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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Chris Colfer; Interview with Craig Robinson
Aired May 27, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Thirty million people watch "Glee" and breakout star Chris Colfer every week. And tonight, he's here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS COLFER, ACTOR, "GLEE": You're probably going to be crying. You're very intimidating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The tender age of not quite 21, he's already made "TIME" magazine's 100 list of the most influential people in the world. He's a role model to millions of fans and hobnobbing with celebrities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You bowed to Lady Gaga?
COLFER: I bowed to Lady Gaga.
MORGAN: She's not royalty.
COLFER: Well, she had a crown on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: He's even met the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What did he say to you?
COLFER: Hi, I'm Barack. And then, of course, when I get excited I get high pitched, so I'm, like, I'm Chris! You know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also tonight, inside the White House with someone who knows the president better than just about anybody else -- the first brother-in-law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What do you call the president?
CRAIG ROBINSON, PRES. OBAMA'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: Oh, when I see him I call him Barack or President Obama or Mr. President. The best one is that guy who goes to his left all the time on the basketball court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Google "Chris Colfer" and you'll get more than 2.5 million results. "Glee's" overnight sensation has millions of fans across the country hanging on his -- literally -- his every word. And he's here, now, and I, too, will be hanging on your every word --
COLFER: Oh, good! Awesome!
MORGAN: How do you do?
COLFER: I'm great, thank you. Thank you.
MORGAN: Now, I've been flipping through magazines. I don't know why I do this to myself, because I picked up "Entertainment Weekly," there you are, the cover.
MORGAN: Which has eluded me so far.
MORGAN: Two --
COLFER: It's coming.
MORGAN: Two copies of "Hollywood Reporter" this year alone.
MORGAN: There you are on both of them. And then, this one. Which absolutely -- I've got to be honest -- sickened me.
MORGAN: I have spent 43 years in journalism, in broadcasting, desperate to get on the top 100 --
MORGAN: -- of "Time" magazine's --
COLFER: And there I am.
MORGAN: -- Most Influential People.
COLFER: Yes. MORGAN: And there you are, first shout. You're not even --
MORGAN: -- not even inside. You're on the cover.
MORGAN: Under the banner.
COLFER: Right under the "M", yes.
MORGAN: The most prominent head on the whole damn page.
COLFER: Yes. It's -- the "M" is right on my forehead.
MORGAN: How old are you?
COLFER: I am turning 21 in two weeks.
MORGAN: This is ridiculous! How did you do this?
COLFER: I have a fantastic publicity team.
COLFER: I mean --
MORGAN: You must pinch yourself, though. When you pick up "Time" magazine --
MORGAN: I mean, you weren't even -- you weren't doing anything before you got this job, were you?
COLFER: No, no, I was just a student and I was in high school a few months before I got the show, and then I was in college for two weeks, and then when I officially got it and -- I was working at a dry cleaner's in the summers to --
MORGAN: Earning how much?
COLFER: I think it was -- oh, gosh!
MORGAN: Make me even more annoyed.
COLFER: No -- in dry cleaner's I was making, I think, $7.25 an hour? I think that was minimum wage at the time.
MORGAN: You were earning $7.25 an hour.
COLFER: An hour, yes.
MORGAN: In a dry cleaner's.
COLFER: In a dry cleaner's, yes.
MORGAN: When you get a call saying, "Are you available to be the heartthrob star of the biggest TV show in America?"
COLFER: Well, I wish it was that picturesque, but no.
MORGAN: It pretty well is like that.
COLFER: Sort of, yes. In a way, yes. Yes, I mean, I was just --
MORGAN: Where were you when you got the call --
COLFER: I was --
MORGAN: -- about "Glee"?
COLFER: Well, I was driving back from the last audition, and I was -- my mom, my mom was driving. And I'm -- I'll never forget, we were just passing Santa Monica Pier and the phone rang and she answered it. And then she just looked at me with that look, and I knew I had it. And --
MORGAN: What's the look?
COLFER: The look was -- like, it looked like she should be driving, she should be paying attention to the road. That was the look that I was giving back to her, but it was just, that "Oooooh!"
COLFER: The look.
MORGAN: And how did you feel? What an extraordinary story for you. But did you realize when you got the call how big it might be? Did you have an inkling?
COLFER: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And had I had any -- any notion that it would become what it was, I mean, I would've been insane. I mean, who could've predicted all of this?
MORGAN: I literally cannot. I was trying to think of anyone --
MORGAN: -- in recent time that has gone from where you started at the dry cleaner's --
MORGAN: -- and a bit of college to the cover of "Time" magazine within a year.
COLFER: It does, yes --
MORGAN: It's absolutely startling. COLFER: It is. It's so surreal that, whenever I have a minute to myself and I stop and think about it, I get so lost in this cloud nine world that it -- it's so hard to come back down from it.
MORGAN: Did you dream of being famous? Were you like all these kids, you did a bit of acting and singing and dancing and so on? Were you thinking in your head, "I really want to be" -- I don't know, whoever?
COLFER: I think I --
MORGAN: Tom Cruise, you know?
MORGAN: Zac Efron?
COLFER: Definitely -- definitely not, no.
MORGAN: Who are your idols?
