Jon Glaser is fucking hilarious. You agree but may not have realized it. He’s had supporting roles in dozens of great films and tv shows you’ve seen him in: Parks and Rec., Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, Girls, Pootie Tang, and his brilliant own work he co-wrote and stars in: Delocated, Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter, and Jon Glaser Loves Gear.
Glaser is the comedian that can have one small scene and steal the entire episode or movie. I first noticed him in a hilarious sketch from Jon Benjamin Has a Van, and since then, I will watch anything Glaser is in, even if for one scene. He’s that good. [Note: Jon Benjamin is my second favorite comedian, so this scene is pure Heaven.]
Well, lucky for me Glaser is coming to Dallas to make me and you laugh on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at Sons of Hermann Hall, and he was kind enough to interview him and ask some pretty ridiculous answers, where he replied with solid gold answers.
Check out the interview and if you’re in the DFW area, buy tickets to his show! It’s all ages and the show will tickle all your funny bones until they hurt. Guaranteed. He-yump!
Chase Whale: You have been all over the place for a while, most notably Parks and Rec., Inside Amy Schumer, Girls, Delocated (which you created), Trainwreck, and a slew of other great comedies. You got forever stuck on my radar when I saw watched your Oscar-caliber performance in Jon Benjamin Has a Van as Pvt. Nathan Glaser, the war veteran suffering from PTSD because he lost his voice from screaming too much in basic training (and never went to war). That sketch is one of the funniest of all time. I needed you to know this.
Jon Glaser - Duly noted and thank you, although I was just an actor in what I agree was a very funny sketch.
CW: So let’s talk about your upcoming show in Dill.
JG - Is that a typo or is "Dill" a fun nickname for Dallas?
CW: What can we expect from the show? Anything unique you’ll be doing differently from other shows?
JG - It's not traditional stand-up. It's more a series of conceptual bits and longer ramblings, and very much my sensibility. If you like my comedy, then I'd imagine you'd like the show. Maybe not. You'll just have to roll them dice and come to the show and see!
CW: What’s the hardest part about doing standup?
JG - Probably developing the confidence to not worry about how things go on stage, and just go up there feeling free to try things, whether it's a joke or a conceptual bit or whatever.
CW: What’s the best way to deflect a heckler? Bill Hicks them or is there a better way?
JG - Probably depends on what they're saying. I don't do many live shows, and hardly do any touring, or traditional stand-up clubs, so I don't deal with that too much (which means I'll probably deal with it now at this show). All you can do is try to be smart and funny about it. Someone told me a story about Dave Attell, who is funny as hell, responding to a heckler who shouted "I fucked your mother!" by saying "Welcome to the wonderful world of AIDS." I don't if that's true or if I got the story wrong (or if I got the comedian wrong), and there will, of course, be times when heckling won't be as obnoxious, and the response doesn't need to be as aggressive. But I thought that was about as perfect a way as you could respond to someone like that.
CW: What is your process of thinking of an idea of a joke, or something that pops in your head that could be funny, and turning it into something funny?
JG - I don't necessarily sit down to think of ideas. But I'll work on and craft ideas when they occur. Sometimes I'll go on stage with a very loose idea and see how it goes, and craft it over the next few times I do it, and before I do it again. Sometimes I'll go on stage with something more fully formed. And sometimes I'll go on stage with an idea with nothing planned.
CW: Jokes are always funny to the person who thought of them. To me, I’m the funniest guy I know, but to others, not so much. That said how do you test your material before doing standup?
JG - I don't really test things out before I go on stage. The show in Dallas will be lots of old bits of mine that I've done plenty over the years living in New York, but have never toured.
CW: Anything you would like people to wear to the show? Perhaps, neon shorts?
JG: I would love everyone in the audience to wear 1980's green Mavericks jerseys.
CW: How did you come up with the idea of a werewolf hunter who only wears neon?
JG - That story has been told many times if you want to browse the internet. The short version is that I completely made up the idea of the show for an appearance on Fallon, and Adult Swim called my bluff and said it sounded like a show they'd do, and so I got to make something out of nothing and luckily it became a TV show. It's maybe my favorite part about the show.
CW: What’s in store for season 3 of Neon Joe Werewolf He-Yump?
JG - Nothing as of right now.
CW: ’m 5’5” and 185 pounds. How can I get a copy of Sheriff Dalton’s workout video?
JG - I would recommend an aggressive letter-writing campaign to Adult Swim.
CW: What’s your favorite piece of gear?
JG - Currently, my trail running backpack.
CW: When are we going to see a skateboard episode of Jon Glaser Loves Gear?
