Bill Hader: The EW Pop Culture Personality Test
We’re in for a double dose of Bill Hader this weekend, as Saturday Night Live returns with host Seth Rogen, and Hader reteams with their Superbad director Greg Mottola for the Must List-worthy movie Adventureland. (His role — manager of an ’80s amusement park where The Squid and the Whale‘s Jesse Eisenberg and Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart work — is small but memorable; the mustache he sports is large and memorable.) Hader, 30, phoned us last week from L.A., where he moonlights as a producer on South Park pitching ideas to Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Luckily, he has funny to spare.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s 9:45 a.m. your time. You’re a morning person?
BILL HADER: Yeah, I kind of am. That’s the hard thing about working on SNL. You stay up really late. I’m always up before everybody else. I also crash at 3 o’clock when everybody’s at their prime. I’m the guy over in the corner going [moaning voice] ‘Oh, God….’
What’s your trick for staying up?
It’s gotten more and more healthier. My first season it was, like, drinking Red Bulls and shots of espresso and eating tons of sugar. Then I got married, and I saw my wedding pictures, and I was like, Jesus Christ. I need to figure something out here. Now it’s green tea. As lame as that is. I drink green tea.
Let’s begin the test. What’s your karaoke song?
“Take on Me” by a-ha. I can’t sing, but I recreate the video. I take off my jacket and pretend that I’m running into walls. I took a big chance on that one. The first time I ever really hung out with my wife was at a karaoke bar, and I did it. It was like, If this doesn’t hit, this girl might never want to hang out with me again. There was a little pressure.
The person you wrote a fan letter to when you were young?
I wrote a fan e-mail to Michael Chabon. [Laughs] That shows you where I’m at. I was working as a post-production assistant on a Lifetime show called Speaking of Women’s Health, and I would sit around in the tape library all day reading, and I just devoured all these Michael Chabon books. I went to his website, saw that I could e-mail him, and I did. He wrote back, like, “Hey man, glad you like the book,” and I completely lost my s—. Then I e-mailed him again. I was like, What’s a cool thing to ask a writer? I wrote, “What’s your favorite dictionary?” [Laughs] He had to think I was nine years old. I was 25.
The R-rated movie you watched too young?
My parents were pretty cool. I watched a lot of R-rated movies. I sawA Clockwork Orange when I was 11. When you watch Clockwork Orange at 11,it either totally scares you from watching movies or you want to become afilmmaker. I was the latter. That was one of the most amazing moviesI’ve ever seen because I got it. It wasn’t like I was reacting to howterrifying it was. It was just like, Whoa. I’ve never seenanything like this before. I remember my dad came intothe room and said, “You know what they’re doing, beating up this man, is bad, right?”[Laughs] I was like, “Yeah.” “Okay…carry on.” My dad’s now goingto be arrested.
Speaking of arrested: If you’re arrested at 1a.m., who do you call: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Judd Apatow, BenStiller, Seth Rogen, or Tom Cruise?
Oh wow. That’s a tough one. I guess I would have tocall Tom Cruise, because there’d be no question I’d be getting out. Tom Cruise would bail me and Matt Stone out of jail, I thinkis what would happen.
And what would you and Matt have been arrested for?
I don’t know. Farting on a politician, if youcan be arrested for that. Or gettin’ the s— kickedout of us by our wives in the middle of the street. The cops would belike, “There’s no way two women did this to you. You must have been ina fight with two guys. We’re arresting you.”
The chick flick you secretly love?
Pretty in Pink. If that’s on TV, I watch it. I think it’s my wife’s favorite movie.
Who should Andie have ended up with: Blane or Duckie?
Oh, Blane. She wouldn’t have been happy with Duckie. It would’ve been aloveless relationship. There’s something about seeing Duckie go offwith that hot girl [Kristy Swanson] that makes you happy, you know.There is something very lame about that that just works.
The ’80s movie that should be remade?
Teen Wolf Too. I liked Teen Wolf, but Teen Wolf Too was thefirst real letdown I had as a kid. I feel like youshould remake a movie that was legitimately bad in the ’80s, instead ofremaking something that was awesome…. You know what other movie I would like to remake? [1986’s] The Wraithwith Charlie Sheen and Nick Cassavetes. CharlieSheen dies, and then he comes back in this car from outer space andwreaks havoc on all the guys who killed him. It was like me and mysister’s favorite movie when we were growing up. We watched that and Just One of the Guys maybe 20 times over one summer. I saw a DVD of The Wraith, and I was like, Oh man,this is the best day ever! It could’ve been $1,000 and I would’vebought it. [Laughs] I called my sister: “You will not believe what I just bought.”
The person you’re most often mistaken for?
