Jesse Eisenberg was pushed to do fewer comedy movies

Jesse Eisenberg says he does so few comedy movies because the industry determined he was better as a dramatic actor.

Last Updated on January 23, 2023

Jesse Eisenberg

Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t exactly scream comedy movies, but he’s hoping the industry might see him as more than just a dramatic actor one day.

In a recent sitdown with fellow actor Finn Wolfhard for Interview, Jesse Eisenberg said he would have loved to be a cast member on SNL but has found he’s always been steered more towards dramas. “I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live…I wrote a portfolio that I submitted. It’s funny because in some ways you follow your taste, and in other ways, the entertainment industry tells you what you’re good at.”

What Jesse Eisenberg is good at is dramas, with his highest praise coming from his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network and Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale

Jesse Eisenberg added in the exchange, “I would get into roles that were sincere dramas. And yet [all I wanted to do was] broad comedy.” Of course, Jesse Eisenberg has appeared in a few comedies, including one of the best of the late 2000s, Zombieland. At the same time, there was also the dismal 30 Minutes or Less and Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, who was cast as the Allen surrogate.

Still, Jesse Eisenberg may know that his comedic chops might not be what producers are after. Reflecting on an early audition for 2004’s EuroTrip, he said, “I remember being in the audition thinking, ‘I can’t do these jokes that well. I can’t do these scenes in a way that’s that funny.’ The guys at the screen test indicated that exact thing to me—that I was too emotionally sullen in my audition for these really broad comic scenes.”

Although he never got to create a character that could be spun off into its own movie or run the Weekend Update desk, Jesse Eisenberg got to host Saturday Night Live in 2011. Although, since the real-life (assuming he’s human) Mark Zuckerberg appeared in the opening monologue, it did suggest that Eisenberg’s dramatic works would always loom.

Jesse Eisenberg most recently starred in FX on Hulu’s Fleishman Is in Trouble alongside Lizzy Caplan and Claire Danes. He also made his feature directorial debut this year with When You Finish Saving the World, which starred his co-interviewee Finn Wolfhard (you can read our 2022 Sundance review here).

What do you think? Would you like to see Jesse Eisenberg do more comedy work? Or is he better suited for dramas? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Interview Magazine

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.