When it comes to doing Random Roles interviews, The A.V. Club strives to mix up the familiar and the obscure, often in the hopes that alternating between the obvious and the unexpected will result in anecdotes that have heretofore gone undocumented.
In the case of our upcoming Random Roles with Paget Brewster, the interview—which will run in the last week of September, along with Brewster’s new Fox series, Grandfathered—ultimately resulted in the unearthing of a clip that had never before made its way to YouTube…and it’s a doozy.
In the midst of discussing the earliest days of her career with the A.V. Club, Brewster detailed her first on-camera gig of note—The Paget Show, a talk show which aired for 65 episodes on San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX—and, somewhat more offhandedly, also noted that she’d done a cable access sketch comedy show called Strange America right around the same time. When politely pressed for more details on the latter series, she explained:
Strange America was just kind of a sketch comedy show that these two guys—my partner was Kris, I can’t remember the other guy’s name, but he was from Connecticut, and they were both Sun Systems software guys. They installed Sun computer systems and made an inordinate amount of money, and they wanted to do a TV show. That’s what they really wanted to do. So that guy Kris hung out at my bar and asked me… He left town to go to a Sun Microsystems conference, and he said, “I’m going to give you my video camera.” [Laughs.] I mean, this was, like, 1993. But he gave me his video camera, and for the three or four days while he was gone, I did sketches. And when he came back from this conference, we did, I don’t know, 10 or 11 episodes? But you can’t find them.
Brewster was right: You can’t find them. But it turns out that if you Google enough combinations of the words in the preceding paragraph, you can eventually find the names of both of the guys behind Strange America—Kris Skrinak and Dave Ridley—and, with a little more digging, you can find contact information for one of them (Skrinak) and ask if there’s any chance that he might have any Paget-centric footage in his vault.
Still, no matter how tightly your fingers may be crossed when you ask that question and hit “send,” you don’t expect the response to begin with the four bullet points that Skrinak’s did:
- “I love AV Club.”
- “I love Paget.”
- “I have awesome footage.”
- “You’re awesome for finding and reaching out to me.”
A few days later, some of that footage did indeed materialize on YouTube, and as adjectives go, “awesome” hardly does it justice.
Needless to say, the A.V. Club contacted Brewster to warn her of the possibility of impending embarrassment, but in addition to being “not just impressed, (but) amazed” at our having successfully hunted down her former Strange America cohort, she added, “I want those clips!”
While such a statement could easily be mistaken for a super-villain-esque demand, it turned out to be one of legitimate enthusiasm on Brewster’s part: Upon viewing the clip, she replied, “I barely remember this, so it’s both better and worse than I thought,” and then asked, “Is it awful that I think this is so mortifying yet hilarious that I want to tweet it?”
So she did, and with our blessing: