I was more of a lead, one of
the leads of the of the show. But Martin's energy
stayed with me of respecting everybody and this is how
we're going to do it on this set. Really it
still stays with me. And he said that I go
to I try to keep that energy where it's like, well,
we're all here trying to make something, make somethings exactly.

(16:27):
Let's respect everybody, Let's love everybody, let's let's just give
our best best sells. I always say, I'm kind of
going down a side street. But if you get a
group of brilliant people together, a group of talented people
together in a room who respect each other and give
space for each other to show their gifts, something brilliant
is bound to happen. It will always happen. Now, mind you,

(16:49):
that may not always turn into this commercial success, but
it depends on how you define personal success. Well I
said commercial success. Yeah, yeah, it will be a personal
a personal success. But that's just it's just the art
world and not everything you do with a commercial success.
But if you get people in the room and we
all respect each other, give space for each other, give
space for your voice and my voice, and hear each other,

(17:10):
and then allow our gifts to shine, something brilliant is
going to happen. And that's really what I tried to
bring to every set that I come to. On the site,
set was the same thing of it's all I mean,
some bits could come up from somebody in the crew
just saying that we'll try sure, like if if it
made sense. It wasn't just the type of thing of no,

(17:31):
you sit there and you do your job and I'll
do my job. Or no, only Sean Spen's only James
Rode Mariguez, He's the only one that gets to be funny. No,
Tim Momson can be funny. Maggie Lawson can be funny.
I could be funny, curs to Nelson Corporate Burnton. If
it made the peace funny, then that's what we were
going to do. It wasn't about one particular person having
to get all the shine. It seems like it's also
about the process of making and I feel like so

(17:52):
much is focused on the end result a lot of
the time, but you know, enjoying the actual process of
being in the moment and going off of other people's refs,
like it's the most collaborating is I have found personally
in film school one of the most satisfying things. That's
one of the parts about this industry that I love
the most is being in this space with people and
all right, let's create. Let's see what we come up with,

(18:14):
and let's see if we hit the hit the target,
and if not, then will try again. You know, if
we didn't get it right this episode, we're gonna try
again next episode. If we didn't get rid of this performance.
If it's on stage, we're gonna go deeper. Well let's
try it again. Yeah. I love the creative process. I
really get off on it. And I feel like there's
something so magical of having an idea and just seeing
the process of it coming alive. It's just it's unlike

(18:36):
anything I've experienced, and I just want to continue experiencing.
And I think you should. I think you should, not
think you will. I appreciate that. I think something that
going with psych You guys really played with format a lot,
and I think that's one of the reasons why you
had different themes from a werewolf theme to a musical theme.
You know, you redid the same episode twice, you know,

(18:56):
like when you start running out of ideas, you said,
you know what was the worst episode that we did,
let's redo that one? Is that? Is that how that happened?
Because I thought Copy with the Chance of Murder was
a great episode in the first look. It's the type
of thing where the further you go along on anything,
like the songs that I could sing now that I'm
like I could sing, I could sing a lot better

(19:17):
now there's material even with the West Wing. I feel
like if I went back and had a chance to
do some of that material, what could I do with
it now? So I think with Psych in that episode,
it was we're just to show that swings for the
fences and does all these crazy wacky things. What's something
that you don't see on television too often? Then redoing
the same I mean, it's so absurd when you think

(19:38):
about it. Did I take my hat off to even
the USA, you know, for for supporting it, because your
network and you're like, what's just the same name? What
same thing? So it was really but that was an
episode that we didn't feel we got right, that we
could have got done better, which I think in general

(19:59):
artists probably always feel that way about work that they've done.
But but the fact that you got to actually revisit
it and then redo it. Has any other show done
that before? I don't think so obviously that's something I
would be interested to know. So if somebody's listening to
this and has the time to check all the television
that has ever been done, but it's like, you's redone
the same episode, And I think that's what's so great

(20:21):
about it is because you just are so willing to
try anything. You're kind of playing with supernatural sometimes and
playing with different ideas. So when it's like four coming out,
when is the four movie coming out? That's a good question,
you know. I always say, as long as the cycles
still wanted, then it will come. So I'm sure that
at some point there will be another one. I just
don't know when that will be. So to all the cycles,

