After The State’s eponymous MTV television show ended, Marino went out to Los Angeles and found himself frequently cast as the straight man. It was fun, but not as fun as when he was asked to come onto Veronica Mars and play the sleaziest sleazebag to ever sleaze. Despite that show also having more of a cult fandom than mainstream, it was enough to open doors and minds, leading to characters like Ron, and his roles on Eastbound & Down and Burning Love (the latter of which his wife created, which he also believes deserves the love that the likes of Wet Hot and Party Down get.
Ron, Marino admits, shares some DNA with Streeter, the eager manager for a teenage popstar in The Other Two. The third season, which he has recently completed when we speak, is the “craziest and probably the funniest” one they’ve done, he promises. Perpetually ignored by his client’s family, Streeter just wants to be loved in a father figure sort of way. Despite his idiotic fame-chasing schemes, you almost feel for him.
Similarly, in this season of Party Down—in which he returned to the director’s chair for an episode—Marino puts the full force of his body into Ron’s pain. During the premiere he bashes his fist against a wall so hard that his finger becomes dislodged. Then, upon shaking someone’s hand, he blacks out from the pain and hits his head. Later in the season, he is wrecked with such intense food poisoning you can almost feel his body strain every moment he’s on screen. It’s hilarious.
“I hurt myself a lot,” Marino says. “But it’s sort of like a good hurt, like after you work out and the next day you’re sore. If I feel like I did a good physical bit that hurt and then I’m sore the next day I’m happy. It was worth it to me.””
Sometimes playing an asshole requires a little bit of pain.