Justin Long
Illustration: Rob Kelly

The Hot Seat: Justin Long

The Mac has something to teach you. And it's not about computers.


Justin Long used to be my neighbor. I'm not saying that to brag (I didn't even know it at the time) but to point out that there's a lot you probably don't know about the Mac guy either. For one thing, he's really funny. Which is part of the reason his new rom-com, Going the Distance, is worth seeing; Long—along with Charlie Day, Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis and his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Drew Barrymore—is crude and hilarious. But the 32-year-old has a deep side, too, one that's committed to family (he lives with his younger brother), friends (he'll back up Sudeikis in a karaoke jam any time), romance (we'll get to the Drew question) and educating the public about the male sex drive. We called him at his L.A. home and were surprised to learn about all of it.

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I still can't believe we both lived on Jones Street in the early 2000s.
Yeah, that is so weird. You know that Gray's Papaya? Sam Rockwell lived on 8th Street right by it. I had a tiny apartment, it was like 375 square feet—his was smaller. And this was after he had made several movies. And he had a little futon, and he'd always be like [In a very convincing Sam Rockwell voice], "Hey, you wanna stay over my place? You wanna crash at my place?" And I was like, "Sam, we have the same size apartment, and we can't have anyone at our place. And I live, like, right down the street." [Laughs]

Do you miss New York?
I do. I get the feeling when I go to New York that I'm home. In L.A., it's like seeing a nice old acquaintance you might want to catch up with for a few minutes, who's very attractive but doesn't have all that much to say.

And what does that make New York? The ugly girl with "a really good personality"
[Laughs] No, she's like the cool girl with Rachael Leigh Cook glasses, and when she takes them off she reveals her real beauty. New York's like the old love that you don't always get along with, but you know at the end of the day you want to spend the rest of your lives with each other, but you need some breaks.

I'm having a hard time not segueing into your relationship with Drew Barrymore.
[Laughs] You can do it. You've got a couple openings.

Well, we all want to know who you're making out with these days.
[Laughs] Besides Sam.

Of course, on his futon.
He's No. 2. He's my fluffer. [Laughs] No, it's funny, we're going into this relationship movie, so it's very difficult not to talk about your own experiences in relationships, and it's especially difficult not to talk about a current relationship, but I can't. I'm making a concerted effort to keep private life private.

Does that mean that you guys are currently on?
[Laughs, then stutters] It, it,—We love each other very much; I'll say that.

On your first date in the movie, she asks you three icebreaker questions; I've got one for you. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I don't want to reveal too much about my psyche, but it would be angel food cake shaped like women's breasts.

I'm sensing that a lot of the off-color jokes in the movie were perhaps improvised by you guys.
Yeah, quite a few of them. I realize I now have a different gauge. I've become so crude in my sense of humor that I forget that certain things are off-limits.

Was that because of the movie?
No, I was definitely like that before. [For example,] I tried to work in one of my favorite things, it's a term that I've used for a long time. It's called SPERS. It's an acronym for "sudden post-ejaculatory regret syndrome," and I'm going to let you in on a secret. I can probably get kicked out of my gender for revealing this. It's the emptiness of some sexual experiences, and you quickly come to realize, hopefully you realize, that there needs to be more. SPERS is something that we've all experienced. [Laughs] It's crude and it's awful, but there's a part of it that's very true, it's nature. It's something that we should not shy away from.

So you're, um, raising awareness?
Exactly, I want to help. I want to entertain, yes—but primarily I want to educate. So, you're welcome.

Okay, so lots of improv in the movie.
It was an easy movie to improvise in, because the script had strong setups and very natural dialogue. And Charlie and Jason are just brilliant. And Drew was an amazing improviser, I should mention.

[Laughs] She's very open-minded.

Going the Distance opens Fri 3.

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