Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures
I Love You Man.
Jason Segel (left) and Paul Rudd (right) played two guys who strike up an unlikely friendship in the comedy
Jason Segel (left) and Paul Rudd (right) played two guys who strike up an unlikely friendship in the comedy I Love You Man. Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures
"It's very tricky for men to make friends with strangers," says actor and writer Jason Segel. "I think women have it a lot easier. You guys can, like, walk into a women's restroom and come out with a new best friend. But for men, it's just — it's not the same thing."
Of course in his recent movie I Love You, Man, Segel's character Sydney Fife does do almost that. He strikes up a conversation with Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) at a real-estate open house, placing a bet about — of all things — whether a guy who's touring the property needs to pass gas. And from there, the womanizing Fife and the sensitive, woman-attuned Klaven become best friends, unlikely as it seems.
Segel tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross that unlike some of his buddy-comedy roles — the needy Peter Bretter in Forgetting Sarah Marshall comes to mind — "[Fife's] got this attitude that I don't possess in life, which is this is who I am, take it or leave it. Which is what really drew me to playing that part."
Fresh Air talks to Segel about why the so-called "bromance" movie has recently become so popular, about how he mortified his brother at summer camp and his mother at a movie screening, and about his work on I Love You, Man and other comedies — learning, among other things, the story behind his full-frontal appearance in the opening scenes of Sarah Marshall.
"That was taken from the pages of real life," Segel acknowledges. "I once got dumped while I was naked, but she asked me to put clothes on during this real breakup — my real life breakup."
It was a tough moment, Segel says: "Picking out an outfit for the second half of a breakup is like the hardest outfit you'll ever pick out in your life."
Segel got his start as the teen-drummer wannabe in the TV series Freaks & Geeks and currently co-stars in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
This interview was originally broadcast in March 2009.