Actor John Goodman returned to the Stern Show on Monday to talk to Howard about his new film "10 Cloverfield Lane." From there the two enjoyed a riveting, wide-ranging conversation which spanned not only his upcoming projects, but also the actor's rectal health, sobriety, and an awkward Kristin Wiig encounter.
Fit as a Fiddle
Howard's first comment after John entered the studio was about how thin he looked, especially compared to his presence in "10 Cloverfield Lane," which opens Friday.
He wasn't wearing a fat suit, however, the film was actually shot about 18 months ago, right before Goodman decided to "stop stuffing food in [his] mouth every five minutes."
"It turns out I was just eating all the time," Goodman explained. "It was all crap."
Howard wondered what his favorite food to give up was: "Everything. M&Ms. Just crap," Goodman responded.
So, how did he turn it all around?
Smaller food portions and more exercise. "I got an elliptical machine at home and I do some stomach work," he said.
Howard asked him what motivated the big change -- was it for health reasons?
"It was all of that," Goodman replied. "Plus, you have to look in the mirror every day and you say, 'eh, I gotta deal with this schmuck.'"
"I'm just a schmo," he added later.
Drinking on Set
Speaking of healthy choices, Goodman told Howard he quit drinking eight years ago. John lives in New Orleans, a city notorious for its food and libations, so the King of All Media wondered whether it was difficult not to eat and drink like a pig when he is there.
"I got sober in L.A. and I was really worried about going home." John told him. "I found a good community and good support."
Before getting sober, however, the actor admitted to sometimes drinking on set. Howard asked if the Coen brothers stopped casting him in his films because he was getting drunk.
"I was drunk a couple of times during '[The Big] Lebowski,' but that was way too many for me," Goodman said. "That was something I swore to myself I would never do - drink at work."
He said he also drank on the set of his ABC sitcom "Roseanne."
Vodka was his libation of choice, he explained, because it is so much harder to smell. Well, until it's "coming out of your pores," he added.
"10 Cloverfield Lane"
From there Howard asked about "10 Cloverfield Lane," produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Dan Trachtenberg. Originally titled "The Cellar" and then "Valencia," the tense thriller stars Goodman as a guy trapping Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a cellar.
Howard raved about the movie, though he was cautious not to reveal too much about the plot. He also wanted to know how John got involved with the project. Was he a fan of the original "Cloverfield"?
"'Cloverfield' was bupkis," Goodman said, explaining he didn't know even what it was before joining the sequel of sorts.
So, how did the filmmakers convince him to come aboard? Was it a big pay day?
"I wasn't too worried about the negotiations because the script was so good," Goodman told Howard. "Plus, they shot it in New Orleans. We shot it in a little warehouse there."
Later, Howard wondered whether he was getting any back end money based upon how much money the film earns: "Un poquito," Goodman joked. "I get my beak wet."
An Awkward Kristen Wiig Run-In
Goodman is a huge fan of "Saturday Night Live" veteran Kristen Wiig, but he revealed to Howard that he's only had one real life encounter with her and that it was completely awkward.
He ran into Wiig at a party and approached her excitedly to chat, but he said everything went to hell because he interrupted her while she was in the middle of speaking to someone else -- something he admitted he would also hate for someone to do to him. "I interrupted a conversation," Goodman explained, "And she was like, 'Yeah, I'll talk to you in a minute.'"
"I shrunk down to an atom size," he continued. "I really like her."
Unfortunately, he doubts he'll ever speak with her again.
Toward the end of the interview, however, Howard pleaded with Wiig, in case she was listening, to give Goodman another shot.
Saturday Night Jitters
Speaking of "SNL," Howard and John spoke about the long-running sketch comedy show that the actor has hosted 13 times throughout his career. It's practically a record at this point, so one might imagine he could host the show on cruise control, but he revealed the hosting gig actually gets more difficult as he gets up there in age.
"The last time I hosted was [in 2013] and I felt every week of 62 years old," Goodman explained.
"I didn't bring much to the party. It's the first time I felt I let them down," he continued. "I ran out of gas between the dress rehearsal and the actual show. I had a bottle of 5 Hour Energy drink, but I didn't want to take it … I should of."
Still, that doesn't mean he would refuse Lorne Michaels or NBC if they came calling.
"If they asked you back would you do it?" Howard asked.
"Yeah, I love it over there." Goodman replied. "And the kids they got today are just geniuses."
What's My Line?
