Transcript for Jason Segel on why readers connect to his novels
I want candy! Jason Segel and I share a lot of the same interests. We both love a muppet and we’re both really big fans of sci-fi, and he’s just written the next chapter of his “Otherworld” series called “Other Earth.” It’s really fantastic. Please welcome back Jason Segel. ??? Hello, everyone. Hello, baby. Hey, this is cool. Yeah, it’s not bad at all. Oh yeah. She’s very happy to see you. Thank you, thank you. Now, you keep writing these wonderful young adult sci-fi novels and the last one was called “Otherworld” and the newest is called “Other Earth.” Tell everybody what this is about. I became really interested in how kids were spending so much time on social media and in the virtual world and becoming increasingly disconnected. When we did muppets together, I got to spend a lot of time with young kids, and there was something really beautiful about a kid meeting Kermit. They look right at Kermit and they can touch him and it is — it’s real and visceral and they’re alive and it really moved me. And then I would see kids walking down the street just staring into their iPad or their phone, and so I wanted to write a book about being present and the difference between, you know, comparing your real life to someone else’s Instagram stories. It’s no wonder we feel like less than, you know. Right. And then something weird happened in the process of writing these books where all of a sudden in the political landscape our actual reality started being called into question. And so like don’t believe what you see and hear, all of these ideas. It’s a dangerous thing to remove people’s anchor to what is real. Yeah. To make them question their own common sense and instincts, and so “Other Earth” is about that, what happens when your actual reality is called into question. I will tell you, my son is 16, he is such a huge fan of your books. I brought them home to read them. He took the new one from me. He was like, oh, I haven’t read that one yet. So let me ask you, what is it like talking to kids about what you’ve written, because they are really connecting with these stories? Yeah, well, it’s a real honor first of all. Like, when I was coming up, I had the Ruhle Dahl books and I had movies like “The gonies”. So good. You’re sort of told when you’re a kid, you don’t even realize it but to get on the track and stay there, and, you know, middle school becomes junior high and high school and then college and then your job and then maybe some day you’ll get to retire but you’re just sort of on it. And I had these voices that whispered in my ear, no, there’s magic, like look over this way, there’s buried treasure over there. I mean, when you decide to become an actor, like, this is impossible, you’re told, unless you have those voices that say, no, it’s not, you’re special. And so I wanted to — I wanted to whisper that voice. I love that. Yeah. You also wrote “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. I did, yeah. Which everyone loves. Thank you. Which is maybe one of the reasons why that woman over there was cat calling you because you were naked in the movie. Yes, I was. How did you — You’re welcome by the way. How did you decide how much to show of yourself? Right. Because you showed a lot. I showed it all. I bared it all. That scene is autobiographical. I got broken up with while naked. Really? Yeah. That’s terrible. Yeah. It was a really bad day. My girlfriend had been out of town and she called me from the airport and said, like, hey, are you at home? I’m back. Can I come over? I thought, yeah. I know what’s about to happen. So when she arrived I was waiting for her like Burt Reynolds, you know? Oh, my gosh. Oh, no. And she walked in and I was like, I’ve been waiting for you. Then she said, we need to talk. Oh, no. And it’s never we need to talk, I love you so much. Like this breakup commences. What didn’t make the movie which also happened was like halfway through I was like, okay, I need to go get dressed. It turns out picking out an outfit for the second half of a breakup is like the worst outfit you’ll ever pick out. I came out in a button up blue shirt and khaki pants like I was going to an event and I said I’m wearing your favorite outfit. But the whole time I thought as soon as she walks out this door, I’m going to write this, and it worked out. It worked out for you. That’s a cold dame though, breaking up with somebody while they’re nude. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought I was bad. No, that’s terrible. Bet she misses you now. Yeah. Thank you. Jason, you’ve done so many successful projects “Knocked up”, “How I met your mother”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” obviously. But you’ve made a shift in your career. Why did you decide to do that? It kind of goes back to that thing that we were just talking about about getting on a track. I started acting when I was 17 years old. I got really lucky and I got successful pretty young. When I hit 33 years old I realized that I had not had a personal check-in in like a decade. “How I met your mother” came to an end and all of a sudden I was like, wow, I’m still writing “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” ten years later. I’m an adult now and like I’m not afraid of girls. I’m not trying to learn to stand on my own two feet, and I can’t keep calling what I’m doing art if I don’t really think about what I’m thinking about now. And so I kind of took some time off. I moved out of Los Angeles where what’s next is a big question. I figured out what I wanted to write about and that’s what I’ve been doing the past few years. I’ve been making movies I really care about and it’s a whole different feeling. My existential crises happened at 33 too. It’s very common. It’s actually a very common age to have that happen, but how has the definition of success for you changed since your check-in at 33? Well, one of the things that has stayed the same is what my parents taught me, just be nice to the people around you. That’s key. When I left my house to go like, you know, take on the world, the last thing my mom said to me was, never forget the person you are in this world is a reflection of the job I did as a mother. Oh, I love that. I’m using that. Yes, yes. That’s good. That’s a good one. Yeah. It’s what mothers tend to say, like one of the things my mother said to me as a young woman, always wear clean underwear. You could walk out in the street and get hit by a bus. Doctors would have to cut your clothes off, see that you have on dirty underwear and it would be a reflection on me. And I said to her, not so much worried about me getting hit by the bus? Crazy. Yeah. You have to come back any time. I would love that. Come back and co-host one day. Yeah, you got it. Our thanks to Jason Segel. Check out “Otherworld” and his newest book “Other Earth” is available now and you’re going
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.