Scene stealer Chris Eigeman, familiar to movie audiences as the favorite choice for sardonic supporting roles in the films of Whit Stillman and Noah Baumbach, made his mark on television as the newly transplanted New Yorker at once appalled at and attracted to life in Los Angeles on the ABC sitcom "It's like, you know. .." (1999). A pleasantly attractive actor, with wavy dark hair and WASPy good looks whose privileged background failed to open many doors, Eigeman found himself doing odd jobs as a parking valet and a laborer while studying his craft, appearing in regional and Off-Broadway stage productions, and waiting for his big break.
His breakthrough debut came with a film role among an ensemble cast of fellow newcomers in "Metropolitan" (1990), Stillman's nod to Manhattan's shrinking Upper East Side debutante set. Eigeman emerged as a stand out performer, his take on the rancorous Nick enlivening the talky film with dryly delivered contentious pronouncements. The novice actor showed remarkable promise by making his somewhat abhorrent character entirely likable and proved a welcome screen presence. He reteamed with Stillman and fellow "Metropolitan" actor Taylor Nichols in 1994's "Barcelona", a comedy about two cousins who romance women (including a virtually unknown Mira Sorvino), and debate anti-American sentiments in Cold War-era Spain. Eigeman starred as Fred Mason, an obnoxious US Naval officer turning the studious Nichols' world upside down, again proving his talent at playing a charming antihero. He continued to act as Stillman's wry counterpoint in "The Last Days of Disco" (1998), playing Des, the saturnine manager of the film's central Studio 54-like club who serially breaks up with women by claiming he is gay.
In addition to his partnership with Stillman, Eigeman also has worked with writer-director Noah Baumbach on notable projects, including 1995's "Kicking and Screaming", co-starring Josh Hamilton, Eric Stoltz, Parker Posey and Carlos Jacott. Not unlike Stillman's "Metropolitan", Baumbach's film chronicled a group of college graduates seeking to put off the inevitable real world jump by hanging around their college town. Eigeman brought a sharp and ironic spin to Max, the group's unromantic cynic. He also starred in Baumbach's "Mr. Jealousy" (1998), again with Stoltz and Jacott, playing the successful former boyfriend of Stoltz's current flame (Annabella Sciorra). In the film, Stoltz's Lester Grimm is so obsessed with Eigeman's Dashiell Frank that the former joins the latter's therapy group to learn more about him. While similarly humored and equally well acted as his previous work, the scenes within the therapy group allow the audience to see Eigeman in a different sort of portrayal, playing in an emoting and honest scene as opposed to scenes that feature the generally self-aware and fabricated characters he has taken on in the past. Shortly after completing filming "Mr. Jealousy" in 1997, Baumbach and much of the same cast made "Highball", an as yet unreleased comedy about a group of friends set against the backdrop of three parties.
With a failed pilot for a US remake of the popular British sci-fi comedy "Red Dwarf" to his credit, Eigeman next appeared on television in a 1996 Stillman-directed episode of the acclaimed NBC police drama "Homicide: Life on the Street". He made his debut as a regular on the cultural satire "It's like, you know ...", a 1999 ABC midseason replacement series. The actor starred as Arthur Garment, a quintessential Los Angeles-hating New Yorker who ends up staying in Southern California after a two-month research visit to write a book about the evils of L.A. An engaging comedy from "Seinfeld" veteran Peter Mehlman, "It's like, you know ..." offered Eigeman the opportunity to reach a larger audience than his indie film work could ever grab, and cast him for a change as the sensible yet startled straight man.