(20:43):
I will say, wait for read. I had to do it,
you know that's right? Yeah, there we go. Was that
a plan name Gusa? Thank you? Yeah? Yeah, you know
that's right, speaking of a player name Gus. That episode
was written by Saladin Kay Pattison, who is the creative

(21:07):
of the Wonder Years. No way, and look at that transition, right,
It's always connected your career so has so many full
circle moments there really is. For example, Chris Henzi, who
is the one of the exact producers of Psych. He's
also Alison Jenny's manager, so I've known Chris Henzi from
the West Wing. That's one of that was one of

(21:28):
the connections of going to Psych. Also, when I was
doing Bringing Noise Brain, the Funk USA used to have
this campaign called Erase the Hate where they would do
like these little commercials, a little interstitials about combating hate.
And the person who was running a race to hate
back in the nineties when I was doing Bringing Noise,
Bring the Funk was a lady by the name of
Bonnie Hammer who ended up becoming the President of USA

(21:51):
at the time. And I mean, now she's way up
there in terms of the whole universal world, but that
was a connection there too. So then now I go
and do psych. Then you have Salady and Patterson, who's
he was one of the co exact producers and he
did that episode that you're talking about. Years later he's
doing The Wonder years and now lo and behold here
I am. So what is that like working with the
same people on different projects. I think it's great. I

(22:13):
love it. I think that's there's something that that's a
part of the beauty of our being blessed to have
longevity in the industry that you keep crossing past with people,
and once you work with somebody started having a backhand
like now we're meeting here, Now we crossed passed again
two years to years from now. It's more like, hey,
it's happening, or you know, yeah, it's it's it's a little,

(22:34):
it's a little more familiar, and I think that's the
beauty of being in this business. Even as I'm thinking
about a world's connecting I did. I understudied Saving and
Glover in the Tap Dance Kid, and then when Bringing
Always came around, I work with him again. So the
I can make a direct connection of how other steps
taken to get to where I am creatively, the people

(22:55):
I've crossed passed with. Okay, so we have to take
a quick break. But when we come back, I wanted
to talk about the second season of The Wonder Years,
how the essence of the show really reflects on our
culture today, a lot more about psych and much more.
We'll be right back, and we're back. I'm very excited

(23:18):
to talk about The wond Years because you said that
this show is quote it looks back on yesterday to
tell a story about who we are today, and I'd
love for you to expand on that, because I think
you said it perfectly. You know, the more things change,
the more they stay the same, And often times I
think you have to take a look back at yesterday
to really engauge where we are and how we got
to where we are, how we got to where we

(23:38):
are and to see it to kind of like grade yourself,
because if I'm just living in a vacuum, then it's like, oh, yeah,
I'm doing great whatever. But it's when it's only when
you have in comparison to something you can realize either
we've made a lot of change or we have not
made a lot of change. You can see how certain
things are. Yeah, we've moved forward from from that some ways,
not so much, not so much, and recognizing that as so,

(24:00):
because that's the only way to move forward exactly. And
that's really that's really what I love about this show
is that it's a based in the sixties, based in
the sixties about a black family in Alabama, and in
the midst of all the trouble of the time, the
turbulence of the time, the challenges of the time, they're
able to create their very own wonder years and it's
filled with love and laughter and heart. It's a good

(24:21):
growing up story. I think it's a great growing up story,
and I feel that it's something I appreciate having that
on the air now. I completely agree, coming in, week in,
week out into our homes. There's not many things on
television where families can sit down and watch it together.
Psych I feel like it was one of those uh
and this show I appreciate because the lens that is

(24:43):
looking through grounds the show a little bit more so
it still is dealing with the world around us, but
it also is bringing a lot of humor and levity
as well. What is it like playing a dad? You know,
it's funny he's back. It's kind of like a time warp, Like, wait,
wasn't it just in the tap? And it's strange because

(25:03):
like on The West Wing, I was I was a
young cat. Even on Psyche, we all appears so we're
all just people doing the work. And then I get
on Wonder Years and people are talking about how they
went around when the first one of the Years came on,
you know, you know, and E. J. Williams is saying,
you know, do you know he's been around for so long.
He's been in this game, for this business for so long.
It's really cool to work with someone like I'm like, wait,

