The Way We Get By: Richard Kind on Quarantine Isolation and Babylon Berlin

The character actor, currently starring in The Social Ones, wants you to watch the epic German TV show — and then go vote in November.

I live in New York, but I am now down at the Jersey Shore in Margate, New Jersey. This is a place that we rarely came to – I share it with my sister and bought it with her in mind – but it became our savior when coronavirus hit. What is wonderful about New York – being on top of each other, bumping into each other, having to stand next to each other – suddenly became something that could kill you. I hope we get back to that sooner rather than later.

COVID-19 became very real for me in early March. Around March 3, I took a flight to L.A. for a golf charity benefit and was there for about three days with over 2,000 people, shaking hands and fist-bumping and hugging people. Then I went to work on The Goldbergs and was on set for about three or four days. By then, with everything that was being reported, it started to get a little scary, so I took the red-eye home a couple days early. I sent my family away and I stayed in our apartment. My wife and our two daughters, who are 18 and 15, came to Margate, and my son went to Southampton, where he could be with his best friend. We didn’t know it all would go on this long. I stayed for five weeks inside the apartment, all alone. Happily, we’ve all been together in Margate since May 9, which I remember because that was my wife’s birthday, and it was Mothers Day too.

Richard Kind in The Social Ones.

Being alone in my apartment for five weeks wasn’t so bad because I caught up on things. I did a lot of reading. Honestly, if my kids and wife had been there too, I would’ve driven everybody nuts, because I’m loud and I’m a huge presence. Everybody knows when I’m in the room. Now that we know what our responsibilities are about quarantine and solitude, the kids are able to accept it more. And there are silver linings being here all together. We go on vacations, of course, but during quarantine I’ve gotten to spend truly intimate time with my family. My daughters can’t go out with their friends, so they’re home and we all have dinner together.

I’ve also been talking to friends a lot. I don’t like texting, but I love talking on the phone; it’s how I grew up. In my new movie The Social Ones, my character is very tech savvy, but in reality I am tech illiterate. I never knew Zoom existed before, but it’s a wonderful tool and I enjoy using it. I have many friends in L.A. and this is a way that we can all get together and talk at the same time. Before all this, I would go out to dinner in L.A. about every month or month and a half to a big dinner called CADS: Character Actors Dining Society. I would spend time with these guys who are funnier than I am, smarter than I am, more successful than I am, and to be around them is wonderful. I have a group of friends in L.A. that I seldom get to see, and now we’re on a thread every morning. I’ve also been playing poker online with some guys who I play with in New York. The world remains a smaller place than we thought, because of the internet and now because of this virus. It doesn’t matter what language we speak, what color we are, we all catch the same virus.

Caro Cult and Liv Lisa Fries in Babylon Berlin.

For people who are quarantined, I would highly recommend a Netflix show called Babylon Berlin. It’s really quite something, but you should give yourself three or four episodes to get into it. We’re begging people to go out and vote in the election this year – it’s something that’s very important. Babylon Berlin is a TV show about people who care about the world and are willing to go out and protest and have strong feelings and talk about them. It’s set in Germany during 1929; it’s about communists and socialists rather than Hitler, but it’s what happened in Germany right before Hitler came to power. It’s very, very good, and it’s all about corruption. The second-to-last episode of Season 2 is perhaps the best hour of entertainment – not just TV – I’ve ever seen. It takes your breath away, it’s so brilliant. It’s not an easy show, but it’s a very fulfilling watch.

Richard Kind currently stars as The Architect in The Social Ones, which is available now on all digital and cable platforms. He is an accomplished stage, screen and television performer who continues to redefine the term character actor. Richard appeared in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Argo for director Ben Affleck and starred as ‘Bing Bong’ in the hit Pixar film Inside Out. He played a memorable, heartbreaking role in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, was Uncle Arthur in the critically acclaimed A Serious Man written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and worked a second time with the Coen brothers in Suburbicon, directed by George Clooney. Additional film credits include a two time collaboration with Tom McCarthy in The Visitor and The Station Agent. He has voiced characters in A Bug’s Life, Cars and the television series Summer Camp Island, Big Mouth and American Dad. Apart from his infamous roles on Spin City and Mad About You, Richard was also a series regular on the acclaimed HBO series Luck as well as three seasons on Amazon’s Red Oaks. This season, Richard will reprise his recurring role as Cousin Andy on Curb Your Enthusiasm and most recently he completed shooting a season of Brockmire opposite Hank Azaria.