Jason Bateman Went Into ‘Total F---ing Tailspin’ Over Technical Difficulties on ‘SmartLess’
Jason Bateman tried to hop on a video conference call only to discover his cranky laptop (or his wonky internet connection or his own lack of technical skills) didn’t want to cooperate? For anyone who has suffered through remote work during the pandemic — and now, probably — it’s relatable. But most of us don’t have Matthew McConaughey on the line waiting for us to figure it out.
McConaughey recently returned to the SmartLess podcast two years after Bateman had to scrap an entire episode due to technical difficulties. It just gave McConaughey and Bateman’s co-hosts Will Arnett and Sean Hayes an opportunity to pile on. Hey, that’s what friends are for.
Arnett had the receipts. He started the new podcast by playing audio clips from the canceled version that highlighted Bateman’s frustration — or as Arnett called it, “full meltdown.”
“I don't see it here on the sound thing, so let's cancel," Bateman says in the soundbite. “Let's just reschedule this thing. I'm in a total f---ing tailspin."
And what could be funnier than a guy in full meltdown mode? McConaughey — at this point in the podcast, Bateman didn’t know who the mystery guest would be — went into hysterics listening to the Arrested Development star pulling out his hair in frustration. Bateman was, shall we say, irritated.
"Great," Bateman groused over the sound of McConaughey’s guffaws. “Who the f--- is that? Who is that? Great, that's helpful. Is that our guest?”
Back in the present day, McConaughey showed off his Academy Award-winning skills by reenacting Bateman’s digital debacle: “'We've gotta reboot here. His iPad got cloned, and then it got wiped right before the dog peed on it, so I gotta reboot one more time. Wait a minute, it's buffering. Wait, let me reinstall. No, I'm installing. No, it's gonna restart. We got a failure. I need a security check. Oh s---, we got a virus. let me reschedule this whole show. S---, you guys start without me. Fuck that, everyone be patient.” All right, all right, all right.
It’s not surprising that McConaughey turns out to be a world-class ball buster. He tells Bateman that he even started taking notes during the epic fiasco because it kept getting “funnier and funnier and funnier.” As for Bateman, he finds the whole experience mortifying. “I just slammed my laptop shut,” he says about the aggravating incident. “It's not one of my prouder moments.”
All of this simply proves a truth about comedy and tragedy that Mel Brooks made years ago — what’s funny is simply a matter of which side of the pain you’re sitting on. “Tragedy is when I cut my finger,” Brooks said. “Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”