Eugene Levy on Why He Always “Felt More Confident Playing Characters That Looked Completely Different”

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“I always found the closer I get to playing a character that looks like me, the less confidence I had going on camera for all those years.” – Eugene Levy

Has there been a better feel-good story about an actor finally getting his due than Eugene Levy in recent years? With Schitt’s Creek, Levy has received critical praise and Emmy nominations for acting after a career where his most visible work has been comic relief roles. Speaking with Gold Derby, Levy spoke about the “persona” he adopted in his acting over the years and how grateful he feels for his Emmy recognition.

On the series, Levy’s character often served as the “straight man” in response to the wacky antics of the other characters. It’s a role that can be very challenging for a comedian, but something that Levy has mastered over the years. He explains:

“I always found the closer I get to playing a character that looks like me, the less confidence I had going on camera for all those years. So that’s why I just played characters that just had a particular look to them because it was more comfortable for me and I felt more confident playing characters that looked completely different. But this was something that was exciting from the get-go to play the character that keeps the storyline going, that keeps everything grounded. I was very excited to do that. And I mean, ain’t that the irony that for the first time in my life, I have two acting nominations, Emmy-wise, for this character. So something kind of clicked there. I got comfortable playing somebody who looks like me (laughs). “

Though Levy previously won two Emmy Awards for writing SCTV, his role on Schitt’s Creek brought him his first-ever major award for acting. Unsurprisingly, Levy was honored for being recognized for his acting after a career of mostly supporting roles. He shares, “I have to say, for acting, I mean, the stuff that I’ve been doing is I spent a career playing the comic relief. I come into projects. I come in for a few scenes. I get my laughs. I don’t have to carry any story, no exposition, and that’s what I’m paid to do, and that was kind of a fun thing for me. I wasn’t really expecting any trophies for that work. Just doing that work was rewarding enough to be able to come in and do that.”

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