COLFER: No, I never thought I would ever be of heartthrob stature. But I -- you know, I think I always dreamed of being respected. But I never -- I never had any aspirations of being famous or just being known.
MORGAN: Who did you look up to? Who were your celebrity icons?
COLFER: Oh, gosh! Yikes! I -- honestly, I don't know if I really had any, because there really wasn't anyone there for me to look up to. I mean, yes, I honestly, I had to just keep inspiring myself along the way, but there really was no initial hero.
MORGAN: Really? You never had anyone that you were thinking, "I want to be like that."
COLFER: No. I mean, well, like everyone wants to be Lady Gaga at one point or the other.
MORGAN: I didn't want to be Lady Gaga.
COLFER: Now you're lying. Now you're lying. Everyone wants to be Lady Gaga.
MORGAN: No, no, I really didn't.
COLFER: Everyone --
MORGAN: I've never woken up thinking "I want to be Lady Gaga."
COLFER: Have you ever wanted to be Oprah?
MORGAN: Well, not actually Oprah?
COLFER: OK. Because I always wanted to be Oprah.
COLFER: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
MORGAN: Did you really? That's fascinating.
COLFER: Oh, yes, yes.
MORGAN: Why would you want to be Oprah Winfrey?
COLFER: Who wouldn't want to be Oprah Winfrey, are you kidding? If you don't want to be Oprah Winfrey, there's something wrong with you.
MORGAN: Funny enough, Oprah I do get, yes. Lady Gaga, more you than me.
COLFER: No, she was never like a -- like a -- she's very inspirational for my character, but never -- I don't know. There really wasn't -- I didn't really have a hero growing up, unfortunately.
MORGAN: Did you want to be an actor?
COLFER: Yes, ever since -- I remember I was, like, 3 years old, and I was watching a movie, the title of which escapes me, but -- and I remember the credits came on. And I remember asking my mom why it was over. And I just desperately wanted to be on the other side of it.
And, you know, as I got older, I found out what movies actually were and that there were actors playing these roles and those kids weren't actually living the adventures that you saw them living. But I knew, though, that I wanted to be a part of that world.
MORGAN: When was the moment that, with "Glee," when you realized your life was never going to be the same again? When did it pop for you?
COLFER: I don't know. I think it's -- a constant bubble that keeps getting popped more and more.
MORGAN: Because originally, there has to have been a moment when the ratings come in one day, and you go, uh-oh!
COLFER: I mean, of course, when you're -- it's your first thing, you think as soon as the pilot airs the first time, then suddenly it's going to be this huge thing and you won't be able to walk outside.
But it doesn't quite work that way. It's more of a gradual process.
MORGAN: But for you, what was the "pinch me" moment?
COLFER: Oh, God -- what was the first "pinch me" moment?
MORGAN: The moment when you rang your mum and you were both getting carried away on the phone.
COLFER: Probably -- right.
MORGAN: That's what I'd do with my mother, at least.
COLFER: I think maybe -- I don't know, maybe it was the first time I was recognized, or maybe it was the first time that I drove up to Paramount Studios and had a place for my car to go. I mean, that was so crazy.
MORGAN: Because -- through the gates.
COLFER: Through the gates.
MORGAN: I mean, that's a special moment.
COLFER: And they let me in. They didn't call security after me.
MORGAN: I had the same moment.
COLFER: Yes? Yes?
MORGAN: When I signed up for "America's Got Talent."
MORGAN: I mean, the first day of filming the live shows was through those famous gates.
COLFER: Yes, yes. It's awesome.
MORGAN: Now, that is a moment, isn't it?
COLFER: Yes, it's an amazing feeling, it is.
MORGAN: You're thinking, this is a long way from the dry cleaner's.
COLFER: Yes, absolutely. I mean -- I think just actually getting work, being a working actor, I think, was the moment for me, when I really had the realization.
MORGAN: And then, of course, "Glee" explodes, and your character becomes this iconic character really fast. And you -- I think you're very smart in the way you handled the character and the brand and everything else.
COLFER: Thank you.
MORGAN: And you do this extraordinary speech at the Golden Globes. So, I want to play a little clip, first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COLFER: I have to thank Ryan Murphy for basically being my fairy godfather. Everybody at FOX. Robert Oreck, for submitting me to the show when there was nothing to submit me for. Our amazing, amazing
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLFER: I get really high pitched when I get nervous. Really high pitched.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLFER: -- a very talented cast. You guys deserve this as much as I do. But most importantly to all the amazing kids that watch our show and the kids that our show celebrates who are constantly told no by the people in the environments, by bullies at school that they can't be who they are or what have what they want because of who they are. Well, screw that, kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, that for me was the moment for you. Obviously, you won the Golden Globe, that's big enough. But actually, I remember the media reaction after you made that short but perfectly-phrased speech.
COLFER: Thank you.
MORGAN: And you became a kind of poster boy for kids who are being bullied, you know, for whatever reason. And it wasn't -- unless I'm wrong, it wasn't just about kids who may be gay or whatever. It's just kids who feel they're outsiders, right?
