I go into a scene and say I'm going to kick your fucking ass. I'm going to win. We're gonna get down to it now or we're gonna get down to it later. We're gonna get down to it on page one or we're gonna get down to it on page five. But I am going to win.
Here's audio of that and Shandling's take on it...
You can see it too. When Baldwin's on SNL or 30 Rock or doing a small part in "Glengarry Glen Ross," he just crushes it. He wants to beat the other person in the scene.
I first heard the interview about a year ago and the attitude inspired me. I don't think comedy is a sport or anything, but I do think it's a good goal: To win the night. To be the best standup on the show. To be the person that people leave talking and thinking about.
Alec Baldwin, an appreciation [Kottke.org] offers links to a couple of clips of classic Baldwin SNL bits...
What firmly installs Baldwin onto my list of favorite actors of all time is his many Saturday Night Live appearances. Watching Schweddy Balls and Inside the Actors Studio (with Baldwin as Charles Nelson Reilly) still brings tears of howling laughter to my eyes.
And here's a kinda sad profile of Baldwin in the New Yorker.
P.S. Also liked how Shandling mentions in that NPR talk that he finds magic in the moment, in the back and forth of him and the subject, and that a more scripted, formal approach would be less fresh and interesting. "It's about the moment, even when it goes wrong," he says.