Recently-departed SNL cast member Bill Hader sat down for an AMA question-and-answer session on Reddit yesterday to promote The To Do List, a new movie he plays a supporting role in that his wife Maggie Carey wrote/directed. It’s a nice, wide-ranging chat set of questions that cover his favorite SNL sketches, writing for South Park, the time he bugged Michael Showalter in public when he was 22, and the one SNL alum he wishes he could collaborate with.
We gathered up all the best moments from the AMA, and you can check them out below:
On the sketch he’s most proud of and his favorite Stefon line:
The sketch I was the most proud of was probably one about your neck of the woods. It was called Do You Go Runnin Round Re Ro and it was a take on British Gangster movies and how we Americans can’t understand what the actors are saying with those thick Yorkshire accents and all. And my favorite Stefan line was “Jewish vampire Sydney Applebaum.”
On “The Californians”:
The first time we did it, Fred just starting doing that voice (“Whaaaaaat are you doing here?!”) and Kristen and I were like “What?” It was so funny. I hadn’t heard him do it before. Man o man it made me laugh. Then it became a game of who could stretch out the vowels in their sentences the most. It got crazy. THANKS!
On the Tumblr blog dedicated to him needing to buy new clothes:
I was told about it from basically my entire family, including my wife who I honest think is running it.
On his war vet puppet character Anthony Peter Coleman:
Anthony Coleman was created by John Solomon and Rob Klein. I showed up the morning of the table read and they said “OH WE GOT SOMETHIN’ FOR YOU!” I love that character!
When asked to tell readers something he’s never told anyone:
When I was 22, I saw Michael Showalter at LAX and said I was a fan and he said “Oh thanks” and then I cursed myself all the way home…
On how he prevents himself from getting nervous during performances:
I purposely do something on air that I haven’t planned to get me out of my head. It’s like tricking your brain. It makes me feel like I screwed up so I can accept that I screwed up and relax.
On his favorite moment in his career:
probably the first time I said LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT, and watching my wife introduce her movie last night
When asked, “Is it bad if I keep confusing you with [Jason] Sudeikis?”
I confuse me with Sudeikis
Advice for writers:
The best thing you can do is write, write, write, and write. And read. A lot. And fail. The more you fail the better you’ll get. At SNL you could have an amazing show and then just BOMB the following Wednesday at the table read. Stay tough. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Just follow your path and have fun.
On how he prefers to be approached by fans:
It’s best to say “How would I like to be approached by someone?” If you’re eating dinner with a gf/bf or in the middle of something, it can be awkward to get interrupted. But if your standing alone in a bookstore or waiting in line for a coffee, totally fine. Pics can be weird bc if people see you do one, then they all ask for them. Sometimes the weirdos ruin it for the others.
On starting on the show with Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, and Kristen Wiig:
I feel so insanely lucky that I came in with those guys. I learned a lot from them. We for sure think of ourselves as a class…we took this great pic on wiig/andy’s last show that I have framed in our house. those guys are very special to me…
On writing for South Park:
I am writing for them! Just did our retreat last week, gear up for new season in September! Very excited … It’s really those guys. I mostly sit in the room and laugh and suggest stuff. I’d love to bring back Kanye West though…gay fish…
On performing bass in Fred Armisen’s farewell sketch “It’s a Lovely Day”:
I was so nervous to play the bass in front of them. Steve Jones said: “You sound like Syd” ” do?” “Yeah, he couldn’t play worth shit.” I know Carrie pretty well. She’s amazing.
On the writers/directors he’d most like to work with:
Love to work with the Coen Bros or Woody Allen.
On his favorite music:
I like a lot of stuff. In high school I LOVED punk. Gang of Four. The Ramones, The Clash. AND - I also loved the opposite of that which were bands like Pink Floyd, Rush, and Frank Zappa. New bands: The National, Vampire Weekend, Savages, Elenor Friedberger, Radiohead, Flaming Lips
When asked what his main goal in life was/is:
To not worry about things I can’t control.
On his favorite SNL sketches from another era:
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer is amazing. Probably my favorite sketch. There’s another Jack Handy one called “Deerheads” with Harvey Keitel that’s sublime.
On where which comedy theater he trained at:
I was a Second City LA. It was alright, but I’d probably do UCB now. I couldn’t get into Groundlings! Two-year waiting list!
On House of Joel, the slasher comedy he was writing for Judd Apatow:
It’s on the shelf at the moment. Wrote it for Judd Apatow. We can’t really crack it. Hard to make it funny with all the killing and whatnot. So much easier when they’re zombies!
On his favorite filmmakers/classic movies:
Man o man. How much time do you have? I love all the greats: Kurosawa, Bergman, Fellini, Kubrick Some movies that I’ve liked lately: Port of Shadows, Ikiru, Shame (Bergman), The Prowler, and Ugetsu
On how he got to voice a character in Star Trek Into Darkness:
JJ Abrams emailed me…actually I emailed HIM, ha, and said I’d love to be a voice in the movie and a year later he put me in. I’m a latent Trekkie, but one nonetheless.
Move to LA. We all did it. LA is cheaper than NYC. But it’s really about getting connections. I was a PA, a delivery guy at a Post house, an assistant editor, anything to meet people. And you make friends, and those friends have friends. It’s great. Just be patient and don’t get caught up n the BS.
On the SNL alum he most wishes he could collaborate with:
I would’ve loved to work with Phil Hartman. Something with us as two political radio personalities or something.