Headed into its 10th season, the longevity of the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” is less and less common in this era of Peak TV. Nearly 450 scripted series are on tap for this year. Or as one TV executive put it this week, we are “ballooning into a condition of oversupply.”

Simon Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz on the show – with one of the more distinctive bowl cuts on television, a glossy mushroom cap of Helberg’s own hair flat-ironed into submission – is intimately attuned to the precariousness of the job, even when a show reaches “Big Bang”-levels of success.

“Well, finally in season seven I hung a picture on my dressing room wall,” he deadpanned during a recent trip to Chicago. “I was like, ‘I can put a nail into this puppy. We’ll be here for a while.’ It takes a long time to feel comfortable. Actors are mostly unemployed. I’m just settling in and we’re in Season 10. I mean, at this point I’m aware that – well, now we’re probably almost done.”

Last year during the show’s hiatus, Helberg filmed opposite Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” based on the true story of a 1940s society maven convinced of her vocal prowess as an opera singer, despite all evidence to the contrary. Grant plays her husband, who ensures her delusions are never punctured.

The shy, nerdy musician who accompanies her on piano is played by Helberg, who is initially appalled at the sound coming from the oblivious woman standing by the piano, only to eventually reach a real sense of affection for the old gal by the end.

I met with Helberg at a Chicago restaurant. The afternoon was hot and sunny, and a cold drink sounded nice. “So many beers. So I should have a beer? Maybe I’ll have a beer.” He kept his order simple – “I’ll have a local lager” – and over said beverage, the conversation touched on his roots in sketch comedy, what’s next for his character on “Big Bang” and the merits of enabling a person’s self-deceptions. The following is an edited transcript.

Q: Watching the movie, I was of two minds. This bubble that everyone works to create in order to spare Florence’s feelings is fundamentally harmless. But also at the same time, part of being an adult means living in reality. If you have an awful singing voice, it’s not the end of the world to come to grips with that!

A: To me the ambiguity is, maybe our perception of ourselves is always going to be different than somebody else’s perception. There will always be that disparity. I mean, I’m not an idiot, I understand that the voice she heard in her head was wildly disparate from the voice everyone else heard.

But it wasn’t a sociopathic state of delusion. It was more than innocuous even, because it was a beneficial state of mind for everyone around her. These people around her profited, both financially and artistically – which isn’t terrible – and I don’t feel like it was at her expense.

Q: Sure, and she wasn’t hurting anyone, she wasn’t cruel. But delusions on this scale aren’t great! I keep going back and forth on this.

A: No, I do too.

I think about it in terms of “American Idol” or other reality shows or social media, where there’s a real drive to be famous. Maybe I’m just being unreasonably optimistic about her at that time, but I don’t see the driving force behind it being validation and fame. Although I think she reveled in her reviews, not knowing that they were bought. But I have to believe – at least in the way the story is told in the movie – that it was really about a love of music and that it brought her such joy.

And that’s such a childlike thing. (While making the film) we talked about that a lot – I have children and I watched them while we were shooting. They would just be singing. They’re 2 and 4 now, so this was a year ago. And they were just singing, naked, running around. At one point my daughter asked me if, when she grows up, she can dance naked.

And I said (deadpan), “At least as a safety, but let’s not aspire to that.”

Q: Oh no!

A: “If it gets you through college, I guess. We’ll get you a pole for your 4th birthday.”

No, but I watched them do that and never in my mind did I sit there and go, “Ooh, that was off-key,” or “Oh, you need to work on your technique.” I was just elated and filled with the same joy they were.

Q: You’ve been playing piano since you were a kid.

A: What I wanted to do was music, until I was about 16. But it was jazz and rock, never classical music. Shockingly, I did not want to be the accompanist to an operatic star. But I was at a very high level for a 16-year-old, and I maintained that. So really good, but more impressive than classically trained. So I had to take a crash course in classical technique because I really wanted to get away with playing this character without people saying, “That’s not really accurate.”

It was one of those things where I was like, I can’t believe I get to be in a scene with Meryl Streep! And then I was like, but why do I have to play Chopin? It’s already going to be intimidating. I had to learn all the pieces backward and forward. We practiced on weekends. It was very much like being in school, except it was with Meryl Streep. Like, I would go to her apartment and we would practice Mozart’s “Queen of the Night.”

But then we wouldn’t really practice that much, we’d really just talk and gossip. Just like you did in college when you would blow off school work. We’d talk about our kids or whatever. We got to be really close, which was amazing. I didn’t want to geek out too much.

Q: Sketch comedy was a big part of your early career. I’m curious if you ever considered doing that in Chicago?

A: I always honestly dreamed of coming to Second City in Chicago, although I’ve never even been there to see a show. But I did a ton of sketch comedy at the Second City in LA, which (at the time, in a different location) wasn’t really a theater, it was just a space where you took some classes. I met a bunch of people and they said, “We’re gonna do a show.” So we would buy the theater out and do a show, and we did that for five years and we ended up becoming popular. It was before sketch comedy was hipster-time – when you would hand out a flier, people would roll their eyes. Now it’s kind of cool.

So yeah, I wanted to come to Chicago. I also wanted to do “Saturday Night Live.” And then I got to a place where I didn’t want to do those things anymore.

Q: What changed?

A: For the sketch comedy thing, I got cast on “MADtv,” and that will kill any man’s desire to do comedy.

Q: You had some false starts before you got “The Big Bang Theory.” Now you’ve had the opposite experience. Is it fun to play the same character for 10 years?

A: Yeah. And a lot of that is a natural progression of the character. It’s amazing to watch somebody who is kind of this sleazy, degenerate lothario, sex-crazed guy become sort of a romantic, settled-down man about to have a baby.

Sometimes those things can feel forced, but when you have this long of a run, you don’t have to have something happen every episode. Like, Sheldon lost his virginity last season and in the first season he didn’t even like girls. So I feel like you can earn that stuff. And that is really fun, because you get to find new layers. It’s a testament to the writing.

But then there’s also these moments when you’re like, oh, I really want to do different things. Not instead of this show. It’s just a hunger to do something else, too.

Q: So, what’s the deal, is Howard going to be …

A: A father?

Q: I mean, do you think we’ll even see a child this season?

A: (Stares) It’ll be like “Rosemary’s Baby.”

Well, yes. We’re going to have a baby. At some point. And I think the idea – like they’ve done with everything – is to be tasteful and only do the things that make the show better, as opposed to turning it on its head. I don’t know if we’re going to be representing babies everywhere with our new baby. But I think we’ll get some good stories out of it.