Actor David Krumholtz is still known to many people as Charlie Eppes, the FBI-advising mathematical genius he played for six years on CBS’ NUMB3RS. The New York-born actor then took a turn playing one of the managers in NBC’s short-lived THE PLAYBOY CLUB last year.
Now Krumholtz is back on CBS in the half-hour comedy PARTNERS, created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnik (of WILL AND GRACE), which is based on the writers’ lifelong friendship. In PARTNERS, Krumholtz plays Joe, a heterosexual architect who is partnered at work with his gay lifelong best friend Louis, played by Michael Urie, and partnered in life by fiancée Ali, played by Sophia Bush. Louis’ life partner is played by Brandon Routh. Krumholtz also appeared in the first season of THE NEWSROOM and reprised his role as Goldstein in A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS
Between doing THE PLAYBOY CLUB and PARTNERS, Krumholtz was diagnosed with and treated for cancer. “I’ve been cancer-free for probably about [eight] months now,” he replies when asked about his health, “so happy, cancer-free.”
ASSIGNMENT X: Did PARTNERS hold for you while you were undergoing treatment, or did you come into the project afterwards?
DAVID KRUMHOLTZ: I came into it after. My treatment was in December and I was pretty much cancer-free after January. This didn’t happen until late February, so I put it behind me at that point.
AX: Did that experience give you any different feelings about your work?
KRUMHOLTZ: No. Perhaps I became a little less hard on myself. I think part of what drives me is that I’m very hard on myself, and maybe I’m a little less now. Life is too short to give yourself shit the whole time for every little thing, especially when people love you. So it’s time to sort of wake up and realize that people love you.
AX: You were very beloved as Charlie. Were you relieved at the end of six years of playing one of the nicest people on Earth to put down the burden of having to be vulnerable and optimistic and just be able to growl a little in THE PLAYBOY CLUB and now in PARTNERS?
KRUMHOLTZ: “Relieved” is probably the wrong word, because I could have done that show [NUMB3RS] forever. It’s a wonderful thing to play a brilliant hero. But [PLAYBOY CLUB’s character] was a guy who I’m more accustomed to being, this sort of grouchy, curmudgeony, tough sort of guy, and [unlike Charlie on NUMB3RS] I’m not a genius.
AX: Do you miss NUMB3RS at all?
KRUMHOLTZ: I do miss NUMB3RS, yes. Very much so. It’s interesting. You do a series and it’s an emotional roller-coaster. There are a lot of ups and downs. And then it’s over, and it feels like it went by in a flash, and there are moments where I still long to be on that set, very much, and play that guy. But all good things must come to an end.
AX: When did you see the writing on the wall with THE PLAYBOY CLUB, that it wasn’t going to last?
KRUMHOLTZ: Early. Very early, a lot earlier than a lot of other people. Because THE PLAYBOY CLUB was my seventh series to go to series – I’ve done seventeen pilots. That was my seventh series – this [PARTNERS] is my eighth. So [on PLAYBOY CLUB], I was kind of the veteran, which was a very weird thing to be at the age of thirty-three – I wasn’t expecting to be the veteran on the set. I would venture to say that I was the most experienced person on that entire set – crew, cast, whatever – and I knew very early on that we were spending way too much money on the show, and that the show was going over budget, and that it wasn’t a surefire hit, and the second it didn’t do well, if it didn’t do well, the network was going to pull the plug, because the studio couldn’t afford it. It was too expensive, and as we got closer to the premiere, I just hoped and prayed that as many people would watch it as I thought would, and unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and I knew as soon as we premiered that it wasn’t going to last very long. I softened the blow on myself by sort of preparing for it.
AX: What were you doing when you found out the PARTNERS pilot had been picked up?
KRUMHOLTZ: Pilot presentation week, or the upfronts, it’s always my birthday week. So prior to that week, I was probably freaking out pretty hard. I was working. I did a couple of episodes of THE NEWSROOM on HBO – [NEWSROOM creator] Aaron Sorkin is amazing. And then I was down in New Orleans, where I was [during the upfronts], filming this movie called THE END OF THE WORLD. It’s a comedy – it comes out next year with everyone in the world. It’s really great.
AX: How was it going into the comedy of PARTNERS after doing NUMB3RS and PLAYBOY CLUB?
KRUMHOLTZ: It’s really great to be doing comedy at all, just getting back into doing that. For me, it’s always been about proving I can do something that people have forgotten I’ve done, or that people thought I couldn’t do. You’d be surprised how many people are surprised that I’m doing a comedy. It’s really what I was doing for most of my career prior to NUMB3RS, so it’s great to be getting back, and hopefully people find me funny. And working with [director/producer] Jim Burrows, it’s a perfect marriage, it really is.
