Famed Television Lawyer Maurice Levy from The Wire
Updated: Jun 4
The Wire, an HBO show based on the drug-dealer culture of Baltimore, chronicles the lives of a set of characters who meet and grow in the projects surrounding an urban school.
As this week is the 20th anniversary of the show I thought I'd celebrate by showcasing the characters I've had on my show, 5 Minutes with Herb
I've included a partial transcript from my chat with Michael Kostroff during season 2.
"From the flight deck to your tv set, you're watching five minutes with herb. I'm your host Herb Jackson, and as always my goal here today is make this the best five minutes of your day. So I ask that your sit back relax and enjoy the show, welcome aboard."
"Today's guest is a self proclaimed blue collar working actor born and raised in New York City. My guy has carved out quite a career for himself with basically over a hundred acting credits to his name. Some of my favorite shows i've seen him in are Law & Order SVU The Plot Against America, Billions, The Deuce, Bosch, Damages, also you know he killed it as Maurice Levy in my favorite show The Wire. He's also worked in theater being one of the original traveling members of the Mel Brooks production, The Producers, and through that and other experiences he wrote the book letters from backstage so without further ado let's welcome aboard man Michael Kostroff
"Being born and raised in New York city is such an advantage and I see that so many actors that I have watched on tv and movies were born there. Can you give us a little insight and background about New York and why that works so well?"
"Absolutely I mean obviously it's a cultural center so there's exposure to a lot of the arts but it's more than that. It's the melting pot of New York, it's the people watching. We study human behavior as actors and New York is like the best the best lab for that you know. You get to have lots of different experiences and encountered lots of different cultures I feel so lucky to have been born raised in New York."
" Yeah i mean that's i think that's what it is. So growing up there you started taking acting lessons while in school how how did that start off?"
"You know I have the worst origin story of any person I know because it was sort like this. I always knew I wanted to be an actor. It took me a long time to get started because of stuff like, you know lots of low self esteem and you know just not making it. Waiting tables doing all that stuff. I didn't start working a lot until i was in my mid to late thirties maybe forties. But all my life whenever there's a school play, I was in the school play. Whenever there was a play to go see, I went to see the play, because as soon as I knew acting was such a thing, that was my calling."
"You know that's a good thing. Waiting tables is also kind of like the actor cliche isn't it?"
"Oh it's the best! first of all when i got my first waiter job i was like "okay now now i'm an actor" because that's the actors job. Yeah talk about people study, I would subtly improv or or try to speak the language of the people that I was waiting on because you get better tips. You know the guy's in from Brooklyn all of a sudden it's like "what? you want cup of espresso or something?" I would kind give it to them like that. Next thing you know customers are like "I like this guy i don't know what it is." I loved working as a waiter.
"That's awesome!! You've also mentioned that theater was big as you grew up. I understand that it's near dear to your heart. Can you tell us a little bit about that?"
"I loved the theatre especially musical theatre. I thought my career was gonna be as the funny song and dance guy. You know the one, the guy that comes on for the funny scenes. My career ended up being a lot more television drama. My friends are all like "who is that guy?" It's just a testament to the wonderful surprises of life. You don't know where it's gonna go."
See the full interview here