As I explain in episode 4 of Drunk Ex-Pastors below, it is my contention that only around 10% of household-name “actors” are actually talented at acting, while the rest just aren’t (among this other 90% are names like Brad Pitt, Diane Keaton, George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, etc.).
Now don’t get me wrong, these people can act, kind of. But they are not more talented at acting than most people are at doing whatever they like doing in their spare time (unlike professional athletes like Kobe Bryant or Lionel Messi, who excel at what they do on a level far beyond 99% of most people do at what they’re passionate about).
Put another way, I, Jason Stellman, am about as good at public speaking or writing books as Jason Bateman is at acting. Shocking, I know.
So why do most people know the names of the “actors” I list above? First and most obviously, Americans value movies and television more highly than just about anything else besides sports, so it stands to reason that those who act consistently will eventually become relatively well-known.
But why these people in particular? I think the answer is pretty clear: the people I mention above are either well-connected, abnormally attractive, some combination of the two, or wealthy in admirers. Take Diane Keaton. Why do we know her name? Because her acting chops are so disarming and tears-inducing? Umm, have you seen films like The Godfather or Annie Hall ? You could throw any girl off the street in front of that camera and get a similar performance. But she knew Woody Allen, and Woody Allen dug her.
Both Brad Pitt and George Clooney were simply good-looking when they were young, so some smart person decided to spring for $50 worth of acting classes, which was good enough to land them their modest roles early on so that someone else would eventually cast them in bigger ones.
The actors we should really respect are the ones who are not only better than average at their craft, but who do it without the benefit of looking even half-decent. So big-ups to you, Steve Buscemi, you’re like the Spud Webb of acting, for you have climbed a very competitive mountain while being shackled with a crippling disability in the looks department.
And this chick from 30 Rock ? Respeck. . . .