Hamming It Up

While I’m as excited as anyone for the return of “Mad Men” Sunday on AMC, I’m not sure I’m ready for Jon Hamm to start playing serious again. In the nearly 18 months that “Mad Men” has been off the air, Hamm has eschewed dramatic roles in favor of his lesser-known talent: comedy.

Sure, Don Draper gets in his fair share of snarky one-liners, but outside of “Mad Men,” Hamm has proven he can hang with heavyweights like Tina Fey, David Cross and Kristen Wiig. Hamm does bumbling and goofy especially well, whether he’s playing Liz Lemon’s ex-boyfriend with hooks for hands on “30 Rock,” or doing the robot on IFC’s “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.”

“My approach to comedy has basically been to stand next to really funny people and try to keep a straight face,” he says in April’s Playboy. The truth is, Hamm has had years to study the form. In the ’90s, he spent his nights hanging out in alternative comedy rooms, forming friendships with such comics as Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis.

Whenever “Mad Men” ends its run, it will be exciting to see what route Hamm takes. Here’s hoping it’s funny.

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