COLFER: Right, absolutely. I think -- I think maybe somewhere in my mind I knew that when I made that speech that Kurt was affecting more than just gay kids, he was affecting lots of kids who are just being bullied in general. So, I think maybe that's why -- I don't remember that moment at all. I was in such an adrenaline high that I can't recall anything.
MORGAN: If your voice had gotten much higher --
COLFER: If it had gotten higher, then --
MORGAN: I would've recommended you joining the Bee Gees.
MORGAN: It was out of control.
COLFER: Had it been higher, God. Can you imagine the dogs that would've been howling --
MORGAN: Windows cracking all over Hollywood.
COLFER: -- for miles and miles? I know. Gosh, people's glasses would've been breaking, yes. MORGAN: But what a thrilling moment for you, though.
COLFER: Yes, no. It's the best.
MORGAN: But to then have the poise to come out with what you did, whether you planned them or not, and clearly by the sound of it, you didn't, really.
MORGAN: But as you were walking up, you just thought -- what were you thinking?
COLFER: I remember when I was walking up, I kept thinking to myself: do not trip on a chair or a table on the way up there, because it was so possible, because there were so many things in my way.
But honestly, I don't remember anything about the moment. I just remember getting up there and saying what I felt, and then looking out into the audience and thanking everyone that I could physically see and remember who they were. Because there were people that I saw, but I couldn't remember their name at the moment, so I didn't thank them.
But -- and then, thank God, I was a big speech and debate kid in high school, and thank God I was, because otherwise I probably would've spoken Spanish up there. I don't --
MORGAN: But, obviously, you -- like, I'd imagine all people who get bullied at school, you can probably remember who these bullies were.
MORGAN: Does it please you that you were able to have this wonderful moment of payback, really.
COLFER: Now, there's a diplomatic answer that I could give, but --
MORGAN: Forget that.
MORGAN: Give me the straight answer.
COLFER: Yes! Oh, God, yes! Yes! And those individuals, I just -- it's almost like you want to say, "Suck it!" to them, like, right there. I should've just said that, given names and Social Security numbers instead.
COLFER: But no, it's great.
MORGAN: Do you remember their names?
COLFER: Yes, of course. Of course.
MORGAN: Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to just smoke out now?
COLFER: No, I hated them all equally, no.
MORGAN: Tell me about that period when you were being bullied. Because obviously that speech you made applied, as you said, to all kids being bullied out there. What is that feeling like, for someone who's never been through it? How did it make you feel?
COLFER: I was just embarrassed, because -- I mean, I would walk by these people that I barely knew in the hallway, and they'd just scream profanities at me that I didn't think were true at the time. And of course, everyone else in the hallway would laugh and -- of course, I had some amazing, legendary comebacks, but it's embarrassing. And it's uncalled for. Especially when they don't know you and you don't know them.
And I was a really, really good kid. I mean, I wasn't necessarily the best student, but I was a fantastic kid. And it was just -- it was heart-wrenching. It was heartbreaking.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. When we come back, we'll talk about "Glee," the phenomenon.
MORGAN: How important it is not just to you and the cast, but also to America now.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: That was the Lady Gaga episode of "Glee," of course, which was brilliant to watch. And I love Lady Gaga. To me, she's just a phenomenon who completely gets what it takes to be a modern-day brand, doesn't she?
MORGAN: And never mind anything else.
COLFER: She -- absolutely, she understands her fans.
MORGAN: Yes. Did you meet her when she came on?
COLFER: A couple times.
MORGAN: What did you make of her?
COLFER: Well, I completely embarrassed myself to no end. I mean, I bowed. Who does that?
MORGAN: You bowed to Lady Gaga?
COLFER: I bowed to Lady Gaga.
MORGAN: She's not royalty.
COLFER: Well, she had a crown on. So, you know?
MORGAN: What did she say to you?
COLFER: "Thank you."
MORGAN: Did you have to, then, do anything else?
COLFER: No, I just ran. I kind of ran out of the --
MORGAN: Did you get to have a proper conversation with her?
COLFER: No, I don't think I'll ever be able to have a proper conversation with her after that.
MORGAN: You'd be too nervous?
COLFER: I'd be way too -- yes, right.
MORGAN: Is she like an iconic figure for you?
COLFER: I -- you know, she's actually one of the first people in my generation whose music I liked. Like, everyone before her, I really -- I didn't care for too much. Like growing up. There wasn't too much to choose from.
But she's really the first person that I've connected to music and have liked it.
MORGAN: Here's an interesting question for you. You've been -- you went -- recently went to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And there you are in one of the top tables. I'm always curious about the reality when you meet, for example, a lot of right-wing politicians or commentators or whatever. I bet they're just all over you like a rash about "Glee," right?
COLFER: Oh, everyone loves "Glee." Everyone loves "Glee," everyone loves me in "Glee," and it's hysterical.
MORGAN: And you know that -- you quietly know they're all voting against gay rights.
COLFER: Yes, yes. Because I, like a huge nerd, do watch CSPAN occasionally. And -- so, it's great when people come up, and they're like, "Oh, my God, I just love you, can I have a picture with you?"
And I'll be like, "Yes, sure. You don't believe in me or my rights, but you want a picture with me. Sure, sure, I'll take a picture with you." MORGAN: And do you let them have the picture.
