I don't really think about it. I do my act and tell my stories and the rest just happens. I've done with varying degrees of success and failure and been okay with all of them so I don't worry about how I'm doing i just do what i'm doing.
Actually most comedians who's success really sticks come to it late in life. It takes a long time to make a really successful comedian and I've known that from the start, truly. I always expected that I'd work in obscurity for a long long time. It's waht it takes and to me it was worth it. I have also alway found new and fun ways to make a living, writing for others, ect.
[not remembering his own success] is good, because what that’s allowed me to do is have a vantage point about my own life that’s accessible to people still. I could see a guy walking down the street and be like, Even though I’m famous, I got more in common with this guy than, like, Brad Pitt. You know what I mean? Like, as a comedian, there’s a certain closeness you need with people. I listen to some of Richard Pryor’s shows as an adult, and it’s more remarkable—moments when he’s talking about freebasing and Jim Brown, staging interventions, and just these kinds of bits. Or the one where he says, "He took me in the basement and showed me the monster." I mean, I get chills thinking about that...
I suppose I am most proud of the fact that I am still here working in comedy and doing what I love. In life there are a lot of forces that can try to bring you down, but if you stick to your vision and keep at it, you will find success.
You never "make it." That is a mentality that guarantees you'll never be happy. If you are doing it in any capacity, especially for money no matter how much, you are making it, you have never "made it." Trust me. It's one of the many things I'm right about.
But I also had this thing where, when I was growing up, I got picked on a lot and I also beat some kids up. [Laughs.] I had a nice balance. I also felt like a freak because of how I looked. And I thought that if I became a comedian, people would see me on stage and go, “Oh, he’s a great, funny guy,” and then everyone would stop fucking with me. I thought that becoming a comic was going to fix these other problems. Of course, it didn’t. I just believed that it would for 15 years.
When we did Freaks and Geeks I remember sitting around Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, the four of us was just like, THIS IS IT! WE MADE IT! HOLLYWOOD HERER WE COME! Even though that show was so good, when it first came out a not a lot of people watched it, so we kind of had that moment and it kind of was taken away, and then it was given back to us when it played reruns
Well, obviously, I don't really know about jobs I didn't get. And entertainment is much more lenient, liberal and understanding about mental health issues than any other industry. (My manager said when I called him from the psych ward- "Oh! I have two other clients with bipolar- call me when you feel better!") If it has, I don't care- I didn't have much to lose by being open about it and it turns out, weirdly, it's been a cash cow, haha.
What a disgusting question! How dare you ask what I've splurged on!
Oh sorry... I see what you mean.
I donated my money to an orphanage. (Only joking - I bought a mansion in the country. I must go there someday.)
It hasn't changed at all. I have an idea, I act it out in my head, and then put it into a dictaphone, usually playing all the parts. The only thing that's changed is expectation. It was nice to come from nowhere. But you just have to put all of that out of your mind, and write like this is your first breakthrough job. And always write about what you know.
You know, at 14 years old, you don't really contemplate success and that aspect of work, you kinda do things because it's fun to do. We had an amazing crew and cast, and I had the best 8 years of my life on the show. It's not something you can force, it's either something that happens or doesn't. Yeah!
I am amazed at my career trajectory. Very seriously. I am a midwestern guy from a family where television and showbiz were not valued in any way and the whole notion of being a part of this business was very strange and hard to conceive of. Having said all of that, I love sketch comedy but I always thought I might actually have more to offer as a performer, in a slightly dramatic context. My favorite sketch performers; Chris Farley, David Cross, Dana Carvey, have a simpler, more likable energy than I do. I can't believe anyone "likes" me. But please, keep putting up with me!