JG - There was a skateboarding scene this past season, so that'll have to satisfy all the Board Heads out there.
CW: Final and crucial question. You’ve managed to convince networks to make three absurd and fucking hilarious shows with complete creative freedom. How did you convince them to say yes?
JG - With raw, thunderous, undeniable talent.
If you haven’t heard of or seen Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter, buy your ticket to the show, then stop what you’re doing and watch this now.
Below are interviews I've done for Gordon and the Whale and various outlets. I'm still trying to locate a lot I lost in the fire (the ones not linked I have lost) but here's what I've recovered:
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Guillermo del Toro
Nicholas Winding Refn
Ice Cube and Lamorne Morris
Richard Linklater (and Zac Effron)
Tim and Eric
Richard Jenkins and Tom McCarthy
Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley
Rose Byrne and Hugh Dancy
Bill Hader and Greg Mottola
Jay and Mark Duplass
Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan
Kal Penn, John Cho, and Neil Patrick Harris
Woody Harrelson and Oren Moverman
Jorma Taccone, Will Forte, and Kristen Wiig
Academy Award® Nominee Quvenzhané Wallis
Charlie Day and Ron Perlman
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
William H. Macy
Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart
David Gordon Green
John Boyega and Joe Cornish
Mike Shinoda and Joseph Trapanese
Sam Rockwell and David Gordon Green
Bill Murray, Robert Duvall, and Sissy Spacek
Crispin Glover and John C. Reilly
Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner
Rose Byrne and Hugh Dancy
Key and Peele
Arthur Redcloud (The Revenant)
What do you say to an actor you’re about to interview that you grew up watching in the movies. Well, if you’re me, you vomit out as many words about how much they impacted your youth as you can.
Multi-hyphenate Emilio Estevez has written and directed seven original films (one which was nominated for two Golden Globes — BOBBY). His latest, THE PUBLIC, happens to be right in my wheelhouse — the library.
Naturally, being a fan of Estevez and one month shy of my Master’s in Library Science, I jumped at the opportunity to interview him about the movie.Read More
Oscar-nominated, acclaimed cult filmmaker Whit Stillman is coming to the Texas Theatre in celebration for the 25th anniversary of his first feature, Metropolitan.
Metropolitan wasn’t the immediate success that I — and perhaps you, too — might've assumed. It premiered at Sundance, garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, and won an Independent Spirit Award (the Oscars for indie film) for Best First Feature. But it took a few Sundance rejections before getting accepted.Read More
Do you know Arthur Redcloud? He lives in Colleyville and works as a fuel delivery driver. Oh, another tidbit about him is he’s in the biggest movie of the year, The Revenant, which just racked up 12 Oscar nominations for the upcoming Academy Awards. Yeah, you know Arthur Redcloud, and even better, you now know he lives in our town. Score for us.Read More
Victoria has a lot going for it. The first appeal is how it was shot —all in one take. But once the movie takes off, you get lost in the score and spending over two profound hours with the titular character, played by Laia Costa, in a masterful performance. The camera really loves Costa and it’s a guarantee that you will fall in love with the way she radiates on screen.
Victoria is over two hours and the one take isn’t a gimmick, it helps push the narrative and really makes the third act even more heart pounding because the camera doesn’t stop rolling and it’s pure chaos everywhere. Think of all the discipline required from everyone in front of and behind the camera to be where they need to be at the right moment, and say what they need to say at the right time.Read More
In the cinematic universe, James Ponsoldt is the Johnny Storm of emerging directors -- he's on fire. (That is a nerdy -- and perhaps, awful -- comic book reference. If you don't read comic books, just ignore me and know what I mean is Ponsoldt is now a go-to director for cinema.) His first film to premiere at Sundance was tender and touching movie called Smashed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (whose career is flourishing fast and furious) and Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. This film was the catalyst that set his career as a prominent filmmaker in motion.
Every film Ponsoldt directs now turns into gold. He's puts all the heart and soul he has into every film. Currently in theaters is his latest, The End of the Tour (our review here), about the late author David Foster Wallace's brief relationship with journalist and author David Lipsky.Read More
"I wouldn't have made the movie if it wasn't for Robin [William's] encouragement."
-- Director Bobcat Goldthwait on Call Me Lucky.
The first time I interviewed actor-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait, it was for the weird and wonderful World's Greatest Dad, starring the late, irreplaceable Robin Williams. (You can read that interview here). The film was an unexpected wallop, and is even more important to me now.Read More
Joel Edgerton is a real delight and just an all around good guy.
