Watch an actor grow up on TV and you feel a strong sense of connection. Martin Starr has matured before our very eyes on comedy darlings like Freaks and Geeks, Party Down, NTSF:SD:SUV:: and Silicon Valley. But this actor is more than the sum of his roles. His talents include producing and writing for the screen, directing for theater and dropping rhymes with a bluegrass band. Martin Starr visited our offices recently to demonstrate how to be a Buddhist disco pimp and reminisce about getting drunk to classic Star Trek.
HUSTLER: There’s a wonderful episode of Freaks and Geeks in which your character, Bill Haverchuck, gets drunk and gives Sam advice. Were you able to pull anything from your own experience in delivering that performance?
MARTIN STARR: No. The first time I got drunk, a bunch of my mom’s friends came over for New Year’s, and they were all going out. They literally just left me—it seems like it could’ve been an episode of Freaks and Geeks—they left me to just sit and watch Star Trek by myself, and she gave me a bottle of champagne. I just drank champagne and watched the first-generation Star Trek on Nick at Nite. It was my favorite; it was the shit. I watched that all night. That was right around the time I was heavy into Sliders too. I must’ve been 13 or 14, and I had my own bottle of shitty, shitty, shitty champagne.
When they came home, did they find you all blotto?
I was definitely affected. I remember them laughing! It was like a big thing. It’s funny how big a thing it is to an adult, because they recognize the change that’s about to occur in someone who’s experiencing drinking for the first time, but I was like, “What?! What’s the fuss, man? I just wanna try it out! Don’t treat me like I’m different! I just wanna try what you guys are trying.” I wanted to feel like an adult, so I did it.
Would you ever think about some kind of a Freaks and Geeks reunion?