Playing God comes naturally for the legendary Ed Asner.
He says it's just a step below playing the city editor of a newspaper.
And he would know — that's a role in which he's quite experienced after playing Lou Grant on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the following "Lou Grant" series.
"I don't command enough fear normally. I like to be in a position where I can command fear," the playful Asner said Friday during a phone conversation with The Press. "I try to make this God almost identical to the city editor."
Asner, 88, is appearing in the role of God as he tours the country with the production "God Help Us," which will come to the North Idaho College Schuler Performing Arts Center stage on Wednesday.
The comedy reveals what God has to say about a turbulent political climate as he confronts two pundits from opposite sides of the ideological spectrum.
"The bottom line for this play is, we have to keep talking, and hopefully we don't have to resolve it with a civil war," Asner said.
The show is a benefit for Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre and co-stars local actors Trigger Weddle and Brandon Michael.
A seven-time Emmy Award winner, Asner has graced the entertainment world with his humor and talent since 1949. It's a world he loves and continues to thrive in nearly 70 years later.
"The joy of performing, if you can find sufficiently talented writers to feed you the lines to toy with, it makes it seventh heaven for me," he said. "I don’t work. But I do love the job. I've been blessed with having great writers, even in the beginning. I rarely could complain."
Asner, who resides California, has been to the Lake City in the past and said he prizes the Northwest, "and that includes Coeur d'Alene."
"I can't wait to see it and enjoy it and to breathe your air," he said.
"God Help Us" opens at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $30 and are available at www.cdasummertheatre.com or by calling 208-660-2958.