He was in Dallas, near where I live, about a month ago to promote his directorial debut The Gift (now in theaters). I was supposed to moderate the Q&A after a screening of the film and interview him the next day but I had some health issues and had to drop out. He emailed me to make sure I was OK and let me know that when I'm on my feet, to give him a call and we'll do an interview. The Gift opened two days ago and Edgerton took time out of his busy schedule today to talk to me...for 45 minutes. What a guy.Read More
When I saw writer-director Kyle Patrick Alvarez's first feature Easier with Practice, based on a short story, I knew to keep this guy on my radar. For a first film on a shoestring budget, the film looks something born out of Hollywood.
Smart move. Alvarez's next film, C.O.G., was also based on a short story, this one by David Sedaris. A fun and large fact about Alvarez: this young filmmaker is the first and only to get Sedaris' full blessing to adapt one of his stories into a feature film. Sedaris has given the green light to other filmmakers a few times before but changed his mind. Not for Alvarez. C.O.G. had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. I was there -- not important but I wanted to brag -- and the film left the festival to critical acclaim. Sedaris was there and I can't imagine how excited / terrified Alvarez was.Read More
(Entertainment had its world premiere at Sundance, then went on to play at SXSW and was finally snatched up by a distributor, Magnolia Pictures. It’s set for a November 13th release date but is still making festival rounds. Since it’s screening at Sundance’s Next Fest on August 8th, we thought it would be a good idea to talk to co-wrier/director Rick Alverson about his latest deranged masterpiece)
One of the best movies of the year is Rick Alverson’s Entertainment. Echoing his previous film The Comedy, Entertainment is a polarizing, dark look inside a broken man’s broken spirit. There are moments of laughter peppered throughout, but those moments of hilarity are at someone else’s expense. It’s awkward every time but Alverson is a real pro at showing the harsh realities, oddities, and disappointments of American life.Read More
Gregg Turkington is one of the greatest comedians of our time and you probably haven’t heard of him. If we're being honest, it's likely he'll stay pretty far off your radar. He’s best known for his alter-ego/character Neil Hamburger, whom the ghost of Andy Kaufman would adore.
Hamburger’s comedy is polarizing. It’s really filthy, often ugly comedy, but if you like his punchlines, you’ll quickly join Team Hamburger.Read More
Writer/director Andrew Bujalski ("Computer Chess”) is making his bones quickly. He's only made four independently financed feature films, and his fourth is his biggest and best yet. A dynamite cast helps, but Bujalski's tentative move towards the mainstream doesn't tamp down his funny and observational sensibilities. His latest, "Results," stars the criminally underused Kevin Corrigan ("Pineapple Express"), Guy Pearce("Memento"), Cobie Smulders “(“The Avengers"), Giovanni Ribisi and Anthony Michael Hall in the weirdest role you will ever see him in.
“Results” is centered on the culture of self-improvement. The comedy focuses on two mismatched personal trainers, self-styled guru/owner Trevor (Pearce) and irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Smulders), whose lives are upended by the actions of a wealthy client (Corrigan). As their three lives become inextricably knotted, the plot go from complicated to super messy, and as our review says it's "funny and well observed."
During SXSW, we talked to the filmmaker about casting the main characters, the challenges of building a bigger movie with a bigger story and cast, and his film's charming end-credits scene. There are some mind spoilers near the end of this interview, so here's your soft warning. "Results" lands in select theaters and VOD via Magnolia Pictures this weekend.
I want to thank “you” for putting Kevin Corrigan in the movie and giving him one of the greatest roles he's ever played.
I hope so.
You're supposed to sit down and think, "What can I do with Brad Pitt?"
I wish he had more work —he’s insanely underused considering his talent— and now this movie is a favorite of mine because of his character.
Thank you. I feel the same way. I've been a Corrigan fan for 20 years, at least since "Walking and Talking." That was the one that really knocked my socks off. I remember watching that movie and sitting there as the credits started to roll and thinking, "I've got to find out the name of the video store guy, because that's my favorite actor." I've followed him ever since, and got to know him a little bit a few years ago. I think it was just one of my bucket list things —"I want to work with Kevin someday"— and just selfishly, just as a fan, I wanted to let him do more than he usually gets to do.
This is the first time you've worked with some pretty big name actors. What was the process of getting everyone on board?
Before I really knew what I was doing, I was thinking about actors I'd like to work with. So I thought about Kevin, which shows you how commercial my brain is. You're supposed to sit down and think, "What can I do with Brad Pitt?" Then I thought of Guy, who I'd had breakfast with years earlier, and had found just fascinating. As soon as I pictured Guy Pearce and Kevin Corrigan in a room together, I started to laugh.