(25:23):
what I've been about here for so long? What are
you talking about? Young man? Me and you the same age.
I'm a kid. You understand because I have a beard
and I have some grades doesn't mean that I went
out the same age, right, But you know, at first
he gets a little shocking of way it's like I'm
playing a dad now. But then right on the heels
of that, you appreciate it because again going back to

(25:45):
what I was saying before about even the wonder years,
when you put it in perspective of everything else, that
means do let you've been on this journey for a
long time. You've had the opportunity to do it for
a long time, to do what you love for a
long time. You've been blessed to really create space for
yoursel as a creative individual from the age of ten
till now. That's that's a huge blessing. So just take
it in the fact that you can play a dad

(26:06):
on television now is a wonderful thing. Do you have
to change your mindset like when going about the acting process, Uh,
be more affirmative at all. I don't think so. I
think each character is different. I think the process is
always relatively the same. It just depends on who the
character is. What is the process generally? I mean, for me,
I wonder, how how does this person talk, how do

(26:27):
they walk? What is their world view? Like? How do
they what is the lands that they look through? I
asked myself questions about how do they feel about those
who they are around? How do they feel about the
world beyond them? These are questions that I kind of
asked myself no matter which character that I'm playing, but
I feel Charlie Young walks differently than Burton Guster, works differently,

(26:49):
not at all, walks differently from Bill Williams. I think
who also? You know, I played a character on Suits
that person walked differently. Alex Williams, his energy is different.
How do you how do you channel of those energies.
It's funny because I don't. It's very hard for me
to put it in words. I've realized that over the
years that it's hard for me to actually put in
words the process. It's like jazz, it's like music. It
just yeah, I just let it. I fill it out. Then,

(27:13):
years ago, I did at William Esper Studios, which is
where I did my acting classes in New York. I
studied with Bill Esper. You know a lot of times
through the process you would work from the inside out.
But then for some of the work that we did there,
we put on these masks and then you would pick
a mask, put on the mask, and then you work
from the outside in. So if the mask is a
happy mask, if we start to affect how this person moves,

(27:36):
and it starts to teach me that all these things
come together, you do the homework at home with the
inside out. But then also the clothes that I put on,
the shoes that I put on. If it's if I'm
in slides, is different from if I'm in shoes. It's
different than if I made some platform shoes. That that
says a lot about the person. The kind of shoes
that they wear. There's a lot about the person that
kind of clothes that they wear. Do you ever feel

(27:57):
limited in what you wear? Not because you're like, oh
that reminds me of that character, you mean personally or
as I going to the new personally? Oh no, No,
At anytime that I'm allowed to something can make it
from their closet to my closet. I'll take it that way.
Do it. Do it? You know, I can either confirm
nor deny whether I have anything from any of my
characters over the years. I cannot. They may look similar,

(28:19):
but they may not necessarily be the exact thing. No,
I may have just copied and pasted it. I may
have just found out. I found out where was purchased
from and from the manufacturer of course, exactly anything you
absolutely didn't take from any show anything, I absolutely didn't
take it. But you know, like I mean, let me see,
I didn't take a piece of the wheel from the Blueberry.

(28:42):
I did not. It's like a piece of the rim.
It blew up, well right now, I haven't, haven't. It's
like storage being that has like a whole bunch of
that stuff in there. I did not take the nameplate
from Burton Guster's desk. Never, No, never. I did not
take the sign outside of Charlie Young's office that said

(29:02):
Deputy Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. No, I
did not take that. I should have taken the one
that said Charlie Young Personal Aide to the President. I
wasn't thinking at the time, and I did not take.
If those who who watch The West Wing the last
episode of the series, Martin Sheen are President, probably gives
Charlie Young a copy of the Constitution, it's a little

(29:25):
red book. I did not take that. Why would you
ever take That's not sentimental at all. I don't have that.
So if people are looking for. I don't know where
it is. I don't have. I don't have that. Well,
you know, I can either confirm nor there exactly. I'm
trying to think from suits? Yeah, do you take anything
from suits? Did I have anything from suits? Let me

