You can place Bob Balaban. Look at him. Here are some hints: Seinfeld, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Christopher Guest's improvised comedies (Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind), The Good Wife, Capote, Netflix's Wormwood, the last few Wes Anderson films -- including his latest, the animated Isle of Dogs.
OK, you can place Bob Balaban. Now it's time to know Bob Balaban.
With a career dating back to the '60s -- he appeared in Midnight Cowboy -- the actor, now 72, has always drifted comfortably between the big and small screens, and has also worked steadily behind the camera as a writer (e.g., Robert Altman's Gosford Park is based on an idea by him) and director (episodes of Eerie, Indiana, Nurse Jackie, and more). But like so many other certified "That Guy" character actors, his prolific creative efforts are often easily overlooked. If Wes Anderson is obsessed with this guy, though, shouldn't we all be obsessed with this guy? Probably! Which is why Thrillist jumped at the chance to ask Bob Balaban a few questions about how he became Bob Frickin' Balaban.