Three Great Things: David Krumholtz

The fan-favorite actor, who's currently playing the title role in the new comedy Lousy Carter, shares a trio of essentials.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the current release in theaters and on digital of the new comedy Lousy Carter, starring David Krumholtz, Olivia Thirlby, Martin Starr and Stephen Root, fan favorite Krumholtz shared some of the things he is most passionate about. — N.D.

Jon Stewart
I love Jon Stewart, because he’s a voice of moderate sanity in an environment of divided insanity. I think he is very brave and intrepid, and without him there’s a lack of perspective. Thank God his perspective exists and that he’s brave enough to express it. I wish he would run for president; he would be ideal, but they would kill him or hurt him in some way. But I appreciate that he exists, because I think everyone’s a moderate in America, unless they’re cuckoo. Everyone is either a liberal-leaning moderate or a conservative-leaning moderate, but the big lie being told in this country by the media is that the polar opposites are all that exist. It’s just not true, though. The voices of moderate, political discourse are being actively muted, but they can’t mute Jon Stewart, because he makes them money. I really appreciate his bravery.

In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe Trump wouldn’t have become the President of the United States had Jon Stewart been part of the 2016 election cycle. I think he would have provided a sensibility that might have swayed some people in a real way.

I don’t think intellect or individualism are really valued in conversation much anymore. For me, I have my own views and I express them, but I don’t try to change anyone’s mind. It’s like an alcoholic trying to save another alcoholic: you don’t tell them to stop drinking, you just tell them how you yourself stopped drinking. I feel that as much as I can put my perspective out in the world, and have Jon Stewart do the same, maybe we may change a few minds.

Wu Tang Clan
I have been obsessed from moment one. “Changed” is a better word. I’ve been listening to Wu for more than 30 years. From the day of its inception. I have a Wu Tang tattoo on my upper right shoulder. They are always with me. They will always be with me. They are my greatest inspiration. The music, first and foremost, but the character development.

Make no mistake, nearly everything that came after in hip hop is derivative of Wu Tang’s music. They set the bar so high, they created timeless hip hop. I read an article that once said, “There’s Wu Tang, and then there’s hip hop.” I agree. I have every album. Their group efforts, their solo albums, their disciple’s albums, their books, their teachings … everything. When I shoot a scene, I listen to them for inspiration, a steady practice for more than 30 years.

Over that time, I have been lucky to meet them, and they came to know me. I consider them my friends … scratch that, my family. I have met them and broken bread with them countless times. The RZA attended my 30th birthday party at my house. I wrote and sold a pilot script for the FX Network with the GZA called I Gotcha Back, loosely based on his life. I worked with Method Man on HBO’s The Deuce.

Ten men, nine original members, 36 chambers of heart and soul and intellect and innovation. Nothing inspires me more. I love all genres of music, but I live through the revolutionary spirit of the Wu Tang Clan. I’m their biggest fan. Peace to the gods and of course, RIP Ason Unique.

Tree of Life
I love the film Tree of Life, by Terrence Malick. I think in many ways, it’s his best film. Terrence Malick tells stories from the perspective of a God watching over us, and in that way, there’s a divine comedy and a divine drama to all of his work. Tree of Life is a film about the innocence of youth and a film about the loss of youth. A film about tragedy, about faith and eventually, a film that exists almost as a prayer, more than a film. I think it transcends cinema, and it’s one of the best films ever made. I absolutely love it. The performances from Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain are very strong, and I just think it’s a very powerful example of what cinema can do, if it’s done correctly – that you can tell the story of the whole world and the whole human species really simply. In terms of life and death and wanting to play God.

Tree of Life is about our instinct to play God, but ultimately our frailty in doing so. I think it says it all. There’s a moment in the movie where a dinosaur has a choice to kill another injured dinosaur, and we see that there’s a razor’s edge between life and death. It’s a thin line, and we see that life and death are really just one thing – death is part of life and life is a part of death – and that accepting death, and accepting the nature of life and death as one thing is the key to enlightenment. Tree of Life is about enlightenment, and it’s truly enlightening.

I remember I first saw Tree of Life in a theater here in Los Angeles with my wife. I came out, with my mind blown and in tears, and I ran into a friend of mine who had hated the film. It gave me great solace knowing that I loved it, that it translated to me, because I knew not everyone would appreciate it. It’s a real empath’s movie. If you’re not an empath, it may not work for you, but for me, it’s everything.

David Krumholtz is currently starring as the title character in writer-director Bob Byington’s new comedy Lousy Carter, opposite Martin Starr, Olivia Thirlby and Stephen Root. He played Charlie Eppes in the CBS drama series Numb3rs and has beloved roles in the Harold & Kumar and The Santa Clause film franchises. He played the grumpy group therapy leader in Byington’s Frances Ferguson, and also stars in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.