COLFER: Yes, I might as well. I mean --
MORGAN: Do you ever say to them, "I know how you voted"?
COLFER: Well, here's the thing. What if something else comes along, and they think, no, that gay kid from "Glee" didn't give me a picture, I'm going to vote no. Take that.
MORGAN: But do you think that they will ever change their mind because you give them a picture?
COLFER: Maybe. Who knows? I think it's more likely they'll change their mind positively if I give them the picture rather than not.
MORGAN: But that's just fascinating. You know who they are when they ask you?
COLFER: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yes, absolutely.
MORGAN: And you know how they voted?
COLFER: Yes, yes. Usually, yes.
MORGAN: I love that.
COLFER: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: I mean, do you feel like you're winning when you have that moment with them?
COLFER: A little bit. It is kind of nice when people -- yes. When people believe so strongly against you, yet they want proof that they met you. It's kind of awesome.
MORGAN: I mean, you've obviously become this -- as I say, iconic figure. Do you feel that America is fast becoming much less homophobic? Or do you feel that as gay rights become much more prominent and successes are being achieved, in a funny way, it's becoming in certain pockets, more homophobic as they try and resist this change?
COLFER: I don't know, because I know that I surround myself with positivity towards the situation and not negativity. But I certainly hope so, and I certainly have witnessed firsthand the progress that's been made and some of the progress that myself and the show have made.
So, I like to believe that yes, yes, that it has definitely improved.
MORGAN: You stopped Googling yourself --
MORGAN: Because of all the abuse out there.
COLFER: Oh, God, yes. I --
MORGAN: If it makes you feel better, you should have a look at my name on Google. Seriously.
COLFER: Yes. I mean, no. The last time I Googled myself was, I think, like September 2009.
MORGAN: And it was so shocking you stopped. But what did you find there? What kind of things?
COLFER: It was just -- high school again. It was high school all over again, people making fun of my voice, people making fun of the way I looked. I mean, it was -- it was just bullying in another form.
MORGAN: And that hurt?
COLFER: Yes, because I mean, it's ridiculous when people have like strong opinions about you when it's about things you can't control.
Like, an example, my voice. I cannot control how high-pitched I get when I get excited. I wish I could control it. There are so many situations when I wish I wasn't squealing, but I -- it's something I do.
MORGAN: But if your voice didn't have that kind of tone to it, you probably wouldn't be the singer you are.
COLFER: Maybe not, maybe not.
MORGAN: It's all hand-in-hand, isn't it?
COLFER: Right, it comes --
MORGAN: You're never going to get everything you want.
COLFER: No, no, not yet.
MORGAN: And the grass is always --
COLFER: Well -- well --
MORGAN: But you --
COLFER: I mean --
MORGAN: You're not going to mention it again, are you?
COLFER: No, no. MORGAN: My God, talk about rubbing it in! I like that, I like that. You might as well enjoy it.
COLFER: Might as well.
MORGAN: If I was on the cover of "Time" magazine, I would carry this around with me all day long.
COLFER: Yes, you might as well, because --
MORGAN: I really would.
COLFER: Oh, thanks, thanks. Oh, I almost did.
MORGAN: What did your mother say when she saw this?
COLFER: It's so funny. Whenever I call -- my dad is always over-the-moon excited and just so proud and just so excited. And whenever I call my mom, my mom always gets silent for, like, two minutes on the phone. And she'll go, "Who are you?"
COLFER: It's just she's just -- and she gets -- she apologizes. "I'm just so sorry, Christopher, I don't mean to get silent on the phone, I just -- I'm so proud of you, I just can't believe you came out of me. It's just crazy."
MORGAN: My mother just says to me, "You're looking very pale. Are you working too hard again?"
COLFER: Oh! That's sweet.
MORGAN: It's what mothers do, isn't it?
COLFER: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: They don't really see you in the way that everybody else does.
COLFER: No, no.
MORGAN: Tell me about how the fame thing has impacted your life. I mean, are you finding that you're getting more attractive because of the fame?
COLFER: Oh, sure. I hope so. I don't know, I think --
MORGAN: You know what I mean, though? It's like fame is such a sort of magnet to people, isn't it?
COLFER: Kind of, kind of. A little bit. I think fame is great until the day comes when you are afraid to leave your house alone, and then the day when your name is used as an adjective in a negative form.
MORGAN: It's interesting, that. It's that culture, isn't it? Of envy, resentment of people's success. That goes with the territory, doesn't it?
COLFER: That's -- yes, absolutely.
MORGAN: Do you think you're -- are you equipped to deal with all this?
COLFER: Sometimes. Sometimes not. Sometimes I do get very overwhelmed with it, and sometimes -- I'm quite frightened by it, to be honest.
MORGAN: It is scary.
COLFER: It is scary. It's very scary. And there really is a whole other world that people don't see. They always see in front of the camera. They never really see the behind-the-scenes stuff. But --
MORGAN: And what's behind-the-scenes stuff with you?
COLFER: You know, like the security risks and the security issues that are very frightening that people don't know about, because I don't want them to know about. But --
MORGAN: What's the scariest thing that's happened to you?
COLFER: I was at a movie theater once, and I was by myself, stupidly, and I was semi-mobbed. But it got very physical, and people were pulling at me and grabbing at me. And I had to call the police. And the next day, I was covered in bruises because people got so physical with me.
