WATCH: Michael McKean's words of wisdom for actors: "If it's not fun, do something else"

Salon talks to the "Better Call Saul" star about what he's learned over 30 years in the film and theater business

Published April 19, 2017 2:00AM (EDT)

This Salon Talks video was produced by Kevin Carlin

Michael McKean — actor, writer, comedian and musician made famous by the TV show "Laverne & Shirley" and the film "This is Spinal Tap" — stopped by Salon recently to discuss the new season of his acclaimed AMC drama "Better Call Saul." He also shared stories about the acting trade and advice he's learned over the years.

"Be as honest as you can be with yourself, and but also know that other people make mistakes, too," he said.

McKean learned early on that dealing with rejection is part of being an actor. During casting for one of his friend Christopher Guest's films, McKean volunteered to read lines opposite the actors who came in to audition.

"I saw tons of people . . . be brilliant and be amazing, and they didn’t get the part because they weren’t the right guy or the right woman," he said. "At the end of that experience, I learned that sometimes when I don’t get the part, I just wasn’t the right guy."

"It’s very liberating to know that," he added. "Don't give up. But if you stop loving it, maybe think about doing something else."

He also learned some fundamental lessons from Olympia Dukakis, with whom he studied.

“Remember that the reason you wanted to do this was that it looked like fun, and if it’s not fun, you shouldn’t be doing it," she told him.

Acting, he added, isn't just about making money. "The dream is to do something you really, really love. You make other people laugh, you make them healthier anyway, [and] you’re already doing God’s work.”

By Alli Joseph

Alli Joseph is a writer/producer and family historian; a Native New Yorker, she is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

MORE FROM Alli Joseph

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Better Call Saul Christopher Guest Comedy Film Michael Mckean Original Video This Is Spinal Tap Tv