That was kind of the spark, which is not a very wise way to try to do a project like this, because the chances that you're going to actually get those two guys' schedules to line up and do this thing was pretty low. So it was a great blessing that I actually got the two guys who I wrote it for. And I then started to figure out what am I going to do with Guy Pearce and Kevin Corrigan, and gradually and pretty organically and intuitively, it did not start with high concept and work its way down. It was the opposite. It started with just images and ideas and built up.
Pretty early in that process, it was evident I've got these two guys who are such a funny pairing because they're so dissimilar, yet in other ways, do have some kind of odd, maybe unexpected commonalities. First and foremost, for both a lot of their power as actors comes from the fact that they're both inscrutable. So I started to think that if I'm going to tell a story about two inscrutable guys, I need a woman in between them who is going to bring a whole different energy, somebody who can bring a warmth but can also bring an explosiveness. Then I've got something.
Smulders is particularly terrific in this film.
I agree. So I started to conceive of that character, but I didn't know who was going to play her. It was a great blessing to find Cobie and complete that puzzle.
So the film is set in Austin, Texas but Guy uses his native accent. Was that pre-planned?
I think he was assuming he would do [an] American [accent]. It doesn't say in the script, but I liked [that he used his own accent] for a couple of reasons. One was because I liked the idea of him not having to think about doing an accent.
The film is sent in Austin, Texas, but in 2015, this is a city of transplants. I'm not from here and my wife's not from here, but my kids are from here. It made a certain kind of sense to have somebody from very far way —there's something about the kind of immigrant's optimism that made sense to me for the character. So I talked to him about doing an accent, which I think was counter-intuitive at first, although I did not really put this together until Sundance. Guy is such a consummate actor's actor that even though he was doing an Australian accent, I don't think that's actually his accent. I think he still did a character accent.
Now that you've made a film with some bigger actors and a little bit bigger of a scale than your previous work, what were some of the hiccups or challenges that you faced that you haven't before, if there were any?
Every movie brings it's own hiccups and challenges. It's a different atmosphere on set, and there are more people around. By professional standards, this would still be considered a very scrappy indie production. Still, when it rained, you would go, "oh fuck!"
You've just got to soldier on, regardless.
"What the fuck are we going to do? We don't have a budget!" There's not a contingency day, and it was still quite indie in that sense. But it was bigger. The military analogy has always seemed very apt to me. There's a reason why they call working with a tiny crew "guerrilla filmmaking." That's how a guerrilla army operates: it's like there's a few of you, and you go out and you rush in and you work fast with the element of surprise. Then you get bigger, and my job becomes less like the fucking guy in the jungle, and more like the general sitting at the table having people bring coffee to him, which is a hard thing to adapt to. Frankly, I'm more comfortable and probably more constitutionally suited to be the guerrilla guy. I mean, I'm getting older.
That happens to people. Getting older.
It was funny on this shoot —it was a big enough crew that when we started shooting, there were a lot of young people around and I didn't know all their names yet. They were all treating me respectfully, and it freaked me out. That takes some getting used to. Then the trick becomes "if I don't have a hand in absolutely everything that's happening and if there are people whose jobs that are to do certain things, then how do I make sure that that doesn't [get out of control]. Because at worst, what can happen is that the process directs itself. A director can become obsolete when a shoot gets big enough and everybody's good at their jobs. There were certainly times in this movie where I felt obsolete, or probably was obsolete.
The trick is that you don't want to over-compensate. You don't want to get in there and say, "I have to put my stamp on everything, so I'm moving this piece of furniture over here, and Guy, in this scene, I want you to do it with an Irish accent." You can start to fuck with things just because you feel that you need to, but the director's job always really is to watch what's happening, and if something is not right, then to be the guy who is aware of that and tries to figure something out. But when things are right, you are just supposed to fucking sit there and let them happen. A lot of the times, that is the job.
A director can become obsolete when a shoot gets big enough and everybody's good at their jobs.
The end credit scene reminded me of the final scene in Paul Mazursky’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.” Is this scene supposed to be connected to the plot, or is it just a giant celebration of completing the film?
Well, it's both. It's funny, I got interviewed last week, and the interviewer said, "was that an homage to 'Inland Empire'?" I said, "No, not consciously."
To me, when I make a movie like this, I needed that ending. I was doing a very weird romantic comedy, but it is a romantic comedy. I had to go to a happy place, but because of what we were doing to stay true to everything in the story and everything that I was trying to do thematically, it couldn't not be a strange funny place. I would laugh about the ending with Robin Schwartz, who was the editor on the movie. Robin actually acted in my previous movie “Computer Chess.” That movie has quite a strange ending. I'm convinced that this one is actually ten times stranger, but it may or may not seem so on first glance.