MORGAN: As it was going on, what were you thinking?
COLFER: Not much. I kind of -- I went to my happy place. But --
MORGAN: I would go to my unhappy place if that was happening.
COLFER: No, I definitely had to go to my happy place.
MORGAN: Were you worried about whether you might even survive this? Was it that --
COLFER: Absolutely. I mean --
MORGAN: It was crazy, right?
COLFER: It's crazy, but I mean, in -- it's really a mind trip because, on one hand, you're -- you want them to stop. You want it to stop.
But on the other hand, you know that if you -- since you are in the public eye, that if you are a raging jerk and say "Get off me, leave me alone," then you know it's going to be written about the next day and people are going to say, you know, stuff -- there'll be talk about what a jerk you are, because you said that.
MORGAN: Have you had stalkers?
COLFER: Not -- not really. Some form of stalking is flattering, you know?
MORGAN: If they're good-looking.
COLFER: If they're very good-looking, I don't call it stalking, I call it pursuing. Strongly pursing.
MORGAN: How do you deal with the dating process when you're really famous? I mean, how can you trust people?
COLFER: I don't know. I mean, I think it's -- I don't know how you deal with it. I -- because I think there's always the question if -- like what people's real intentions are.
COLFER: But I don't know. I think you just have to wish for the best. It's a gamble.
MORGAN: Life's a gamble, though, isn't it?
COLFER: Life is a gamble.
MORGAN: We've got another short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about Project Uncycling, including this movie that you're about to start making.
COLFER: Sure, sure.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: That was a moving scene from "Glee" starring my guest today, Chris Colfer. I mean, that -- powerful stuff, that. I mean, "Glee" gets a reputation of being a light, fun vaguely frivolous show, but actually, there are moments like that which are really significant.
MORGAN: And have a real impact on America. COLFER: Right, right. All the light, fluffy stuff makes all the stuff that punches you that much stronger.
MORGAN: When do you feel -- apart from the fact that you seem to be crying in every single episode that I've watched --
COLFER: I do. I do. And it's always -- one of my biggest acting things is that it has to be my tears, otherwise I think I'm cheating.
MORGAN: How do you get your tears to work?
COLFER: It's really just a -- kind of like a glancing.
MORGAN: Can you do it now?
COLFER: Well, now. I can't do it -- I can't do it now.
MORGAN: I've heard some of you actors can actually just literally --
COLFER: Yes, I'm not that good at it, but --
MORGAN: How long would it take you to get into tear mode?
COLFER: Well, it depends on the scene. If I'm sobbing, maybe like a minute to get things running down.
MORGAN: A minute?
COLFER: A minute. Or if it's just like a huge -- like one or two, then it's like a couple seconds.
MORGAN: You could get tears in a couple of seconds?
COLFER: I could, I could, yes.
MORGAN: Come on!
COLFER: I don't think I could do it on the spot, I mean --
MORGAN: Why not?
COLFER: Well, not -- unless it's scripted. Unless I have time to --
MORGAN: Well, I'll lay the script. I'll play -- I don't know, I'll play one of the other -- I'll play Matthew Morrison's character.
COLFER: Yes, OK.
MORGAN: And I'm saying something really, really upsetting to you.
COLFER: No, I can't, I can't. I can't do it now.
MORGAN: It'd be great TV, if you could do that --
COLFER: I know, it would be great TV to do that stuff.
MORGAN: Is it like a magician revealing his secrets?
COLFER: Yes, right, that's --
MORGAN: You're feeling awkward about it?
COLFER: That's what it is. That's what it is. I have to do this whole chant before I can do it, and I can't do that right now.
MORGAN: But can all actors do that? Can they all do it? To order?
COLFER: No -- no, I mean it's -- no, because sometimes you just can't do it because your body can't produce tears, so you can't.
MORGAN: I couldn't. If someone said to me, cry, I couldn't think how to even start. I haven't cried in about 10 years. I don't know how you do it.
COLFER: Yes. It's funny, I haven't -- I really have not cried off camera in years.
COLFER: I don't think I've cried --
MORGAN: When was the last time?
COLFER: The last time I cried. My grandmother's funeral. Like two, two and a half years ago. That's the last time I cried -- I cried. Every time I've done it so far since then it's been in front of the camera.
MORGAN: And yet, in the show, literally, almost every episode --
COLFER: Right, I'm in tears.
MORGAN: -- there'll be a moment when you're in tears.
COLFER: Oh, yes. Yes.
MORGAN: So, you're not actually that emotional off camera?
COLFER: No, no. I would say for me, what works is, I'm about 20 percent emotional and 80 percent physical. I think everything I do is very physical with panache.
MORGAN: With all that's happened to you, has it toughened you up a bit, do you think? All that bullying, all that ostracizing? COLFER: Yes, yes. I think so.
MORGAN: You've got to steel --
COLFER: Excuse me.
MORGAN: -- steelier side to you than you had when you were growing up?
COLFER: I think it made me a very sarcastic person, for sure. I think sarcasm comes from -- from hard times.
MORGAN: The good thing is, you're now welling up because you've been coughing.
