Jon Hamm in Details Magazine October 2010

JON HAMM: THE LAST ALPHA MALE

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Hamm grew up in St Louis. His parents split when he was 2, and his mother raised him. Weekends were spent with his father, a larger-than-life character in the trucking industry who'd take him along to bars and clubs after work. Then, when Hamm was 10, everything unraveled horribly: His mother died of cancer. He was sent to live with his grandmother. His father died his sophomore year in college.

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Hamm's high-school girlfriend's older brother's college roommate was an eager actor named Paul Rudd. Hamm fell in with Rudd and his gang and visited them in L.A. in 1992, crashing in their "shit-hole North Hollywood apartment" during the spring break of his junior year. He came out for good in 1995. "At a certain point," he says, "I figured I was way too far down the line for a normal career. I was waiting tables with a friend who had been a business major, and he really wanted to get this job selling copiers. I just thought, 'Really? You really want that job?' My dad was a salesman. He could sell anything to anybody. I was like, 'Nah, not for me.'" Hamm arrived in Hollywood just in time for the reign of the CW and the WB. "If you didn't look 18 years old, you weren't working. And I didn't look 18 years old when I was 18. I always looked 10 years older than I was."

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"If this show had been on any of the major networks," Hamm says, "I never would have been cast, ever, period, done, never, no way. They would want someone like Rob Lowe who's got a proven track record. I would've gotten all the way to the end . . . and then I wouldn't get cast."

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"It's funny," Hamm says. "You realize certain people didn't know I was funny because they only saw me through Mad Men—or only knew me as me and never thought I could do Mad Men. Sarah Silverman said, 'Hammy, you're good. I had no idea!'" Silverman met Hamm in 2000 through a group of friends, including Rudd, Adam Scott, and Jon Schroeder, who all played poker together. "When I tuned in to Mad Men, I couldn't believe he was this smoldering, brooding sexual man," Silverman says. "I was like, 'Oh my God—that's Hamm!' To me, he's just this super-silly idiot.

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I ask him if he feels lucky that his overnight success took as long as it did. "Absolutely, I don't know how the Twilight kids or Miley Cyrus or whoever handle it. You fuck up, make one bad decision, and people in Thailand Twitter about it."

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Hamm's mostly left alone, he says: "I'm old, I'm boring. I usually just duck the paparazzi. It's literally someone waiting for you to pick your nose or scratch yourself. I'm sorry, I scratched my balls—who doesn't do that? You're really going to run that story? What the fuck?! Everyone has picked their nose at one point in their life too."

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The subject of the next Mad Men hiatus comes up, and Hamm seems earnestly nonchalant. "I don't know what the alternative is," he says. "I don't have this huge, overarching plan. I don't know what I'm gonna wake up and feel like doing tomorrow, let alone five years down the line.

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"I think that's enabled me to get to where I am. I certainly go after what I want. But I just have detached amusement about a lot of it. Because it's silly. This job is ridiculous. There's a line from 30 Rock that Tracy Morgan says that makes me laugh out loud: 'I remember that movie—I got paid one million teacher salaries.' It is what it is."

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