(29:45):
think about it. No ties, no suits, not from the
I don't think I have. I think I took some
of this. Confirm nor din I you know, especially if
Aaron Corsh is listening to this right now, I don't
know Eron. I don't know if I've taken anything from that.
I've never taken any suit. You know. The anything about
suits is when I was when I was going to
Seton Hall. Growing up, my intention was to be a
corporate lawyer. I planned to go off to law school,

(30:07):
and then around my junior year, when I was doing
those phone on Bradway, I really started to ask myself,
what is it that I want to do with my life.
But I want to go into the corporate world and
be a corporate lawyer, or don't want to continue assuming
the arts. I eventually decided to pursue the arts because
I realized that that's what I had an affinity for,
but also at the time I said to myself, I
don't want to wear a suit to work every day.
I want to go and be creative, like do that thing.

(30:28):
I don't want to wear a suit to work every day.
Then my first TV show is The West Wing, which
I would have to wear suits every day every day,
you know. And then of course Psych I had to
wear suits on that show as well. And then not
only that, but then afterwards I get a show called
Suits where I plays you know, where I wear suits
every day and I'm a corporate lawyer. You've lived every

(30:54):
You've lived it out vicariously, I did. I ended up
achieving both goals and I was an actor and I
was a corporate lawyer exactly. You know what I mean.
You've accomplished at all. What was it like working with
your wife in Psych? Great? I love working with Jasmine.
We have a good time. It's great to just be
creative in that space. Having to join the psych world

(31:15):
was a lot of fun because I think it's a
I appreciate the love that the psychles have given over
the years, the support and being that Jasmine was such
a bussing to me in my life personally. I was
glad to be able to then to a certain cent
share our dynamic in a different way with with with
the psych world, with the psychles. Yeah. So I was
great working with her and she especially She's just it
was so much fun with the ball of energy coming

(31:37):
into the so true and something that if the Psych
movie doesn't come out anytime soon, I think we just
need the unedited of the birth scene of the last
how many that I think we all need. That was
a lot going on. Boy, how long did that take? Shot? In?
Two days? The one incause it was a long scene.
It's a really long scene and I don't think there
was any real plan about how we were going to

(31:58):
attack it. So we got there and we're like okay,
and then we figured it out and he just kept
chipping away it. It was a lot of heavy breathing
by using a lot of crying by my part. You know,
you've had to do a lot of screams. Oh yeah,
here's Lassie. Oh yeah. Oh. I think I think that
was really just if I'm not mistaken, did d write
that episode? I believe he. I believe he wrote directed

(32:20):
and I don't think maybe directed it. I think it
was really just a thing of how can we get
do lated scream. Here's an idea, here's Lassie. That was
a lot of screaming in that one. That's a terrifying episode.
That was a lot of screaming. And Tim Thomason was
so great in that episode. He really dove right into
being a different kind of Psycho. Okay, we have to

(32:44):
take one more quick break, but when we come back,
I want to talk about the second Psycho movie and
actually get your thoughts on a very special story Joel
McKell shared with me when he was on the podcast recently.
That kind a whole lot more right after this and
we're back. So Joel McHale was on the podcast and

(33:06):
he was telling we're talking about Psych. I just saw
Joe mckelly other day. Yeah, if you go onna maybe
Tim's Instagram or uh he was. We had like a
birthday at Tim's house the other day. Oh good. He
was just on the podcast and he was telling me
the whole story about the movie, um, the second movie, UM.
And I think it is so amazing how Psych and

(33:30):
the family just comes together every time just to support
each other and to be there for each other. I
know that movie was especially very emotional to make because
it was we didn't know if you would be able
to make it again. What was the process like of
when that movie got green light and you guys could
go into production. I think more. I think less about
when it got green light and more when Tim walked

(33:52):
on set. That was really the touching moment because with
the first Psyche movie, it really was a whirlwind that
just happened. The ground shifted me. It was that was
something so far off of our radar what we thought.
Did you never even think of doing a movie after
the show ended? Or was it just like, we're gonna
let it be and see what happened. Chris mccamber who
was the president of USA at the time, he said

