8 Questions With … Christian Clemenson

1. What has been your strangest fan encounter?

Christian Clemenson: There was this one lady — and this was early on — who met me in the produce department at Ralph’s, which is a local supermarket. I had just appeared on television playing somebody who sells burglar alarms, and she actually thought that I was a burglar alarm system salesman. … She proceeded to ask me about what I recommended for her situation, and I did actually offer her advice.

2. You’re at a magazine rack and can pick three magazines. What are they?

I’m always going to pick The New Yorker, just because I like it. Vanity Fair is a very guilty pleasure, so I would pick that. … And I always check out Dog Fancy magazine if they have pictures of Rhodesian Ridgebacks on the cover. I’ve got two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, so I go nuts for them.

3. What’s your favorite sports team?

I grew up in northern Iowa, and Iowa is distinguished by having no professional sports teams at all. The nearest one was the Minnesota Vikings, so every chance we could, we’d drive up there. … The echoes of my childhood still call out to me and I have to say the Vikes.

4. When was the last time you were starstruck?

I was at Cannes this last year, for the opening of United 93. There was one day, in the hotel lobby, when standing in a row were me, Pedro Almodóvar, Michelle Yeoh and Penélope Cruz. That just sort of blew my mind.

5. If your TV only carried three shows, which three would you want?

I have to say Boston Legal because they employ me so frequently. … I also have to say Iron Chef — and I have to be specific and say the original Japanese [version], not the American so much. … Oh, and I’m going to have to go back in time to one of my favorite shows and say Mystery Science Theater 3000.

6. When was the last time you felt like crying?

I’m a weeper, so that’s an almost daily event. One of the last big public cries I had was the screening of United 93 in New York City, where I was seated in the balcony with all the [victims’] family members. At the end of the movie … there was a brief silence and then I could hear all around me this collective sob, and it just shook me to my core. I could not stop the tears that night.

7. What’s your favorite condiment?

Ketchup. Absolutely ketchup. I’m very upset that ketchup has lost out as the most popular condiment to salsa. I like salsa, but ketchup — please! … It made so many foods palatable when I was a kid growing up. Anything I didn’t like would be improved by the addition of ketchup.

8. Including yourself, seven of the past nine Emmy winners for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series have come from the “Boston Legal/The Practice” franchise. Who were the two exceptions?

There was Ray Liotta [in 2005 for ER]. And let’s see … ooh, this is a good one. I may need another hint. [Hint: He had previously won for his guest role on The Practice.] Oh, oh, oh! I do know! Ah … I went to school with him … big black guy … “Roc” Dutton! Charles S. Dutton [in 2003 for Without a Trace]. Yes!

Clemenson plays recurring character Jerry “Hands” Espenson on Boston Legal, airing Tuesdays on ABC, and can be seen in United 93, now available on On Demand.