Scottish actor Alan Cumming did not have a traditionally happy childhood. Describing the fraught relationship with his father in his new memoir, Not My Father’s Son, Alan, who has starred in everything from X-Men to The Good Wife, went in to further detail about his coming-of-age years on the The Michelangelo Signorile Show.

Cumming starts by noting that though Not My Father’s Son depicts more tragic situations than humorous ones, he admits “there’s a sort of surreal quality to them that can be funny.”

“I don’t necessarily think that humor is a thing that I’m particularly using as a salve. Maybe because I’m Scottish, that’s part of our national, natural condition. We infuse with everything with a dark sense of humor.”

Cumming continues: “There’s also bits in the book that are about my life now, and the bit that I think is the most hilarious is the final conversation that I had with my father — which is really a very devastating conversation — I actually said to him, ‘This is the last time we’ll ever speak to each other.’ I put the phone down and I realized that I was entirely dressed in drag. He would be totally horrified if he could have seen me.”

Finally, Cumming touched on his role as Eli Gold on The Good Wife: “I’d said to my team that I wanted to maybe do a TV show based in New York — an ensemble thing. My New Year’s resolution last year was to wear more suits. Within weeks, I was Eli.”

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