by Ryan Meehan
David Koechner is one of the entertainment industry’s funniest and most recognizable actors, appearing in movies like “Austin Powers”, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, “Man on the Moon” and “Anchorman”. David has done plenty of additional work on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and several Comedy Central programs, but his performance as Clay in David Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s “Run Ronnie Run” is one of my favorite in comedic film. Koechner performs regularly in Los Angeles at both the ImprovOlympic West theater in the show Beer Shark Mice, and at Largo, the nightclub where the Naked Trucker Show plays regularly. We are extremely delighted to have him as our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: You grew up in Tipton, Missouri and were able to eventually locate to Chicago to pursue improvisational comedy. Was that a typical fish out of water story for a country boy, or were you able to adapt to city life pretty easily? What was the biggest shock about that initial adaptation that was related to your career change at the time?
DK: I had gone to a small college for two years and later to the University of Missouri so I had some exposure to “city people” and always sought out people who were progressive thinkers. The biggest shock was staying at the Chicago YMCA for a month. One night I had gone out for some dinner, took the elevator up to my room on the 10th floor and as the doors opened only I was greeted by a man standing casually naked in the corner of the hall. I nodded hello, appreciating the extreme absurdity of the moment, and quickly got to my room. In all my years since, I have never seen this scene play out again. I do not think it affected or related to my career.
FOH: Probably my favorite role that you have ever played was the role of Clay in “Run Ronnie Run”, it seems like you were just born to play that part. Were you involved in any of the writing sessions for that film? If so, what is it like to work with those guys and did you even have to audition for that role?
DK: That character is actually “Gerald T-bones Tibbons”. I had been doing that character for a couple of years at a club in LA called Largo. We did a show called The Naked Trucker and T-Bones show. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross and the writers had seen the show and asked me to do the part in the movie. They did an effortless job of writing for the character. We also improvised some in the movie.
FOH: As an impressionist, you have lampooned several public figures including but not limited to Mike Ditka, Burt Reynolds, Oliver Stone, Charlie Sheen, Willard Scott, and Pat Buchanan. Which impression was the hardest for you to nail down, and what about it was so difficult?
DK: Probably Oliver Stone. If I remember correctly there was not a lot of footage available to study. I consider myself to be an average/serviceable impressionist. I have a lot of admiration for those that are adept at the art.
FOH: You have five children now…How are you able to balance that large of a family with having a career that involves writing, acting, and voiceover work? Do any of your children have aspirations to be in the entertainment industry? If so, what advice would you give them if you could set aside being their dad for a moment and be their agent?
DK: My wife, Leigh and I are blessed to have so many “piggies”. It is quite frankly a great challenge to balance family and career. Having a large family is a choice and I always try to make my family a priority. There are compromises on both sides of the equation. We expose our kids to acting the same way we do with soccer, ballet, football etc. We look at it as another interest or opportunity to learn and grow. Our oldest son is only 13. They all have time to choose and explore interests. Advice? Focus and hard work always wins the day.
FOH: The partnership that you developed with David ‘Gruber’ Allen eventually led to the live comedy act which was picked up for eight episodes as “The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show”. What was your reaction when you found out that the show was to be no more? Were you surprised? Was there anything that you felt you could have done differently to make that program more successful?
DK: The Naked Trucker and T-bones show was a great opportunity and I appreciate everyone who worked on the production. I saw the ratings week to week, so I was not surprised that we were not renewed. We had implored the network to not sell the show as “blue collar comedy”, so they called it “Road House Comedy” which to me was essentially the same thing. The show, I think, would have been appreciated by the Daily Show audience, but the promotion of the show was alienating to that audience and the “blue collar” audience did not find it to their taste. We did not want to present the show in the sketch format but the network was locked into that idea. We had lobbied for a single camera show with a fable narrative. The show we ended up making was more “presentational” and I think it suffered because of it.
FOH: What’s next for David Koechner in the twelve months to come? Any big plans?
DK: I just finished shooting and independent film called, “Cheap Thrills”. It is a thriller and was a role unlike anything I have ever done. We had a great time shooting it and I think it has a chance to be very good. I also shot a film in Canada with Canadian star Brent Butt. It is called “No Clue” and is an accidental Film Noir comedy. I am not sure if they have distribution in the US. In January 2013 Marlon Wayans unspools his Paranormal spoof called “Haunted House”, I have a fun role in that film and saw a good bit of it the other day and it is Very Funny. I just read that another indie I have a role in received distribution. It is called “Small Apartments”, directed by Jonas Aukerland. He has an amazing, unique visual still that knocks my balls off. Chis Mills is the screenwriter and created an odd hilarious movie. I shot an episode of Psyche that will air this season, and I have my own YouTube channel on Official Comedy that I am producing episodes for now. We begin filming Anchorman 2 in March 2013. That might be fun. Also lots of soccer, football, ballet, volleyball, cheerleading, cub scouts, paintball, basketball, and hopefully the occasional date night.
Official Website: http://wwwdavidkoechner.com
David on Twitter: @davidkoechner
David on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/David-Koechner/305672749483532?fref=ts
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