1. You’re at a magazine rack and can pick three magazines. What are they?
Am I alone or is someone watching me? Am I trying to impress? [You’re alone.] Architectural Digest. I love having something to dream about that I will never likely have, so maybe I’d buy Yachts International. I don’t even like being on them that much, but I like looking and dreaming. They’re gorgeous. I’m going to get Billboard Magazine, because my daughter Katrina is No. 29 [at presstime] with “SugarFree.” Seriously. “SugarFree.” Kat Danson. It’s on iTunes. It’s really good.
2. If your TV only carried three TV shows, which three would you want?
Can we make a stipulation that I’m not in any of them? And Mary [Steenburgen, his wife] —none of our shows. [Yes.] The Office, American Idol and The Biggest Loser. This is very revealing. It’s sad but true.
3. What has been your strangest fan encounter?
Not strange, but funny. So I’m about to turn 50 and I’m in New York. It’s a week before and I’m like, “I’m really OK with this turning 50 thing.” I’d been dying my hair, putting brown mousse in it for Becker, then washing it out later that night because it was just for the show. I walk into this video store and my American Express card says Edward Danson on it, because that’s my legal formal name. I hand the clerk my card and he looks at me and he looks at my gray hair and he says, “Oh, you must be Ted Danson’s father.” What do you say?
4. When was the last time you were starstruck?
Oh, Jesus. Zach! [Galifianakis, his costar in Bored to Death] And his movies — The Hangover. He was brilliant. He stole the show.
5. When was the last time you felt like crying?
Good heavens, a couple of days ago. I’m a crier.
6. What’s your favorite condiment?
Mustard. Love it. Mustard will make anything better.
7. What bores you?
Well, I do get bored, but pretty rarely. Small talk. “Hey, how are you? How’s your summer? Oh, sorry, got to go.” I don’t know if it’s boring, but exhausting. Watching anything I’m in. … I actually like boredom. Right after being bored you’re incredibly creative. I embrace boredom. I love sitting and staring. Boredom is fine. I really mean that. Write that down.
8. What do you like about playing George on HBO’s new comedy Bored to Death?
What’s really new and interesting is to be the oldest person on set by far. It’s perfect for who I play because George is all about relevancy: “Am I still relevant? Am I at 61 relevant? Don’t leave me out, Jason [Schwartzman] and Zach. Where you going? I want to go. Let me smoke dope. I just want to be with you. I want to be young.” So it’s a perfect thing for Ted Danson at age 61 who is used to being at the center and now being a little further out from the center and wondering if he’s relevant. So it’s perfect. Written by a real genuine artist [Jonathan Ames], who is talking about a world he’s lived, knows. When my character spouts Hemingway or Proust, it’s because Jonathan genuinely knows that world. He’s really a bright artist.