Written by Dan Hollis
Since starring in Superbad, Jonah Hill has seen his career soar. He is aÂ Judd Apatow regular, having starred in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the forthcoming Russell Brand vehicle Get Him To The Greek. He sat down with Pure Movies to talk about British comedy and, his latest Apatow project, Funny People.
The film deals with the lives and loves of the stand-up comic scene. Why was the L.A. comic scene just so right for the Hollywood treatment?
Jonah Hill: Why was it right for it? I just think it was an interesting subject ground of starting out in comedy, the competitiveness, the eagerness to succeed, and what it takes for something that seems so fun and joyous but thatâ€™s not always as fun and joyous as you would think it would be.
What about you, going into showbiz or the comedy world isnâ€™t always seen as the most stable career, how did your folks feel about it?
JH: My parents were pretty supportive, but my dad made it pretty clear that I would not receive a dollar from him ever. He was like, I want you to be happy, but just know that you have to support yourself. So it was a risk, but now theyâ€™re really psyched because there were a few years where it looked like I wasnâ€™t going to amount to very much, and I think they were relieved that I came out of that with a really hard work ethic, and succeeded in what I tried to do that made me happy.
If you had to give a bit of advice to an aspiring stand-up comic that would stand them in really good stead, what would that bit of advice be?
JH: Be yourself. That’s it, just be yourself.
In your emergence as a comedy actor, have any British shows or comedians influenced your career?
JH: Yeah I’ve actually worked a lot with British comedians, my biggest influences are British. I worked for Sacha Baron Cohen for six months, on Bruno I was one of the producers. And I did something with Ricky Gervais, worked with Russell Brand. I really love the British version of The Office, that was one of my favourites, Alan Partridge, Garth Merenghi’s ‘Dark Place’ , that’s all stuff I’m into, so a lot of British humour is pretty killer. I know that Leslie Mann is a big fan of Mr Bean….she drew a lot from him.
With the stand-up scenes, do you think it’s more difficult performing the stand-up whilst being filmed, and having to get it right?
JH: Yeah. I was really impressed by Adam doing the stand-up whilst playing such a character, I thought that was really cool, like the scenes where he was breaking down but still doing the stand-up, half telling jokes, half freaking out. I think that was the most depressed I was.
Last edited: 12th September 2009
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