From intern to TV star, Ross Mathews knows how to work his way up in Hollywood. The pop culture-obsessed funnyman has gone from being "Ross the Intern" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to regular stints on E!'s red carpet specials and Chelsea Lately. We caught up with the Los Feliz local to discuss his new book Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence, his favorite places to spot celebs and how to make it in Hollywood. Catch the comedian on his stand-up book tour and on his own talk show, Hello Ross, premiering on E! this fall.
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Time Out: Tell us about your love affair with Los Angeles.
Ross Mathews: I moved to LA about 30 seconds after I graduated high school in 1988. For four years, during college, I lived in the Inland Empire and would drive to LA every weekend, and then moved here right after.
I’ve always lived on the Eastside, either in Silver Lake or Los Feliz. For a bit I moved over to the Miracle Mile/Larchmont area, but I just came back to my beloved Eastside. Anything goes here. I never get judged. Sometimes I don’t feel like I work in the TV/film industry when I’m on the Eastside because it feels a little removed.
You’ve met and interviewed quite a few celebs. Who is your ultimate star crush and what would you do if you saw them walking down the street?
It would be Justin Timberlake and it would get ugly. I’ve met him very briefly. [Justin] is so good up-close, it’s better than I ever thought it could be. He’s perfect in every way.
Angelenos get a kick out of spotting celebs. Where do you go for some stargazing?
I always see celebs in very weird spots. I don’t always go to fancy-shmancy places but I see celebs at coffee shops or random stores, when you’re looking for a sweater and turn around like, "OMG, that’s Fred Savage!"
Who is the biggest diva that you’ve interviewed?
I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus and give them the D-word! Usually you get to interview that one girl who plays the sister on some Disney show—you interview that girl a lot—but sometimes, every once in a while, you get to interview a legend. I have interviewed some amazingly iconic people including Michelle Obama, Oprah, Sidney Poitier and Judy Dench. These people are legit icons.
What is the secret to your success?
The key to making it in Hollywood is to man up! I write in the book that you’ve got to love what you are and who you are. Love is what makes you different. This town is filled with so many variable X people that look just like the next person. If you embrace what makes you different, you can use that to be successful. You have to love yourself—I have this high-pitched voice and am basically a gay cartoon character, but I love myself, so f*** everyone else!
Ross Mathews will be at the Largo on May 13.