bradley cooper is the latest guest on SmartLessand he has a very personal connection to the show: he credits co-host Will Arnett with helping him get sober.
Cooper went deep during the SmartLess discussion with Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes. He explained of his troubled twenties: “I was so lost and I was addicted to cocaine,” adding that “I severed my Achilles tendon right after I got fired-slash-quit A.k.a” which compounded his problems. Admitting he had “zero self-esteem,” he said he spent “a good, like, year,” trying to “mimic” the mean humor of his comedy heroes. Instead, he ended up “really hurting people’s feelings.”
The actor got “pretty emotional” recalling when Arnett, who was his neighbor at the time (“I didn’t know Will that well then”), dropped by his place. “He was like, ‘Hey man, do you remember we had dinner the other night? How do you think that went?’ I was like–I remember being at the dinner thinking I was so funny, and I thought these two guys who were my heroes thought that I was so funny. I don’t know if you remember this, Will. I was like, ‘I thought it was great. I thought I was killing,’” Cooper shared. “Will’s like, ‘You were a real asshole, man. You were a real asshole.’”
“’And by the way, have your dogs gone out to the bathroom?’ And I was like, ‘What? What time is it?’ ‘It’s four o’clock.’ ‘Oh no.’ ‘I think they have to go to the bathroom, they’re literally standing by the door,’” Cooper remembered their conversation. “And that was like, the first time I realized I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. And it was Will saying that to me. And I’ll just never forget it. I was like, ‘Oh, the guy that I think is doing mean humor is telling me the truth about that.’ …And it changed my entire life.”
He later added, “Will is the reason, he took that risk of having that hard conversation with me in, like, July of 2004, that put me on a path of deciding to change my life. It truly was Will Arnett—he is the reason.”
Arnett, who is sober himself, praised Cooper’s “metamorphosis.” Closing the show, he said to his friend, “We love you man. Just keep fucking doing it. I don’t think I’d ever say this earnestly to anybody but keep fucking reaching for the stars and hitting for outside of the park and taking big swings. It’s fucking awesome and inspiring. Just love you dude.”