I started [acting] when I was a young teenager. My mom encouraged me to go to read for some stuff in Toronto, and I ended up doing a couple of crappy commercials and was like, "Oh, yeah, I'd like to do this!" And then kind of put it on the back burner, and then pursued it a little bit when I was in Toronto, like studying a little bit here and there. And I decided to move to New York and go to Lee Strasberg. And I kind of, for the first time ever, really felt like I was doing something that I enjoyed, and that I felt like I could conceivably be good at. And when those two things happen, [ironically] you're off to the races.
I did terrible little plays in New York that we put up ourselves. My first movie was this independent that I did on the Erie Canal in 1995, called Erie, that I don't know if you could even get, actually with Felicity Huffman. And then from that I did this film that was eventually called The Broken Giant later that fall. And then I kind of started getting into doing pilots.
I guess my first pilot was February of '96. I did a pilot with Kevin Pollak and his wife, Lucy Webb, for CBS, that was not picked up. And then I kind of started being more in the process. I kind of hung around, looking for work. Didn't do a pilot the next year, but in that time did this film called Southie that we shot in south Boston with these guys that I knew. But really was more focused on doing dramatic stuff. And then every year or couple of years doing, you know [with forced cheer] sitcom pilot!
I did The Mike O'Malley Show. It aired twice. You know, that was a really tough experience because Mike is a really good friend of mine, and was before that, and we were all friends, everybody on the show. It was Mike, and it was me, and Mike's sister Kerry, and Missy Yager, who I was then dating...well, we had just broken up; we had lived together for four years and we did that. And this guy Mark Rosenthal and Kate Walsh. And we were all friends, and we were all excited at the opportunity to do this show together. We were kind of shocked, and we thought, "God, this is so cool, that the six of us are doing this show!" And then we realized that they never intended to follow it or support us. You know, I think that show got a really bad rap, but by the end -- by the sixth or seventh episode or whatever it was that we made -- we were starting to find a voice on that show, and we were very disappointed. I took the disappointment of that really to heart, and the year after that got cancelled was probably the darkest year of my life. It was tough. It was a really tough time for me. And I didn't get a lot of work. And I didn't do anything, I just kind of drank those years away.
The summer of 2000 was a real turning point for me, and I kind of got my act together and laid the bottle down and got to work, and really last five years have been the greatest five years of my life, personally and then -- as a result of that, I guess -- professionally. Six months after that, I met Amy [Poehler]. We had sort of met before, but we started dating. From the moment we met, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It was great. We didn't know what we were doing, and all of a sudden she got SNL, so we kind of decided that I guess I had to move to New York; otherwise it wasn't going to work out. So I moved back to New York and it was the greatest. It was great. Probably the best thing that's ever happened to me is Amy.
Arrested Development opened a lot of doors for me, and once I sort of became, I guess what you'd say "available," there was a lot of opportunity out there, and it's been nice; a lot of people have found it in their hearts to offer me movie parts.
Arrested Development was such an amazing experience in every way, and you know it was very unique in that it was a show that received a lot of critical acclaim, and yet we didn't ever achieve the ratings that we wanted.
(On his Emmy nomination) I am humbled by the nomination. I got to work with a cast and writers made up of geniuses. The good news is I can finally realize my life long dream and buy my wife a solid gold speed boat."