Beyond the Banana Stand

Jeffrey Tambor is so much more than George Bluth Sr. Or even Oscar.

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Now that season 4 of “Arrested Development” is finally out, Jeffrey Tambor isn’t ready to say goodbye to the Bluth family. He doesn’t know what the future holds — it could be a movie, another season on Netflix or both — but he wants to play family patriarch George Sr. (and his twin brother, Oscar) for as long as possible. “I get to play two glorious guys who are either side of my brain,” Tambor says. “Without sounding too much like Lou Gehrig, I count myself as one of the luckiest guys alive.”

The actor, who turns 69 next month, has played many more roles than the twins that have come to define him. He’ll discuss his illustrious career — and what keeps people from pursuing their dreams — in his one-man show, “Performing Your Life.” If that sounds like a George Sr.-type scheme, don’t worry, there will be no $10,000 lemonades — it’s for a Mental Health America benefit.

I just finished season 4 of “Arrested.” Have you watched it all yet?
I am closing in. I can’t do the 15 [episodes that fast]. … A young person came up to me and said, “I saw all 15! I can’t wait to do it again.”

What do you think so far?
I love it. I never cease marveling at [series creator] Mitch [Hurwitz]. I just wrote him a huge email the other day, saying, literally, “George and Oscar will follow you anywhere.” I am very, very proud of it. I am astounded at the reaction and the fan base.

Season 4 is very complicated. Was it hard it follow the story while filming?
I don’t know if this is good, but this is how I am: I’m OK with not knowing where I’m going. I think one of my faults as an actor is you tell me too much information, I’ll point, I’ll be like a pointer dog. I believe in not knowing the path too well.

The new season really plays with the idea of what a TV show can be.
I think the limits [Hurwitz] was placed under actually got him to create something fantastic. What was I watching last night? I was watching Gob, in the dueling magicians [episode]. I went, “This is all I’ve ever wanted in entertainment.” That’s what I wrote Mitch: “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do as an actor, is to have this kind of impact.”

“Performing Your Life” is billed as a one-man show. Is there more to it?
There’s no other man — there’s just one man. It grew out of an [acting] workshop I give yearly at South by Southwest and it’s gotten very popular. … I am fascinated about what keeps people from doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Am I [motivational speaker] Wayne Dyer? Far from it; I’m not even Jeffrey Dyer.

So, it’s not a self-help seminar?
People go, “Is this about happiness?” I’m the Jewish son of Russian-Hungarian parents. I know nothing about happiness. But it’s very funny. I have three ideas I think are very interesting that can help kick you in the ass a little bit, hopefully inspire you and maybe, if you’re willing, change your direction. People say, “Is it motivation?” I guess, but there’s a long way between me and Dr. Phil — a long way.

Master Teacher

In addition to his screen career, Jeffrey Tambor is an acting teacher. “I think too much of teaching is about pleasing the teacher,” Tambor says. So, he doesn’t want students to mimic his style. “It’s about getting ahold of your strength, your power — who you are.”

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St, Fort Washington, Md.; Sat., 7:45 p.m., $75-$95; 301-965-4000.
Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Marc Silver · June 6, 2013