"The League's" Paul Scheer Wants You to Stop Taking Pictures of Your Food [Bon Appétit]
Actor, comedian, and writer Paul Scheer is best known as the earnest, weird, often annoying Dr. Andre Nowzick on The League, the show that’s sort of about fantasy football but mostly about a group of friends in their 30s. On the show, he’s the kind of friend who posts, “Good pizza. Good friends. Good times.” on Facebook while they’re all out to eat. Yep, that friend. We’re big fans of the show over here, so, when he was in New York for a few days, we chatted with Scheer about transcendent cookie experiences, Instagram, and why we should stop putting so many whole vegetables in our Bloody Marys.
On The League, Andre opens a wine bar and joins an urban foraging club. How can people be less annoying about food?
Don’t take a picture of everything you eat. It’s like dating someone—you don’t want to tell everyone you love them, only certain people. You have to save that picture for when it’s really worth it. I only Instagrammed a photo of food once, because it [a brisket cheeseburger in Atlanta] was literally the best thing I ever put in my mouth.
We know where we can find Andre: at wine bars, sporting Ed Hardy tees and wacky hats. Where can we find you in L.A.?
I love trying to explore new places, but my day-to-day routine is full of standbys. I’ll hit up The Coffee Bean, and I’m a big food truck person, although I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around eating fish off a food truck yet.
There’s also a sushi restaurant I love, called Saito’s. It’s sandwiched between a doughnut shop and a yoga studio, and it looks like it’s closed 90 percent of the time. But it’s just the best. He looks at you the moment you walk in, judges you, and decides whether you deserve the table or the bar. That’s it. If he doesn’t like you, he won’t talk to you, but I’m lucky I have my own sake cup there.
Food trend you wish would stop already.
I don’t like molecular gastronomy. That foam shit bothers me. I’ve tried it multiple times—and I’m not afraid of textures—but I don’t think there’s a payoff. It’s like when you hear someone talk about how great a movie is and you finally get there, and it’s a letdown. I’m always excited and then it just doesn’t taste good to me.
I’m also not into cupcakes with all the frosting. Chill that. I don’t need an entire frosting tier.
Weirdest thing in your fridge right now.
An empty jar of olive juice. I’ve gotten into making martinis, so whenever I’m done with the olives, I just keep the juice. Nick Kroll actually showed me a dirty martini with a splash of Tabasco, and it is so good.
One food you’re powerless around.
Cookies, but I’m very particular about them. There’s a delivery service in L.A. called Snookies Cookies that’s pretty fucking delicious. At ink.sack, they also have a good cookie. And then there’s this place called Cookie Connection that’s pretty good. But the new cookie champion, in my opinion, is Sprinkles.
What’s your transcendent cookie experience? Crispy or soft?
I want a little bit of middle ground: hard bottom, soft top, not too flat. I don’t like the artisan cookie. I like a simple cookie.
Ketchup or mayo?
If this were ketchup versus mustard, I’d have a clear answer: mustard, 100 percent. For ketchup and mayo, I’m making this purely utilitarian: Mayo will bring more joy to my life than ketchup. If I’m on a deserted island, mayo will pay off in a bigger way.
Fried egg, omelet, or scrambled?
Omelets are just never what I want them to be. I’ve been doing a lot of scrambled—little cheese, a little avocado on the side, delicious. If I had my druthers, what I’d really have is sunnyside up over chilaquiles. Fried egg over Japanese rice is delicious too.
Bloody Mary or mimosa?
Bloody Mary, 100 percent. But let’s get it clear what that means. Let’s not shove so much in the glass. I don’t want to eat a garden. I want something a little spicy, with a little tang and kick. I’ve actually perfected my own. I started with the base of an Emeril recipe, but I have taken it from him and made it my own.
What kicks it up a notch?
Mine has Tabasco, Worchestershire sauce, fresh horseradish, cilantro, cayenne, and some kosher salt. Sometimes I put real Roma tomatoes in there. I also let it sit for 12 hours. But that’s not all of it, because I can’t give it all away.
Best midnight snack?
I’m a big scavenger. I have a Ziploc bag full of different chocolate bars that I dig into. There’s also an ice cream I love out of Santa Barbara, called McConnell’s; it’s my favorite ice cream. Sometimes I go really basic and do simple vanilla bean.
What about on set?
On set, my go-tos are Red Vines, a handful of peanut M&Ms, and spa water—or at least that’s what I call it. When I’m feeling tired, I house through Sun Chips. Midnight on set, I pop open Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips, and I’m like, let’s go.