During an intimate question and answer session with Eugene Levy, the actor best known for playing Jim’s dad in the American Pie films explained the difference between being a comedian and a comedic actor. In front of an audience of 400 people at Tech’s Ryan Auditorium Monday night, Levy said he is most certainly the latter, noting that he’d rather be a wallflower than the center of attention.
Interviewed by Communication junior Ned Baker, Levy stated early on his aspirations of becoming a milkman at the Hillel-sponsored event. “I thought, what a great job, you get to be around chocolate milk all day,” Levy said.
He moved on to his time with Second City Television (SCTV) and cracked crowd-pleasing one-liners at every opportunity. Levy skimmed over questions about Judaism, explaining he was not raised in a particularly religious household, but went into detail about his initial resistance to join the American Pie cast.
“I got to page 25, called my manager and said ‘I can’t do this movie,’” said Levy, citing several instances of “jerking off” as primary reasons.
After some improv sessions with Jason Biggs and the writers, however, Levy signed on and grew to love the character of Jim’s dad. He also confirmed an impending reunion of the American Pie cast for a fourth movie.
When asked about Canadian versus American humor, Levy noted no inherent difference by nationality, merely stating that people need to be born with an ability to relate through comedy. “It’s not about where you’re from… granted, there’s not a lot of German stand-up,” he said, getting a good laugh out of the audience.
The evening was not without its blunders. At one point during the Q & A, an audience member expressed how much she and her mother enjoyed Father of the Bride, to which the rest of the crowd responded with shock since, well, Levy isn’t in it. To his credit, he was extremely polite and offered some tidbits on his time on the set of Father of the Bride Part II.
“It was just funny to see Jim’s dad in person” offered Weinberg junior Gabby Ahlzadeh. “He was kind of awkward which I kind of expected and liked and could relate to.”
Towards the end of the night, Baker asked Levy about his reputation back at school to which he responded, “I was the hipster, I was so popular,” in his oh-so-fantastic Shmenges voice.
All in all, the evening made for some golden nuggets of humor sprinkled among awkward moments and interesting revelations about an actor most of the crowd seemed to know as “Jim’s dad.”