Random Roles: Joel Murray on vampires, One Crazy Summer, and Freddy Rumsen’s zipper

Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.

The actor: Joel Murray has been working steadily since the late 1980s, but his career arc has been particularly fascinating over the course of the past few years. After spending the better part of two decades scoring laughs by veering between characters who were neither the sharpest tool in the shed nor the classiest guy in the room—his role as Pete Cavanaugh on Dharma & Greg is probably the most well-known example of both of those roles merging on the Venn diagram—Murray surprised many with his portrayal of Freddy Rumsen on AMC’s Mad Men, a nuanced performance that earned him the opportunity to enjoy a rare leading-man role in the 2011 film God Bless America …

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