Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jon Hamm

Photo by Seth Olenick by permission only*
Whether he's Dick Whitman in flashbacks, or Don Draper being a cheating cad on Mad Men, Jon Hamm is compelling. He portrays that dark, mysterious genius of advertising, that philanderer. He owns the character. It would be too easy to associate him as deep and as brooding as his fictional alter ego, especially since he was virtually unknown before nabbing the role. But not so fast.

Something interesting happened during Hamm's time off from the AMC drama. He hosted SNL with a surprising handle on comedy that included a few impressions up his sleeve: JFK and James Mason. Who knew? Then, he guested on a few episodes of 30 Rock as Liz Lemon's neighbor love interest, Dr. Drew Baird, where he was sexy, goofy and funny.

Jon Hamm is actually part of the world of funny people. Before he portrayed Don Draper he appeared in The Sarah Silverman Program as a cable guy (Season 1: Muffin Man). He's buddies with an array of comedians such as Jimmy Kimmel and Paul Rudd. He's been featured on Zach Galifianakis' Between Two Ferns on FunnyorDie. He portrayed Lex Luthor in a film short on the same site. He hangs out at comedy podcasts like Never Not Funny and I Love Movies with Doug Benson, as well as the Comedy Death Ray Radio at UCB.

Here's his gig on Between Two Ferns:

I love to watch Don Draper, but I'm glad he doesn't really exist. There's comfort in knowing the man who portrays him embraces humor, stays real with his posse of comedian friends and keeps that twinkle in his eye.

Mad Men premieres on AMC on Sunday, August 16th at 10pm Et.

*Word on Jon Hamm photo above. It was taken by Seth Olenick, photographer and comedy fan. He's been working on a book of photography featuring today's favorite comedians, and kindly allowed me permission to use some photos for some upcoming commentary here. No sharing shots without asking him first. Please? Thank you!

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