(34:14):
when the show was wrapping up that he's fairly confident
this is not the last we'll see of Seawan and
Gus now, mind you, you hear that often, so for
it to actually come into fruition was pretty surprising and welcomed.
But then when Tim had his joke that really really
shook us. We powered through. We're able to do the

(34:35):
first Psyche movie, but it wasn't the same because we
knew that Tim wasn't on set with us. It's a
part of your family, not there exactly. So when when
we were able to now do the second one and
to see Tim walk on set, it was I just
don't have the words to say how touching it was,
how inspiring it was, because Tim had really just leaned

(34:57):
into what he was facing and kept putting one foot
in front of the other slowly and surely, and he
really willed himself back to the set and to see
his strength in the midst of that challenge was inspiring
and still is inspiring because he just keeps getting better
and better. Uh So seeing him on that set was
was just it was great. And then even Joel coming

(35:19):
up to do it was was pretty phenomenal to him.
We we actually did not you know, Tim Mombinson and
Joe mckill are pretty tight. We did not tell Tim
who was playing his father. We had like some weird name.
I forgot the name that was on the call sheet.
We put some weird name on It should have been
one of the names that I'm James Rude would call
us like it was something. It was something like that.

(35:40):
It was something, And of course Tim wants to know
because any actor would want to know who's playing my dad,
and it's a great actor he's known. You know, he's
hearing from Vancouver, this and that, and he's a theater
actor here and he's really great. Was like, huh, then, uh,
I can't remember exactly how now I'm trying to remember
which some he was here to route. I think he

(36:01):
came on that what happened? Okay, So then it was
then when he went on in the rehearsal in his
room on the on the set, and then all of
a sudden, Joe comes walking on and then Tim was
really just blown away to see his his friend coming
to play his dad. This industry is there's a lot
of challenging things that happened in his industry, but there's
also it's also a really good community of people who

(36:22):
love and support each other. At least along my journey,
I've been blessed to work with the community people who
love and support each other. And when you can find
those type of relationships, it really is a wonderful thing.
Having Joe come up, I mean, yeah, I'm sure he
was a fan of the show and he liked working
with us, but really he came up for Tim and
that's lovely. That's lovely to see those relationships that can

(36:42):
grow out of being creative, out of playing make believe
for a living. I mean, look at you and James
your day. Yeah, I mean he's one of my best
friends and I have a lot of love for real day.
He was one of my groovesmen that my wedding or
an outwarding. Uh. You know when I first met Roald Day,
I'll never forget when I first was reading, doing chemistry
read with him. Oh I wish that was on the video,

(37:04):
you know what I mean, probably you're probably looking at
my face that if there was on video, my face
would be look at him like what are you doing?
Because I came from the world of Aaron Sorkin, where
you say the words, the words are written, that's what
you say. They've been crafted, they've been like you say
the words. And I getting here in this room and
this cat is all over the place, he's bouncing off

(37:26):
the walls, and I'm like, he already had the job.
So my line, I'm like, what are you doing? Like
do you have a friend that you want to get
in this role? Like what's happening? Uh? So to see
where that has gone. That was in two thousand six
and now you're talking about I never would have thought
in that moment that sixteen years later we still would
be friends, and we would be even closer friends, and

(37:47):
he would be really like family, like a brother to
me at this point. But again, that's just all comes
from playing in the place of make believe, where it's at.
That's all we that's all we're doing. I'm like, that's
often times on sets, I'm just like everybody calmed down, relaxed, relaxed.
We're just playing make believe here, That's all we're doing.
That's all we're doing. Guys. It's like, I don't ever
let anybody ever tell you anything different. Yes, the work

(38:08):
you do inspires people. Yes, the work you do can
affect change, and this is that. Or we're playing make
believe because you're not really so and so like I'm
not really Guss, I'm Dula putting on these clothes and
playing not really Bill, not really exactly, not really in
the same way my son right now says, I'm pretending
that that's all we're doing. And some do it better