When I wear my glasses, I either get Rainn Wilson orJemaine [Clement] from Flight of the Conchords. Andy Samberg and I went to go see Iron Man, andafterward, the kid behind me went, “Can I get your picture? I love TheOffice.” And I was like, “That’s not me. But thanks, I’ll let him know.” And then I walked out of the theater and some guy went, “Conchords!” And I was like, I’m never wearing my glassesoutside again. I also get mistaken for Will Forte a lot, too. I’ve had “MacGruber!” shouted at me a couple of times.
Your favorite member of the Brat Pack?
I guess I like Anthony Michael Hall. I related the most to him in allthose movies. And then I remember seeing the poster for [1988’s] JohnnyBe Good and being like, Holy s—, that’s Anthony Michael Hall? Icannot relate to him at all anymore. He was all good-looking andhuge and had Uma Thurman on his arm.
The comic book character you most identify with?
It seems so lame,but Spider-Man because I just felt like Peter Parker was my age. It’slike The Wonder Years. I was the exact age of Kevin Arnold when thatshow started. If I wasgoing through something weird, I would just turn on The Wonder Yearsand be, like, “Oh. Kevin went through the same thing.”
The first famous person you befriended?
Ben Stiller, when I was 17. I met Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ben Stiller atthe same time. She’s from Tulsa [too], and my best-friend-at-the-time’s mom is best friends with Jeanne Tripplehorn. I hadThanksgiving with them. I gave Ben a short film that I made, and he actually watched it and liked it,which blew my mind.He took me to see Casino with all of them. When I got SNL, I got aphone call from my agent saying, “Ben Stiller wants to have coffee withyou,” and it was this awesome kind of reunion. I sat down, and hewas like, “Wow, man, you made it. What’s goin’ on?” He’s always beenunbelievably good to me. He’s given me two jobs [Tropic Thunder and next month’s Night at the Museum sequel], so Ican’t say enough nice things about Ben.
The canceled TV show you’d bring back?
Sledgehammer. Mystery ScienceTheater 3000. I remember being unbelievable bummed when Freaks andGeeks was canceled. I watch more movies than I do television. I’m, like, one of those people that duringSeason 3 of Lost, I’ll borrow a DVD set from a friend and say, “Oh, I’llcheck this out.” Matt Stoneand Trey Parker just gave me season 5 of 24, and they’re like, “Yougotta see season 5 of 24. It’s amazing.”
The person or band you’ve seen most often in concert?
There was a time in high school when I was at a lot of Phish shows. Ididn’t follow them, but I saw them maybe 12 times. I’ve been to about10 Radiohead shows. It’s between them.
What is your geekiest possession?
In my office at SNL,I have a statue of a Tauntaun, which is a creature from Star Wars. The people at Lucasfilm saw an impression I did of one on Conan O’Brien, and they sent me it.Every time a host comes in to talk, they’re like, “What the hellis that?” “What do you mean what the hell is that? It’s a Tauntaun.Haven’t you seen The Empire Strikes Back? I guess you haven’t, or youwouldn’t have asked such a dumb question.”
Star Wars or Star Trek?
To be honest, and this soundscrazy, I didn’t really start getting into Star Trek until aboutsix months ago. Ben Stiller is a huge Star Trek fan, and while we weredoing Night at the Museum 2, he was like, “You’ve never seen anoriginal Star Trek?” I just blindlybought three seasons of Star Trek, and I love ’em. But I’m a Star Wars geek. I’m excited about the new J.J. Abrams movie, but if you asked me between Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, Ithink I would be even more of a Twilight Zone guy.
Speed Round: Do you Twitter?
[Almost angrily] No. I don’t do Twitter. I don’t do MySpace. I don’tdo Facebook. If anybody says that they’re me, they are lying. The last thing I want is forpeople to know where I’m at.
Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Oh, man, I don’t know anything about Twilight. The kid from Let the Right One in. That was the teenage vampire movie Iliked last year.
The best impression you’ve yet to do on SNL?
I do a pretty good Gizmo from Gremlins. But there’s no call for it. Noone’s like, “And then we should put Gizmo in here….” That’s theone that I did all the time growing up in high school.
The crazy celebrity name you will give your first born?
Well, Megan Mullally is the reason I have a career. [She spotted him ina show with her brother-in-law and told Lorne Michaels about him.] So Iguess it would be Megan Mullally Lorne Michaels Judd Apatow Ben StillerTrey and Matt Hader.
The movie that makes you cry?
I getreally weepy at the end of Ed Wood.Thisguy is the ultimate failure, the worst film director of all time, butwhat I love about the end of that movie is that he actually went outand did it. At least he tried to make amovie. I’m just soexcited for him. I wish more movies were like that. [Laughs] Ithink that’s a good message. Just try.
The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.