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American Life: Stephen Tobolowsky On His "Fascinating"—And True!—Stories
Celebrities | May 02, 2013

American Life: Stephen Tobolowsky On His "Fascinating"—And True!—Stories

In his podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, Stephen Tobolowsky tells the wildly entertaining stories that have defined his life. As wacky as some of them may seem, they're all true. And true stories, he has argued, trump fictional ones any day of the week. Tobolowsky has been featured in a slew of small, but memorable, character-roles in numerous Hollywood productions. The most notable, perhaps, is Groundhog Day; some of the the most recent are recurring roles on Glee, Californication, and The Mindy Project. With years of experience in show business, Tobolowsky has more than his fair share of life-changing anecdotes to give his eager listeners. Many of which, can be found in his book The Dangerous Animals Club.

"They’re all true, and they all happened to me," he tells Advocate Magazine in a new interview. While the narratives he shares in his speeches are entertaining even on the surface level, he makes deeper connections about how the things that happen to us and the people we meet can dramatically alter (and sometimes, define) our lives. In the Advocate Magazine interview (where the publication called him "fascinating"), he shares one of these stories and the underlying takeaway he received from it. 

After graduating from university, he and his then-girlfriend were invited to enter into a graduate program at the University of Illinois. While they were both unhappy with the location, they took the opportunity to make the most of their time there. And, as he says, the connections and friends he made while in Illinois helped kick-start his career. What's the lesson here? When life throws you a curve ball, you have to look at it as an opportunity, and make the most of it. "If I could say one thing to young people out there, it’s this," he concludes in the interview, "when you feel that life is taking you in the wrong direction, instead of feeling all that despair [and] thinking, 'I’m lost, I’m lost, I’m lost,' just remember that it may be a way to be found, too." Further: "Don’t despair. There may be clues around you that lead to a happy and prosperous life."
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