Jeremy Piven: Oversaturated, but in a Healthy Way

It should be mentioned right off the bat that I’ve always been a big fan of Jeremy Piven. He’s one of the few supporting actors who has so much charisma that he generally always steals the scene. I’ve always felt he should be a lead actor, as when he has been given the chance, the overall project overachieved its budget. While he was in the “Animal House” of this decade, “Old School”, he also starred in the “Animal House” of the 90’s, “PCU”, which is a very underrated comedy. His energy in that movie was reminiscent of Bill Murray in “Meatballs”. He starred in a short-lived, but excellent TV series called “Cupid” that was a romantic comedy on the scale of “Moonlighting”. For some reason, while not exactly male model types like Murray and Bruce Willis have become bankable leading men, Piven has seemed stuck in the Eve Arden roles.

Finally, he has had his career breakout, playing the part of a sleazy agent in HBO’s “Entourage”. While the role seemed like another supporting one, Piven has dominated the show so much that not since Alex P. Keaton, has a secondary character rose so quickly as the main attraction. This is not to say that the other actors aren’t good, as the casting is perfect, but it’s Piven who creates the special moments of the show. While “Entourage” doesn’t get big ratings, it’s become to males in LA, what the show “Sex in the City” was to females in New York. In a place like Hollywood, where the people are so self-absorbed that they think the rest of the country just sits on their couches watching E! or Bravo all day long, “Entourage” is the most talked about show within the industry, as it portrays a life that so many dream of living.

While I think Piven’s success is long overdue, I have been feeling lately that he’s way too overexposed. If there is a big movie premiere or celebrity-filled party, it seems like Jeremy would appear like “Zelig”. I’ve been set to write a piece about how I think he needs to pull back for the past 6 months, but never got around to it. But after reading an excellent feature article by Joel Lovell in the June issue of GQ (hey, I’m behind in my reading), I’ve reevaluated my opinion on the subject. Lovell brings up many of the same oversaturated concerns that I’ve had, but explains that after hanging out with him, Piven seems to be handling extreme success pretty well.

For nearly a couple of decades, Jeremy Piven has at best been relegated to eating the table scraps of his buddy, John Cusack. (I know this is still a pretty great meal.) Now he’s the guy that gets the major invite to the Playboy Mansion to party with the rabbits. Since I’ve had people say for the past 10 years that they’ve thought I looked like Piven, I’ve rooted for his ladykilling success. Sadly, in some ways he’s a virtual reality version of what my life could be if I was single, rich, and famous.

As I’m guessing it generally happens, his more recent success has slowed the amount of comparisons I get for being a Piven look-alike. It used to be “you look like that one guy, oh what’s his name.” Now that he’s no longer, “oh that guy that was in that one movie”, I don’t seem to get the comparisons as much. When people ask me “who do people tell you that you look like”, I still mention Piven, as I’ve always related well to him as person. I also feel a lot better about that comparison than I do about other choices people have had.

Earlier this year, while performing at the Hollywood IMPROV in Florida, I had an attractive woman come up to me and share that she thought I looked like Barry Gibb. “Uh, I’m not sure that’s a compliment”, was my reply. She told me that it was, as she thought Barry was hot. “Well, I guess if you like Aussie men with falsetto’s, he would rank highly,” I offered back to try to stay positive, but I thought it was a bit strange. I told her that “of the Gibb brothers, I would rather be seen as Andy’s look-alike, but at least she didn’t think I looked like Maurice or Robin.” There are few things worse than having someone tell you that look like a celebrity that you don’t find attractive. I will say that this comment made me realize that I needed to stay out of the sun the rest of the trip, as if I’m being compared to Mr. Jive Talkin’, I might want to pull back on the savage rays of light.

Ok, so I’ve gotten a little off-track. So is the self-obssessed world of blogs. I wish Jeremy Piven the best of luck. I wish you Godspeed man, on your quest to taste all the nectars which are at your spoils. It comes with the pact with the Devil of having to “hug it out, bitch”, with admiring fans. I just hope you don’t become typecast as the sleazy guy, as I think you have the talent to be another Michael Keaton. Speaking of him, whatever happened to his career? Time to give him a role that shows off his talents once again. Maybe Keaton needs an aggressive agent, an Ari Gold-type to make it happen.

5 thoughts on “Jeremy Piven: Oversaturated, but in a Healthy Way

  1. 3.  Piven is the only thing that makes Entourage watchable. Maybe it’s because I can’t stand the “celebrity culture” that that show ballwashes, but every other character makes me want to claw my eyes out. I hold a special dislike for the guy who plays the “main character.” He is a truly miserable actor who gets by on a cheesy grin, and some stupid hand gestures that are supposed to be charming or something I guess.

    So, for singlehandedly making an otherwise utterly repulsive show tolerable, I say, huzzah Jeremy Piven.

  2. 4.  i watched this weeks show & thought it was brilliant, & like Scott said the guy has “something” about him that makes the show great.

  3. 5.  I have always enjoyed Piven’s work as well — “PCU”, as you say, is one of the great unseen comedies of the 90s –, particularly how he and John Cusack interact when he plays supporting roles in Cusack films. The classic from “Say Anything” is, of course:


    I find his position as den parent to the Lindsay Lohan set a little skeezifying, though. I’m unable to pass judgement on his work on “Entourage”, cos I’ve never seen the show, but I have serious doubts about whether he could possibly be better than John McGinley as Dr Cox on “Scrubs”.

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