COLFER: Been coughing, yes.
MORGAN: So we can -- we can now cut this to make it look like you've officially started crying.
COLFER: Right, that I started crying, right, absolutely. It's just horrible allergies, that's why I can do it. Horrible allergies.
MORGAN: Is it fun, "Glee"? Or is it like all these shows, actually incredibly hard work to make.
COLFER: It is -- I'd be lying if I didn't say that it was a lot of work. It -- I mean, we are working constantly, and --
MORGAN: When did you finish working on this scene?
COLFER: We finished season two yesterday at 4:00 in the morning.
COLFER: Yes. So -- yes, we are constantly working, and it's really hard to hear actors complain about their schedule -- other actors in other TV shows complain about their four-hour-a-day tapings and all of that, because we really are working constantly.
MORGAN: And do you now get time off, or what happens?
COLFER: No, no. We, on our hiatus that we get, we go on a music tour. Yes. I mean, it's an amazing, amazing, amazing thing to be a part of, but it's a lot of work.
MORGAN: And you're also doing a movie in all this?
COLFER: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: How are you going to fit that in?
COLFER: Well, the tour ends on July 5th or 4th, I believe, and as soon as it's over, I am literally going straight to a plane and flying to the set in LA.
MORGAN: And then, the moment that finishes, you're back into "Glee."
COLFER: And then I'm back into doing "Glee."
MORGAN: Do you get any time off at all?
COLFER: No, no. But that's self-inflicted.
MORGAN: Even a day?
COLFER: Maybe -- I'll get like a day here and there.
MORGAN: When you see the schedule, before it used to say dry cleaner's --
MORGAN: -- college.
COLFER: Yes. School, work, school, work.
MORGAN: That's it, right?
COLFER: Yes. School, work, grandma's house, school work.
MORGAN: When you see it now and it says "Glee" tour, movie, "Glee" --
COLFER: Insane, yes.
COLFER: It is. It's just -- it's insanity. And sometimes I think, maybe -- maybe I'm still back in my hometown and I just went insane. And I'm sitting there in some mental institution just rocking thinking all of this is true.
MORGAN: Is there anything else you're up to, other than all this?
COLFER: There --
MORGAN: Or is that enough this year, is it?
COLFER: Right. No, there are a thousand things that I'm up to. I'm doing a -- developing a television show for Disney right now. Yes, I have tons of projects up my sleeve that I haven't announced yet.
MORGAN: Of all the famous people you've met, who's been the most inspiring to you when you actually met them?
MORGAN: Apart from present company.
COLFER: Besides -- MORGAN: Publicly, yes.
COLFER: Oh, of course, of course. Well, I was considering. Sheesh, I don't know. Give me a minute to think about this.
MORGAN: I'm just curious who you may have met who said something --
COLFER: Who I've met --
MORGAN: -- that has actually been quite profound to you for whatever reason.
MORGAN: Because you're now mixing in these rarefied circles.
COLFER: Yes, no. I mean --
MORGAN: Did you meet the president?
COLFER: I did. I met the president, yes.
MORGAN: What did he say to you?
COLFER: "Hi, I'm Barack."
MORGAN: He didn't say that.
COLFER: He did. He said, "Hi, I'm Barack." And I said, "I know."
COLFER: And then, of course, when I get excited, I get high- pitched, so I'm like, "I'm Chris!"
COLFER (in normal voice): You know? He probably thought I was like, some Mickey Mouse impersonator.
MORGAN: Did he know you?
COLFER: I think his daughters did. No, I don't think -- I think he's a little busy --
COLFER: -- to watch "Glee."
MORGAN: He didn't say he watched it religiously?
COLFER: No, no, he wasn't like, "Oh, I loved you in 'Single Ladies.'" No, he didn't --
COLFER: He didn't -- I mean, I was praying. I was praying I'd get that, but no.
MORGAN: But apart from the president, which is obviously a very thrilling moment, what's been the most excited you've been to meet anyone?
COLFER: I loved meeting Oprah because, I mean, who wouldn't?
MORGAN: Yes, what was she like with you?
COLFER: Great, great. Very -- very welcoming and gave everyone hugs and friendly and -- and awesome. I've gotten to meet a lot of my heroes.
MORGAN: I'll bet for your mother, when she was watching you on "Oprah" --
MORGAN: -- that was quite a moment.
COLFER: She was upset because she didn't get to go with me.
COLFER: So, she was -- she was mad about that.
MORGAN: So, your mother isn't getting demanding about fame, now, right?
COLFER: A little bit, a little bit, a little bit, yes. She called me the other day, and she's like, "Oh, Christopher, I did this interview for -- with other people about famous mothers. I hope you don't mind."
COLFER: And I'm like --
MORGAN: I had to ban my mother from talking to the media.
COLFER: Right? I tried.
MORGAN: Years ago
COLFER: I tried.
MORGAN: I said, "That's it."
MORGAN: "You're not allowed to talk ever again." COLFER: You know what my biggest fear is, which upsets my parents is, because I was so young doing all these things, I didn't want to look like I had stage parents that were, you know, guiding me on a leash. So I never invited them to anything the first couple of years that we're doing this.
And now, a couple years have past, and they're like, "Oh, when do we get to come to that?" And I'm like, "Maybe next season."
