"You also become a better actor or a more interesting actor?" Safer asks.
"You have a shorter schedule on the film, that's the film, that's for sure. I mean, you're in and out of there in four weeks," Baldwin says.
And it's his willingness to try anything that actress and writer Tina Fey was after when casting her television comedy "30 Rock."
"Having worked at Saturday Night Live, you see a lot of actors come through. A lot of movie stars. Academy Award winners who cannot do what he does," Fey says.
"The first season, especially, doing this show with him, he made us all look better, and while we were learning from him, he was carrying us," Fey says of Baldwin on 30 Rock.
That show has earned him critical raves and awards. But for all his recent success, he says that his multi-year custody battle had driven him to the edge of despair, and rage. When he left an abusive voicemail message for his young daughter, it was leaked to the media, and replayed incessantly on the Internet.
"I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old or eleven years or that you're a child or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass. …You have humiliated me for the last time," he said on the message.
Asked how he could do something like that, Baldwin says, "You get so frustrated. And you realize, number one, and it's wrong, it's totally wrong, that I was really speaking to somebody else when I left that message. I mean I was pissed, I mean, I was putting up with this for six years."
"But you weren't talking to another person. You were talking to your daughter, to a kid. And you said, 'You thoughtless little pig.' I mean, I find it hard to utter the words," Safer remarks.
"Did you ever lose your temper with your kids?" Baldwin asks.
"Yeah, but nothing like that," Safer says.
"If you're asking me do I feel bad about leaving that message, I think that goes without saying. At the same time, I'm pretty overwhelmed by the sanctimoniousness of people who say that, I mean, I got so many phone calls from people," Baldwin says.
"Well…," Safer says.
"Wait a second though. I got so many phone calls from people who seem as learned and sober and together as you are, who all said to me, 'Man, I'm glad they didn't tape some of the things I said to my kids,'" Baldwin says.