One of the difficulties in hosting a live sketch show after only a week's worth of preparation is trying to memorize all of the lines. "I get so insecure about my memory," Goodman told Howard. "I think this stems from when I was drinking a lot and I couldn't put two words together."
The actor said his memory has improved since he quit drinking, but the fear of forgetting has persisted: "I'm extra careful about learning my lines ... I'm too careful because I overemphasize that, so when I miss a line I freak out."
"I need to relax," he added.
Was remembering new lines each week on "Roseanne" a difficult challenge, Howard wondered?
"You got used to it. ... Everybody screwed up. It was loose. We had a great time," Goodman explained, adding "a tense actor is no good."
Bicycling With Bill
"Monuments Men" wasn't 2014's most popular film, but it boasted one of the most impressive casts, including Goodman, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and George Clooney.
Goodman said that Clooney, who also directed the film, bought an interesting present for his cast: Bicycles. Though he didn't feel like he fit in with A-listers Damon and Clooney, Goodman said that he and Mr. Murray bonded while bike riding.
The two first met at the 25th Anniversary of "SNL" and then later at a Neville Brothers concert in New Orleans, but they became closer while riding bikes around England while filming "Monuments Men."
"I adore him. He's a force of nature," Goodman said, "He knows who he is and he's very comfortable in his skin."
Vietnam, the Draft, and Brie Larson
John hadn't been back in the country more than a week before coming on the show, as he had just finished shooting "Kong: Skull Island" in Vietnam with co-star Brie Larson.
"I was in Hanoi," Goodman said. "I was very impressed – I want to go back," he added.
Unfortunately, John wasn't able to get Sirius while he was there and he couldn't listen to the show, but he did get back just in time to hear Ronnie's proposal on the air, who he said he congratulated as he walked him to the elevator.
Goodman said the Vietnamese people were very friendly. "They still talk about you," he joked to Howard, "The Mekong Tiger."
Howard wondered if John served in the military.
"I got a lottery number of 30," Goodman revealed, but said they didn't ask him to serve because when he went into for his physical they marked him down as being too heavy for his height after recording his height incorrectly.
"I would have been the big baby of the Army," he admitted though.
Goodman, though, raved about working alongside the "incredible" Larson, who won an Oscar recently for her work in "Room."
"She was so charismatic," he said. "She was like the only girl on set and every weekend she would organize stuff to do. We would look at kangaroos. She would organize a trip to an amusement park after it closed ... Just stuff for people to do, because she's nervous about people getting angry or getting on each other's nerves."
On the Death of Riley Martin
The Stern Show superfan also shared his thoughts on the passing of Wack Packer Riley Martin, who died last December.
"Riley Martin's cough, I mean, that was a death rattle toward the end. And he was not making a lot of sense," Goodman said, before launching into his Riley impression.
Isn't it true, Howard joked, that your character in "10 Cloverfield Lane" channels Riley.
"Yeah, it's a conscious tribute to Riley."
Politics and Donald Trump
Unlike many celebrities, Goodman is reluctant to share his political leanings.
"I keep it to myself and it will, you know, give me the cancer," he joked.
It's an election year, though, so politics are a hard thing for him to escape. "I hate political ads," he continued. "I hate seeing people … getting swept up into a mob mentality."
Howard wondered whether "mob mentality" referred specifically to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
"I just don't get it," Goodman said. "I can understand because he's a very popular figure from reality TV." He stopped himself there though, joking that he doesn't "want any death threats."
But he defended President Obama: "I just feel bad for Obama. As soon as he got into office they started kicking the shit out of him. For no reason. ... He could have a cancer cure and it's like, 'No, it's not good enough.'"
Good News - It's a Suppository!
Somehow the conversation turned toward intestinal health and John revealed to Howard that he was just getting over two days worth of constipation.
Howard wondered what being constipated is like for a man of Goodman's fame.
"There was a lot of grunting," he responded. "It's like giving birth. ... I went over to Duane Reade myself [for a suppository.]"
Speaking of suppositories, John later shared an epic story from the mid-1980s. (Note: The faint of heart need not read further.)
"I got poison from an oyster in New Orleans in 1985," Goodman recounted. "It was coming out of both ends, so the doctor gave me a suppository to stop vomiting and a pill to stop the diarrhea. So, I took the pill, I put the suppository in."
Everything was gravy after that, right? Well, not so much...
"I was laying on the bathroom floor, shaking. I threw up and the suppository shot out of my ass and hit the wall," Goodman continued. "I started laughing so hard. I was laying on the bathroom floor naked just laughing my ass off, naked, choking."
It was a story for the ages.