Matthew Weiner grabs his phone and flips to a photo of him with Kim Kardashian. The creator and executive producer of “Mad Men” was at Time magazine’s 100 Gala, where he saw Kanye perform — but more importantly, he got a picture with the Instagram queen herself.
“This is when you know your life has become
stupid,” he jokes.
It just became more stupid. Weiner now has something in common with Lady Gaga, Richard Branson, Will and Jaden Smith, and Mark Ruffalo: He’s been guest editor for a day at Metro. Weiner doesn’t have the instant recognizability of his “Mad Men” stars Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss or John Slattery, but once you find out who he is — he’s a rock star. He’s helmed, and often written and even sometimes directed, 92 hours of a hit TV show about America’s past that has changed its current culture.
In person, though, he’s humble and, even more importantly, excitable and friendly. He’s a talker, as anyone who’s read or seen interviews with him knows, with an ability to answer even the most trivial question with a thoughtful (and long) answer. But he’s also a listener, and he gabs with everybody even before drinks are served.
The subject of newspapers — that is, actual pieces of paper with words on them — is close to his heart, especially now that their prestige is in decline. “It’s counterintuitive to suggest that something like this would disappear,” he tells us. “I think people like the tactile sense of having a newspaper. Anyone who threw out their records knew they made a mistake when the turntables started coming back. I think human beings like to have something to carry around.”
One of the pieces he assigned us was how gender issues have improved, if not as much as they could have. “Talking about gender was not a popular thing when we went on the air,” Weiner tells us. But having characters like Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway has helped spark discussions about equal pay. “I love that the show’s been part of this conversation. I feel like feminism retracted between when I was in college in the late ’80s and when the show went on the air.”
Another topic the show has helped bring front and center: cocktails. “I love the cocktail culture, but I’m irritated by how long it takes to get a drink,” he jokes.
In between answering reader questions (check Metro.us for some of the answers to your most pressing questions), Weiner also downed an Old Fashioned.
“It’s the most manly womanly drink there is,” he adds.
Weiner, who said he loves Old Fashioneds, was pleasantly surprised to see the "Mad Men" signature cocktail at Metro, but wondered where the cherry was. "We don't have the cherries," said the bartender.
As Metro staffers knocked back their drinks, Weiner complimented the mixologist. "This is a good old-fashioned," he said.
"But I still miss the mashed cherry."