In the end, who do you think the real heart of the movie is about? Kevin Corrigan's Danny, or the connection between Trevor and Kat, or both?
Oh boy. All of the above and like five other things. I couldn't choose between those two, but we've got this oddball structure where it's not obvious who the protagonist is, and that's something that as I wrote the movie, I kind of do choose. I was like, "This is a tough structure to do." It's certainly going to be a tough structure to sell, but the movie needed to be that.
You have Kat and then you have Trevor and Danny, which to me is like this one weird organism. So those are the two leads, the girl and the two guys who may be one guy. It's a remake of “Persona.”
[Note: This review was originally posted on Indiewire's The Playlist.]
I interviewed Tim and Eric for their movie TIM AND ERIC'S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE over three years ago and I am still asked to this very day if this interview was staged. This interview ended up on MTV's "The 10 Best Junket Interviews Ever" and the author of this article gets it. I will never tell if this was pre-planned or if I went in there hoping to God that they would go along with my unhinged stupidity and they did. What I will tell you is this: If you are familiar with Tim and Eric's humor or have watched any interviews they've done with other journalists, you'll know the answer. If you haven't done the latter, Google "tim and eric i am rogue interview" and watch.
I do my homework and always come prepared.Read More
Back in 2009, during the GordonandtheWhale.com days, I interviewed Bobcat Goldthwait for his then new film, World’s Greatest Dad, starring the late, irreplaceable Robin Williams. I thought I lost this interview when the site went down in a blaze of glory but just recently unearthed it, transcribed, and what you read below is that interview.
I remember us talking about Williams a lot, but forgot he mentions that he wanted the late, equally irreplaceable Philip Seymour Hoffman to play the lead. Little did Bobcat or I know two of the greatest actors of our time would pass away way too soon a few years later. Life is strange. But this interview is now a treasure.Read More
Another great interview I thought I lost forever when GATW sunk with Captain Ahab of the Internet was this one, with funnymanguy Zach Galifianakis. It took place at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and Zachy was there to promote his part in Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's film adaptation of Ned Vizzini's memoir, IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY. (The book is quite inspiring and great; the movie, unfortunately, is not.)Read More
"Don’t look into his eyes because he’s just looking where he’s going to fucking bite you.”
-Ben Mendelsohn (on his character "Pope" in ANIMAL KINGDOM)
The first words spoken to Ben prior to our interview was, "It's very surreal sitting in front of you. Two days ago I watched you spike heroine into a girl's arm and suffocate her and now I'm five feet in front of you having a conversation." He laughed, as any man with a pinch of humor would, and then said "that's fucking great." Ben plays the villain "Pope" in David Michôd's ANIMAL KINGDOM. He's not just your average bad guy you'll see in a DIE HARD flick, he's the guy that'll scare the piss out of you just by looking at you (I was five feet in front of that above stare). At the end of the film, you will hate this man. With that, you can imagine the level of difficulty it was holding composure while speaking to him.
That uneasy composure vanished within a few seconds after he started speaking. Like David, he's just happy to be here. In our interview we spoke about how he got into the intensity of his character. I don't want to write anything about that conversation here because I want you to just watch and listen. And here me roar, this man will get a heavy number of nominations for his performance, of that I have zero doubt in my mind.
[Note: This was originally published on GordonandtheWhale.com on August 13th, 2010.]
It's really difficult to not brag when you've had the same kind of conversation I recently did with John Landis, the same human who directed Animal House, The Kentucky Fried Movie, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, ¡Three Amigos!, Trading Places, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and dozens of other great moving pictures you and I adore. So, for this article, you are going to need to bear with a few of my gloats, please. I'm a nice guy who loves cats and grandmothers, so you can manage for a few paragraphs of crowing. (Or, just skip what I have to say and listen, I'll never know unless you comment that you skipped, which is just mean.)
Landis was in Dallas over the weekend to get the Dallas Star Award from the Dallas International Film Festival, as well as talk to fans after a special screening of Blues Brothers. Since I live in Dallas and like movies, I interviewed the fella about a lot of his.Originally, I only had ten minutes to talk to him, but he really geeked out on some topics and his team were kind enough to let him continue until he was tired of talking to me and/or looking at my face. I had twelve questions and he answered all of them in three.Read More
f you ask Alex Garland, writer and director of "Ex Machina," if his goal was to make the film a "game changer" for the genre, he would probably say, "Hell, no." What he's likely to say is that he wanted to make a think piece, a solid science fiction film. And that's exactly what "Ex Machina" is.Read More