If the likes of Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow, Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider have taught us anything, it’s that relationships in Hollywood is the one currency you can really bank on. Just ask Joshua Malina, who can attribute his decades long career on such beloved shows like SPORTS NIGHT, THE WEST WING and more recently USA’s IN PLAIN SIGHT on one very important person.
“Once I got over my professional ambition to be a Rabbi, it was clear from a very young age that I wanted to be an actor. And I think it was at such a young age that my parents were fairly reconciled to it,” explained Malina during a recent one-on-one with the TV Addict. “Of course, being the good Jewish mother that she is, her big thing was, ‘If that’s what you wanted to do, go for it. But go to College, please go to College, so you have something to fall back on’.”
Thus, after graduating with a B.A. in Theatre Studies, (Joked the actor, “I’m not sure how I’m supposed to fall back on that, but apparently that is my cushion.”) his mother had one more teensy little bit of advice. A bit of advice that would fortuitously change the course of Malina’s life forever.
“Just to make it clear that I’ve never gotten a job on merit, my relationship with Aaron Sorkin goes back to a little Jewish Geography. I grew up in New Rochelle New York and he in Scarsdale where he actually went to high school with my cousin so I knew Aaron a little bit as a young kid. So when I got out of college I sort of tracked him down on my mother’s recommendation, that being, a Jewish mother’s instinct to tell you, ‘Why don’t you call Aaron Sorkin, I think he’s in New York too, and he’s Jewish’!” explained the good-natured actor. “We actually became really good friends across his poker table and then somewhere in there — I don’t think I knew at the time — he was writing the play [A Few Good Men], and he sort of tossed it out, arranging for me to audition and no doubt largely arranging for me to be cast.”
What followed, was what the actor himself characterized as a “a couple of decades of serial employment.” Raising the question, does it bother Malina that many outside of Hollywood have the distinct impression that his career is as a direct result of his more famous friend?
“The truth is, it would be entirely accurate to say that I got jobs because of Aaron Sorkin and I have no sensitivity about that. There is a tremendous amount of luck involved in a profession like acting, directing or writing and relationship are everything,” said Malina. “I like to think that the fact that I’ve continually managed to work for him and in other capacities meant that somewhere along the way I’ve sort of proved myself. But I do think if you took my relationship with him and his involvement in my career away I might not be an actor right now. Relationships in Hollywood are incredibly important and I’ve had this really great fortune to get to know this incredibly talented writer who is an equally loyal friend.”
In other words, when it comes to a making a career in this business we affectionally refer to as show, it’s not what you know, but rather who you know. An old axiom that Malina would put to good use when it came time to call upon the who’s who of Hollywood for his latest endeavour, BACKWASH.
Written and directed by Malina and Danny Leiner (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Dude Where’s My Car) BACKWASH is a hilariously original comedy web series that tells the tale of three slacker friends and the adventures that ensue after they hit the road in an ice cream truck after one of them inadvertently robs 100k from a bank armed only with a large salami. What’s more, joining Malina and co-stars Michael Ian Black and Michael Panes along for the ride are a bevy of F.O.M [Friends of Malina] including Jon Hamm, John Stamos, Sarah Silverman, John Cho, Allison Janney, Hank Azaria, Michael Vartan, Steven Weber, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Ken Marino, Dulé Hill, Fred Willard, and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
“It would be financially prohibitive to put together the cast I put together if BACKWASH were a TV Show,” said Malina. “But on the web — where I got them all for one-hundred dollars a day — it’s this fun crazy thing that people will come and do.”
The first 3 of 13 episodes of BACKWASH, each 7-9 minutes long, debuted on November 15, 2010 on Crackle.com. Following the premiere, a new episode will air every Monday and Wednesday through December 20, 2010.