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NPR Arts & Life

Sunset Boulevard

Jeff Garlin and Linda Cardellini on Ask Me Another.
Jeff Garlin and Linda Cardellini on Ask Me Another.

Comedian and actor Jeff Garlin managed to cash in on the perks of being rich and famous before he was either rich or famous. As a young stand-up comic in Chicago, Garlin was approached after a set by some frantic producers of The Oprah Winfrey Show, looking for someone to tape an appearance the next day. Sensing their desperation, Garlin decided to make some demands. "I go, 'Okay. As long as I get my own dressing room and I want it filled with bagels and donuts,'" he told host Ophira Eisenberg. The bagels and donuts were very memorable, even if his jokes were not. "So the next day I was like bombarded by people, 'Ah, we saw you on the show!' But no one said, 'You were so funny,' or 'You were great,' 'cause I didn't know what I was doing." Three decades later, Garlin seems to very much know what he's doing, with starring roles in The Goldbergs, Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie,and the newly-revived Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Linda Cardellini's early on-screen appearance also came with a material perk. A lifelong game show fan, she appeared as a contestant on The Price Is Right and won a gas fireplace. As an actor, Cardellini made a name for herself as teenager Lindsay Weir on the cult TV series Freaks and Geeks. Since then, she's played Sylvia Rosen on Mad Men, and Meg Rayburn on Bloodline. Cardellini has noticed that most of her characters— including these three — eventually run away, go missing, or disappear. "I think everybody else is trying to get rid of me," she said. "Everyone's just writing me out."

Garlin and Cardellini put their dramatic acting chops to the test with a quiz based on the iconic Sunset Boulevardline, "All right, Mr. DeMille. I'm ready for my close-up." For each clue, our celebri-testants had to replace "close-up" with something else that ends with "up."

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