Adam Scott’s success has been a long time coming. Now he’s moving up with his hit comedy series, Party Down.

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FUNNY HOW MOST STORIES billed as overnight successes actually took considerably longer to come to fruition. For Adam Scott, it took 15 years. The 37-year-old paid his dues with memorable, if brief, guest spots on TV shows such as NYPD Blue and Party of Five, as well as in scores of low-budget films.

Then suddenly (read: overnight), he was cast in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. Before he knew it, he had landed a lead on HBO’s controversial series Tell Me You Love Me and then snagged an indelible gig as Will Ferrell’s brother in the smash hit Step Brothers. Now Scott can be seen on Starz’s Party Down, created by Paul Rudd and Veronica Mars showrunner Rob Thomas. Scott stars as Henry Pollard, a struggling actor who pays the bills by catering Hollywood parties with a ragtag group of cohorts. As the show’s second season gets under way, we talked to Scott about his success, sneaking into awards shows and the other Adam Scott.

After the past couple of years you’ve had, I think the general public is finally done confusing Adam Scott the actor with Adam Scott the PGA golfer.
Oh, thanks. Finally. [Laughs] But never underestimate Adam Scott the golfer. Just when you think he’s down for good, he comes back. I don’t know anything about golf, but apparently he’s really great. We should do a music video together or something.

Some of your best work to date is on Party Down.
I love Party Down. It’s my favorite thing to do. We just finished season two, and we’re all hoping we can do a third season.

What can we look forward to in season two?
Megan Mullally joins the cast of our “cast members,” aka caterers. There are power struggles. There’s a love story going in different directions. And some of the parties we do are crazy: a Marilyn Manson backstage party, a wedding, a draft-pick party that goes horribly wrong. Plus, we cater Steve Guttenberg’s birthday party, and no one shows up.

Your work in last year’s The Vicious Kind earned you a best-actor nomination at the independent spirit Awards, where you were competing against guys such as Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth.
When I got the call [that I had been nominated], I couldn’t believe it. I spent hours thinking, Is this some sort of weird, not-quite-actually, off-brand, fake-out awards-show thing that we’re supposed to think is the actual, incredibly cool, respectable Spirit Awards? Because it couldn’t actually be the real Spirit Awards. Turns out it was the real Spirit Awards.

You and Jeff Bridges actually have a history at the Spirit Awards, don’t you?
Yeah, I sneaked into the Independent Spirit Awards in 1994. I was, like, 20 years old, and I put on a green Starbucks smock in the parking lot and carried coffees in, right past security, strolled up to the balcony at the Hollywood Palladium and watched Jeff Bridges win his Spirit Award for American Heart. I’m sure, being a pretentious 20-year-old, at some point during that ceremony I said to myself, “Someday I’ll be down there.” So here’s a little nod to the pretentious 20-year-old: I was invited this year.

It’s been a good couple of years in the life of Adam Scott the actor.
It’s surreal. It’s bizarre growing up idolizing movies and television and seeing them as these unobtainable things and then living here in Los Angeles for 15 years and being on the outside and still seeing them as these unobtainable things — which is why Party Down is so directly relatable to my life. I’m still in the “guest star on NYPD Blue” mind-set in a lot of ways, where I’m just so grateful to be on any set, and I’m wowed by the whole process of making movies and TV shows. Sometimes I have to stop myself from being so flabbergasted that I’ve actually made it to a set so I can focus and actually do some good work.