Jason Mantzoukas on Jimmy Kimmel Live talking with his hands

Jason Mantzoukas Thought He Made an Enemy of an Iconic Star

You can always trust that Jason Mantzoukas will have the best stories. It helps that he is a comedian, improviser, and brilliant storyteller. The actor, who is doing press for Percy Jackson and the Olympians, took to Jimmy Kimmel Live! and shared a story about working on Dirty Grandpa and working with Robert De Niro.

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He came in to do a scene where they asked him to do his weird guy comedy bit, which did entail a lot of improv. That means, for Mantzoukas, making a lot of things up and just kind of going on for a long while. I know; I saw him do comedy a lot throughout my time at the Upright Citizens Brigade, and it truly is a gift watching this man do comedy whenever you can. But he made it clear that the vibe on the set of Dirty Grandpa was to not make De Niro be there longer than he needed to be.

He said they rehearsed, got to know each other, and hung out as a cast before the scene was shot without De Niro, and the entire idea was to be prepared for De Niro to show up: “You do not want to waste Bob’s time.” So then when he started to film the scene with him with and just took a small scene and turned it into a series of takes with multiple improvised lines where De Niro just stared at him, he figured he had a death sentence on him from the Goodfellas actor: “This guy is gonna kill me.”

He went on to say that De Niro finished the scene, after not reacting to him at all, and said to him, “There was some funny stuff in there.”

Making De Niro laugh? If anyone can do it, it’s Mantzoukas

De Niro does happen to be very funny, but he does have that no-nonsense mentality about him. A comedian like Mantzoukas breathes chaos into every role that he embodies, so it makes sense that he’s someone who would think that De Niro wanted to kill him. Hearing that seeing De Niro’s face in the scene, knowing that they weren’t supposed to waste De Niro’s time, and knowing that it didn’t stop Mantzoukas though? That’s not surprising.

He’s genuinely one of the funniest people out there because he doesn’t stop. Just when you think he can’t possibly think of something funnier to say, he does, and he will always have the last laugh in a moment because it is just who Mantzoukas is as a comedian. So, knowing that he didn’t let someone like De Niro intimidate him is the least surprising part of this story, but I do like that it ends with De Niro saying that there was “some” funny stuff in what Mantzoukas was doing, all for the comedy of Dirty Grandpa. Mantzoukas is nothing if not dedicated to the comedy of the bit.

(featured image: ABC)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.