(38:28):
than others, some have opportunities to do it more than others.
But even Pacino is playing make believe. We're just playing. Yeah,
and I can and that's awesome, and I feel like
it is awesome. I feel like now you need it
now more than ever. Telling stories is the most powerful thing.
And I also feel like through the storytellings you can
tell so much. But it is just make yes, and

(38:50):
it's something. That's what I was going to say, is
there's things that you can, you know, I grasp from playing,
from playing Make Believe or from seeing somebody else play
Make Believe. There's things you can learn about yourself, things
you can learn them off the world, things that can
inspire you to go and effect change in the real world.
But at the core of it, we still are playing
making That's just so I always try to remind people

(39:10):
of it. It's a good reminder. And so Season two
of The Wonder Years is coming out, which is so exciting.
I'm very excited to share this world with with our audience.
It's gonna be a lot of fun. We're gonna have
a lot of fun guest stars, and I think there'll
be a lot of laughs to be had. I'm excited.
And what's next for do La Hill? Anything you can say,
any manifestations you want to put out, you know, it

(39:32):
would be interesting to see. It's a time of transition.
You know, our daughter Kennedy has gone off to Northwestern,
so she's there doing her volleyball thing. And that is
very surreal because just a few months ago she was
at home in high school and the other day I
turned on ESPN Plus and there she was playing, and
she's like a person playing do you Want? That's been

(39:54):
the thing that most every I think has boggled my
mind of this is crazy, like how quickly things can
change involved Levi is growing up so wonderfully, and it's
a time of transition. So I really don't know exactly
what is next. I know what's next is I'm gonna
go and knock out this season of the show, but
it can I always stay open to what's next. Speaking
of what's next, that's like what President Brightly always say,
what's next. That's something that stays with me because I'm

(40:16):
always open to what is next any personal projects. For
personal projects, I want to keep learning the piano. I'm
gonna keep learning the sacks. I have a goal of
playing the saxophone on air because then when now when
I play on the show, I got the keys right,
but someone else's I want them to record it live.

(40:37):
One time on the set so that I could say, no,
that was me playing that. So that's a little personal
goal that I have just keep to keep learning and
growing in my art forms. I want to dance more.
I want to play the piano more. I want to
play the sacks more. I want to sing more. I
want to continue to act. I just I'm gonna feed
like so more seed into being creative and just trying

(41:00):
to be better. Better, be a better being, be a
better husband, be a better father, and be a better man.
But also give myself the space and the grace to
know that it's a process. Yeah, I've been following. My
friend told me about the one percent rule, which is
to do something to make yourself one percent better than
you were yesterday in one aspect of your life. I

(41:21):
love it. So, whether that's sending an email or doing
a yoga class or making a like whatever, it is
doing something one thing a day because one percent. And
I've been doing it. I know it's a huge difference,
but it's I think. I love I love that idea.
One thing that I've tried to do and I'm still
working on it is to respond to email within twenty
four hours. My wife's best friend, Jocelyn. That's like something

(41:42):
she does. Within twenty four she respawns back to impressive.
And I'm trying to that's like my little focus because
I'm not the best at it. I'm not the best.
It's hard. You have to, like dear so and so
trying to play this piano, my simply piano, simply piano
from on five, you know. But that's something that I'm

(42:05):
working on, and I'm I'm working on being on time.
I was on time to what I'm saying, and most
time with l A traffic, you know, sometimes i'm set,
I'm in like a five or seven minute grace period.
I'm always on time to set. I'm not always on
time to the greater set, but when it's time to roll,

(42:27):
ready to roll, I'm ready to roll. Yeah, there's a
few times, I won't say very few. Casality's probably gonna
hear that and be like very few times, but just
a few times that they're actually waiting for me on set.
But I can be late to work or late to
an appointment if I'm working on that. Ye're human, you know,
But I also don't like people to be late when

(42:48):
it when it's for me. So that's the hypocrisy of
my life. Everybody, but you know what, we all have
it well. Juli, thank you so much for taking the
time out of your day to call my podcast, this
conversation and truly just made my week. I'm so excited
to watch The Wonder Years season two and see what
else is to come, and that hopefully to see you
play the saxophone live on as it's coming the time.

(43:11):
Right now, We've had a great conversation and I look
forward to slicing his pineapple up for the road.
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