The Hangover was a huge success. At last summers box office, you were a bigger draw than Eddie Murphy, Sandra Bullock, Denzel Washington, and John Krasinski -- combined.
Is that right? Combined
? Thats pretty insane, but I dont think it has anything to do with me at all. Empirically speaking, thats not quite right. Its a Todd Phillips movie. Hes a bigger celebrity than anybody in the movie. Beyond that, I think Warner Bros. got behind the movie in an unbelievable way. Its one of those perfect-storm things. You could probably study why its done well on some academic level, but at the end of the day, its just magic or fairies or something.
Was your characters missing tooth a result of special effects or oral surgery?
I didnt actually have the tooth yanked; it was an implant that I had removed for the gig. It was bolted in there pretty good, so I couldnt remove it myself, but my dentist had some fun. I had that thing out for, like, three months.
The face of comedy has changed over the past few years. Now weve got people like Judd Apatow, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, and you -- these nerdy, smart guys. Whats behind that?
My friends and I, we were raised on Caddyshack
. Those guys -- Bill Murray and Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd -- they had this swagger to them. They were these bombastic, alpha-male characters, which was a reflection of their times, the 1980s, when the economy was booming and we had this cultural, larger-than-life swagger across the board. I fell in love with comedy because of those movies. But those are not the times we live in anymore. The spirit of things has changed. We feel more vulnerable now, so our heroes are more vulnerable. I think its gratifying and relatable for audiences to see these put-upon guys persevering. I think we can all relate to that these days. [Pauses
.] My God, I sound pretentious. I really dont know what Im talking about.
Today, youre a fan favorite on The Office. The show has one of televisions most talented casts.
Ive worked really hard to surround myself with people who are funny and cool, and the people on The Office
are definitely both. I figure if I surround myself with enough good people, then maybe Ill look good too. So when I go to work on The Office
, all I need to do is sit there and I end up getting laughs because everyone around me is so darn funny. I reflect their genius. Ive got none of my own, but I reflect it very well.
Everyone on the show seems so darn nice, but theres got to be a bad apple, right?
Its me. Im the [jerk] on that show [laughs
]. No, it is an exceptional place full of exceptional people. Steve [Carell] deserves a ton of credit. Hes the star of the show, so he works harder than anybody, but he never, ever complains, so no one else can, right? Its a very positive place to be. I sound like some New Age dork, but its a set filled with laughter, and thats a good place to be.
It is said that comedy comes from pain. Whats your pain?
Everyone has personal trauma and very hard periods in life, but I dont see myself as very tortured. I struggled with my identity as a teenager in where I fit in, which was pretty much nowhere. That stuff is hard for an adolescent: being the uncool. Its really hard. I made it easier, like it is for a lot of comedians, but only a little bit, by trying to make people laugh. Comedy is always just a search for people to like you a little bit.
Youre quite the Renaissance man. Can you bake a pie?
Um, no. Actually, Im a joke in the kitchen. I do enjoy cooking, which is sad, because I suck at something I like. Thats the worst kind of sucking.