MORGAN: Chris, it's been a real pleasure.
COLFER: Thank you, thank you.
MORGAN: Good luck with it all.
Coming up, a White House insider like no other. Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson.
MORGAN: You could call Craig Robinson, first brother-in-law, but Michelle Obama's brother is also a college basketball star-turned-very successful coach, and the author of "A Game of Character: A Family Journey from Chicago's South Side to the Ivy League and Beyond."
And Craig Robinson joins me now.
See, Craig, I read this book. Fascinating book.
ROBINSON: Thank you.
MORGAN: For many reasons.
ROBINSON: Thank you.
MORGAN: As I read it, I was thinking, so this guy goes to Princeton, you get an MBA from the University of Chicago. You're the coach of an amazing basketball team, Oregon State, a life of unparalleled excellence and success.
And just when you're claiming all bragging rights in the family, your sister goes and marries the guy that becomes president of the United States. I mean, that's a bummer, isn't it?
ROBINSON: For some people it could be. But what you have to understand, Piers, is that my sister spent entire life being Craig Robinson's little sister. Everywhere she went, it was Craig, Craig.
And she does a great impression of this. It's like Craig, Craig, Craig, Craig, Craig. You're Craig's sister. Are you Craig's little sister? And she's had to put up with that her entire life. And now, it's only fair I spend some time being Michelle Obama's older brother.
MORGAN: I mean, are you proud to be Michelle Obama's older brother?
ROBINSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. She's just such a bright light for the family, for the country, for her own individual family, and I couldn't be more proud of her.
MORGAN: Reading the book, very interesting, you're very modest beginnings that you had as family. Tell me about the early days.
ROBINSON: You know, I talk about this in "A Game of Character." It didn't seem modest to us. It felt like we lived in castle even though we lived in this one-bedroom apartment. And it was filled with love and lessons and tenderness. And they're the kind of lessons that resonate at the kitchen table as they did for us on the basketball court as it does for my team and in the boardroom as it did when I was working in corporate America.
MORGAN: When I se Michelle, whom I've never met, when I see her, she shows remarkable poise and apparent self-confidence. And you're similar.
You know, you're a confident man but you're a warm character. I can tell that. You can tell that from the book. You're obviously similar personalities.
Are you amazed at how she's dealt with becoming first lady?
ROBINSON: Wow. Amazed? I'm amazed that she is the first lady. I mean, you know, who does that? Who grows up on the south side of Chicago and, as you pointed out, very modest background, and ends up being the first lady?
MORGAN: Well, the answer is nobody. Nobody has done that.
ROBINSON: That's right.
MORGAN: That's what makes her position so completely unique, and Barack Obama's, for that matter.
ROBINSON: Right. And her ability to step into that role has -- is a real tribute, I think, to our parents. I mean, you know, whatever we've been asked to do in life or shown to do, it's been a really -- it's been -- our parents wanted us to do it with -- with love, hard work, empathy, compassion, and you see all of that in my sister.
MORGAN: What do you call the president now, when you see him?
ROBINSON: Oh, when I see him I call him Barack or President Obama or Mr. President. I've called him all the best -- all of those. The best one is that guy who goes to his left all the time on the basketball court.
MORGAN: Doesn't it feel even stranger calling him Mr. President?
ROBINSON: It does.
MORGAN: This guy, your sister -- I mean, take me back to first time you met him.
ROBINSON: It is -- it is so surreal. And it's one of the favorite stories from "A Game of Character" is when my sister brought him home, so to speak, and asked -- after she introduced us and we saw things were going well --
MORGAN: Had you heard of him before?
ROBINSON: You know, I had heard she was dating a guy who was a Harvard guy and they worked together in the summer and this, that, and the other. But I sort of took it like I took most of her boyfriends. I figured the guy would be gone, 86'd in about two months. And so, I didn't pay much attention.
But then after a while, when we got to meet him, I was, like, wow, this guy has such a different background from ours, but you could tell right away he had the same values that our family did but raised completely different. So, they dated for a few months, and she came back and asked me to take him to play ball. She heard my father and I talk about how you can tell a guy's personality and character based on how he plays on the basketball court.
So, to make a long story short, it was tough for me to say yes to agree to that, but I did, and I took him out to play and just was -- it was reinforced what a wonderful guy he was. He was completely unselfish on the court. He was quietly confident to be playing with a bunch of guys who were ex-college and pro basketball players.
And the best part about him was that he didn't try to suck up to me by just passing me the ball. You know, he played the game like it should have been played. So, I was able to report back to my sister that this is a pretty good guy based on our --
MORGAN: Are you a good judge of character from the way people perform on a basketball court? Is it as simple as those things that he was doing means he's a good man?
ROBINSON: You know, it's hard when you get fatigued to shield your real personality. That's what I'll say. It's not always an indicator, but you can do a lot of -- you can sort a lot out by watching a guy play.
MORGAN: We'll take a short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the first moment you walked through the White House as the brother-in-law of the president of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBINSON: Together, I've watched Michelle and Barack strengthen each other. I've watched them create a home filled with love and grounded in faith. During challenging times, I've watched Michelle and Barack stand by each other. And I know they'll stand by you, the American people, now and in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Craig Robinson introducing his sister, Michelle Obama, at the Democratic National Convention.
