Jason Mantzoukas’ quarantine vibe is part of a wild art collector, all Mantzoukas

Jason Mantzoukas

Jason Mantzoukas
Screenshot: Late Night with Seth Meyers

For his second remote interview segment on Thursday, Seth Meyers threw himself to a blank screen. Well, it was a nondescript kitchen, watched over only by a pair of vaguely unsettling paintings. Soon, however, Meyers was treated to the sight of a guest finally revealed and scene stealing all star Jason Mantzoukaspopping in and out of the Zoom frame with the kind of triumphant punches most of us do every time we turn on a movie or TV episode and see that Jason Mantzoukas is in this one.

“That’s right, boom!” Mantzoukas exploded as he made his grand entrance, along with Mantzoukas’ signature energy listeners. How was this done? podcast knows this well thanks to its equally explosive, “What’s up, morons?!” introductory tagline. Finally settle down enough to watch a clip of him looking unmistakably like Jason in the HBO Max animated series Close enoughMantzoukas praised Meyers’ presentation of a list of some of his best-known animated filmsatars with a knowing nod. “They all seem like some version of a shirtless, crazy person,” Mantzoukas marveled, not without pride. And why would anyone watch the live-action Jason, with his signature (but more so) mane of unruly hair and pandemic beard and think that? “I’m going to do a full circle of hair and beard,” Mantzoukas told Meyers, by no means looking at this point as one of the most curly Muppets taking on an alarming life. (Animal or Sweetums, maybe, or maybe Electric Mayhem trumpeter Lips.)

As to whether he’s weathered the pandemic isolation well, well, that’s up to viewers to decide. Noting that “I haven’t left my goddamn house in a year!”, in traditional Manztouka fashion (very enthusiastic, with just a touch of mania in his eyes), the Big mouth star himself bragged: “I’ve lost my mind!” Along with doing his voice acting work remotely during this time, Mantzoukas presented evidence for that conclusion, presenting Meyers with these paintings decorating his kitchen, a product of the actor’s lockdown hobby of bidding on Ebay.

Showing the painting of a woman he calls “Peggy,” Mantzoukas told Meyers his flustered expression screamed, “Gary, are you painting me again?” And that kind of verification. Then there’s the adorable little blond child with the kind of staring, oversized, shark-like eyes that would make Margaret Kean run screaming through the night. There’s the used trophy he bought, inexplicably celebrating someone’s seemingly mundane family milestone, and the huge, terrifying crying baby mask that Mantzoukas says is the only thing big enough to cover his entire shaggy melon. Look, you gotta have a hobby these days.

The second season of Close enough is on HBO Max now.

Norma D. Ross