AX: PARTNERS creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnik have said your character and Michael Urie’s characters are based on them. How much are you playing David Kohan, if at all, or do you just go with what comes out of the writers’ room.
KRUMHOLTZ: I play it much as they write it, but I think originally, when I first read this pilot, I thought, “Boy, the character’s so straight man-ish, he’s so sarcastic and Bea Arthur-ish,” just that kind of dry humor, and then I met [Kohan] and I saw that he was a little jumpier than that. So I kind of injected a bit of that into the character and I think it works.
AX: In your own life, would you up with somebody who pulls the kind of stuff that Michael Urie’s character Louis pulls?
KRUMHOLTZ: I think I would if I loved him as deeply as [Joe loves Louis]. Look, I have some friends that are pains in the asses [laughs]. I have some seriously annoying friends. And I put up with them. I’m a good friend, as is David [Kohan]. But Max [Mutchnik] is a great friend, too. And Michael’s character will reciprocate. And he does in the pilot. He makes it up – he figures out how to fix it.
AX: How is it playing the different onscreen partnerships with Michael Urie and Sophia Bush?
KRUMHOLTZ: Well, Michael is extremely funny and he and I are kindred spirits in a way. We have a very similar sense of humor, very similar likes, we have a lot in common. Sophia is uber-hot and totally intimidating and I’m always worried I have a piece of fuzz in my hair, or that I’ve bitten my nails down too much and she’s noticed and she’s grossed out by me. So in different ways, they’re perfect for me.
Actually, my wife had met Sophia a few months prior at a charity event that I hosted called Hilarity for Charity, which is for the Alzheimer’s Association. Sophia doesn’t miss a single charity event. So they met and she was totally friends with her. My wife is pretty hot, too. She wasn’t threatened.
AX: You do a lot of charity work via Twitter …
KRUMHOLTZ: Well, honestly, I feel guilty about a lot of the stuff I Tweet, because a lot of it’s dirty [laughs], and so I started realizing, “Boy, I gotta make sure people know that I’m a good person.” Plus, frankly, after my cancer diagnosis, everything just went into perspective for me, and those kinds of things sort of take you from this place in your life to a whole other place, and the place it took me to was a more compassionate place, and I just thought, “Oh! Well, I have all these people who listen to me and I might as well try to raise some money.” The good thing is, I don’t put the burden on my followers to donate money, I tell them for every question they ask me, I donate a certain amount of money. And also, it’s great for me. I end up feeling great at the end of it, because I give to some of my favorite charities.
AX: You mentioned you’re in the movie THE END OF THE WORLD. What is that?
KRUMHOLTZ: It’s got one of the most brilliant comedic casts. It’s like IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. It’s kind of this generation’s take on that, where it’s just everyone in comedy is in it, or most people that you care about, at least, and the cool thing about it is that everyone plays themselves.. So I can’t give you much more information than that. It’s top secret, who lives, who dies, but you’ll enjoy it.
AX: To ask about HAROLD & KUMAR for a moment, you’ve been in all three of the movies. Did you have to deal with the 3D apparatus this time around, the additional cameras and so on?
KRUMHOLTZ: Oh, yeah. It’s cool. It’s not really that different [than non-3D]. It’s the same thing, almost. The set-ups take a little longer, that’s all. But as an actor, it really doesn’t interfere – you don’t have to adjust [the performance] for it. Plus, it wasn’t like I was doing major special effects work. I was just sitting at a table.
AX: Are you hoping there will be another HAROLD & KUMAR movie?
KRUMHOLTZ: I’m not sure if the trilogy’s done as film, but they are making a cartoon, I believe for Adult Swim – there is a HAROLD & KUMAR cartoon in the works, and I know that I’m going to be reprising my role, my voice as Goldstein. It’s going to be pretty cool.
AX: And do people still come up to you about playing Mr. Universe in Joss Whedon’s SERENITY?
KRUMHOLTZ: Yes, all the time. I didn’t realize that would happen, but yes, all the time, years later.
AX: Is there anything particular you’d like people to know about your work on PARTNERS?
KRUMHOLTZ: Yeah. it’s just a different side of myself and it’s fun.
Related: Exclusive Photos of the cast and crew of PARTNERS at CBS night of the PALEYFEST: FALL TV PARTIES
Related: TV Review of PARTNERS – Season 1 – “Pilot” – Series Premiere
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Article:Interview with PARTNERS star David Krumholtz