Hey Bobby Cannavale, is a hot dog a sandwich?

Illustration for article titled Hey Bobby Cannavale, is a hot dog a sandwich?
Photo: Ilya S. Savenok (Getty Images), Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Bobby Cannavale is one of those actors who shows up when you least expect it. Put in one of the Ant-Man movies and he’s there, playing the nice step-dad who is also a cop. Throw on I, Tonya and he’s rocking a very ’90s look while displaying no moral compass whatsoever. He shows up in Will & Grace re-runs and the 2017 Jumanji, on Boardwalk Empire and BoJack Horseman. He was in Jon Favreau’s Chef and then played Chef Jeff on Master Of None, a character that was relevant when the show’s third season aired and feels, ah, way more relevant now. He picks interesting projects and works a lot; you may not always expect him, yet when he pops up it feels as though he’s always right on time.


In the case of Homecoming, Amazon’s Sam Esmail-produced adaptation of the Gimlet Media podcast of the same name, being right on time seems to have helped get him the job. Here’s Cannavale and Esmail, at the 2018 Television Critics Association summer press tour, talking about his relationship to the podcast:

Bobby Cannavale: Podcasts were brand new to me... I was blown away by it and I happened to be working with Sam when I was listening to it. And I didn’t know he was involved with it. I was shooting Mr. Robot and... I was that guy who came in and went, “Anybody hear this podcast, Homecoming?” And he was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna be doing it.”

Sam Esmail: He’s in his Irving getup as he’s talking.

BC: Yeah, I’ve got like the glasses and the mustache and I’m like, “Can I play Colin?!”

Having instincts like that: invaluable. Here’s what his instincts may have told him about the hot dog/sandwich taxonomy.

The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Bobby Cannavale: No.

TO: Why is a hot dog not a sandwich?

BC: Because it’s its own thing, it’s got its own name. A sandwich, there can be a million different kinds of sandwiches, but there can only be one kind of hot dog.

TO: So is a lobster roll a sandwich?

BC: A lobster roll is also not a sandwich because it’s got its own name.

TO: It’s all in the name then?

BC: Yeah.

Amazon’s series adaptation of Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts, Stephan James, Dermot Mulroney, Cannavale, and others premieres Friday, November 2.


Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!


Again supporting my assertion that these things fall under the definition of a “sandwich” yet we just don’t call them that because they have created their own unique sub-category. I use the hamburger as my litmus test. By every measure of the accepted definition, a hamburger is 100% a sandwich. But nobody ever refers to them as such. I see the hot dog (and the lobster roll) the same way.

Similarly, you could ask, “Is a truck a car?” Yes. By definition, a truck is a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor and able to carry a small number of people. But we don’t ever call them cars. We call them trucks, because they are a car that has become specialized to the point of creating it’s own unique sub-category and associated name.