And Craig is back with me now.
It's quite a moment for you, for the family, for everyone. When was the moment -- when Michelle was dating Barack, when was the moment that you realized this guy may be something special politically?
ROBINSON: Oh, I had no idea at the time when I met him. I mean, he was -- he was a lawyer. He had been a community organizer. I knew he had political aspirations, but he never came off as a political guy to me. He always seemed like just a normal, smart guy, great personality, who looked like he'd be a good fit with my sister. That's how I looked at it.
And it wasn't until he really started getting into politics and those first early campaigns where I saw, you know, he's got a gift for this.
MORGAN: I remember watching him speak for the first time around 2004, I think it was, thinking wow, who is this guy? Because he had -- he just had something. I don't know if people picked up on it and then, obviously, he ended up running and he ended up winning. And then you make your speech there. What's the moment like for you personally, on a human level, when you walk into the White House for the first time with your brother-in-law as the president of the United States?
ROBINSON: Well, I got to tell you, the first thing, Piers, that struck me was how small the inside of the White House was.
MORGAN: It's a lot smaller than you think, isn't it?
ROBINSON: It is. I mean, the rooms are small. The building looks grand, but when you go in, it's really small. And I'll tell you, the only bed that's big enough for a 6'6" guy is the one in the Lincoln bedroom.
MORGAN: So if you don't get that, you've had it.
ROBINSON: That's right. That's right. My feet are hanging off. But --
MORGAN: But was it a surreal moment for you?
ROBINSON: And it still is. And I try to get into this, but I don't get to flesh it out really well. It is remarkably weird walking in there and knowing that my mom and my sister and my brother-in-law, my nieces live there. I mean, it's just -- you can't possibly get your arms around it, even after this period of time. But it's just -- it's truly a rewarding opportunity. And every time I go, it's very exciting.
MORGAN: What do you think is the greatest mischaracterization of the Obamas from your standpoint? Something that annoys you most when you see them described as whatever?
ROBINSON: You know, I would love to tell you that there was something that bothers me, but nothing that anybody says bothers me. And, you know, I talk about that in a game of character, how my mom, at an early age, helped us with our self esteem by saying to us, if you're doing the right things, it doesn't matter what people say about you. If you're doing your best, working your hardest and you have good intentions, then just do what you do.
MORGAN: Do you ever argue with the president about what he's doing as president?
ROBINSON: Are you kidding? No. He's much smarter than I am.
MORGAN: You never did?
ROBINSON: No, no. We may have -- before he was president, the argument about which Chicago Bulls team was better than the other one, because we're both great Chicago Bulls fans. But, no, I --
MORGAN: You're not tempted over the breakfast table to say, hey, come on, Mr. President, about this policy of yours.
ROBINSON: No, no, not at all. And I appreciate the fact that he stays out of my team's business, too.
MORGAN: How did you feel when you discovered that your brother- in-law had ordered the mission, the successful mission that killed Osama bin Laden?
ROBINSON: Well, I have to say I was probably like most of the people who heard the news. It was extremely moving, and then extremely thankful, and exhilarated that it worked.
MORGAN: He didn't even tell Michelle, he said.
ROBINSON: Yes. I'm sure, I'm sure that's the case. And, you know, it is -- you talk about character and integrity. Just -- you think about how wonderful our armed forces specialists are and all the people who are fighting for this country. And it just -- it was a very humbling and sobering thought that went through my mind and just made me glad that I live here.
MORGAN: And, finally, will you be out on the stump for him next election campaign?
ROBINSON: Well, if they need me. I don't know if they'll need me. If they need me, I'll be willing to help, as always. But -- MORGAN: I read this, I would definitely bring you into the team.
Craig Robinson --
ROBINSON: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: -- I think you're a secret weapon.
ROBINSON: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Very nice to meet you.
ROBINSON: Nice to meet you. Thanks for having me on.
MORGAN: My pleasure.
When we come on, a preview of my interview with my "America's Got Talent' colleague Nick Cannon.
MORGAN: We go now to the winners of my other show, "America's Got Talent," ventriloquist Terry Fator and his trusted puppet Winston, Mississippi blues singer Michael Grim and the show's host, Nick Cannon. Listen to what he has to say about his wife Mariah Carey and their new baby twins.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tell me about your lovely wife, who is, I have to say, delightful.
NICK CANNON, "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT" HOST: Thank you.
MORGAN: She makes me laugh.
CANNON: I hate it when you say that.
MORGAN: She looks sexy. Beautiful.
CANNON: I know there's this nasty undertone that you have. Every time you say something about my wife, I could just imagine --
MORGAN: The reason you don't like it is because you know she's always flirtatious around me. That's what annoys you.
CANNON: No, you're overly flirtatious with her. That is the problem. And I don't know how to stop that. My neighborhood, we do things to people.
MORGAN: Are you threatening me? You're threatening me with physical violence, aren't you?
CANNON: I am. Stop hitting on my wife every time you see her, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A lively encounter with Nick Cannon. You can see the rest of that interview on Monday. And that's it for tonight.
Now here's Anderson Cooper.