Alan Tudyk – Exclusive Interview with House of Geekery!
When the Supanova Pop Culture Expo came to Australia’s most isolated city we took the chance to chat with Firefly and Suburgatory star Alan Tudyk about Monty Python, playing the bad guy and why you shouldn’t do stand-up comedy in Texas.
G-Funk: Thanks for coming down to Perth, Alan.
Alan Tudyk: My pleasure.
G: How have you been finding it here?
AT: Great, I’ve been out a couple of times other than the conventions…did some karaoke, which I don’t usually do.
G: We did see the pictures circulating on Facebook…
AT: Right, right…it had to be a really great time for me to have gotten up to do it and I know I was having a good time.
G: Perth has roughly two degrees of separation, so we all saw the photos pretty quickly.
AT: (Laughs) It was great.
G: Now coming from a geek community there is a legal obligation. I have to ask: is Firefly coming back.
AT: No. (Laughs)
G: Are you surprised to see so many Firefly fans still coming out in force at these events?
AT: Yeah, it’s neat to see so many new fans. Younger fans – like children who were three or four or five years old when it was on the air…it’s amazing that it’s still finding a new audience. It’s great. I do hope that one day that…I personally think that there will be some version of Firefly again like Arrested Development finding another way to make a few episodes. So long as Nathan Fillion is involved, whenever he gets done with Castle at some point in the future. It could be fifteen years from now – Captain Mal is living in the middle of nowhere and something happens that causes him to start again and have new adventures. It could be done. So long as you have Joss and Nathan – you could go from there.
G: Maybe one day. We’ve seen you play some villains recently, both as Alpha and in Wreck-It Ralph. Do you find it a different challenge from playing the comedic character?
AT: Oh yeah…I like comedy, comedy is better. It’s just how my brain works. Playing villains is harder, I have to concentrate more. (Chuckles) Which isn’t my best quality…the ability to focus. I have an easier time doing comedy. But one thing I did enjoy in Wreck-It Ralph is that the villain is so silly. Right up until the end when he reveals himself he’s a joke, you know? He’s a little bitty king who’s pushing people around until you realise what a bad, bad person he is, or whatever he is, I don’t think he’s even a person.
G: The character Turbo has picked up a bit of a cult following, have you seen any of this?
AT: I saw a guy dressed like Turbo! That was awesome!
G: We saw him too, that was cool!
AT: (In character) TURBO-TASTIC! We took a picture together, it was great.
G: On your broadway work – you’ve done a couple of Monty Python projects. Is that a big influence for you?
AT: Sure, I mean on my best days I’m pulling from that influence. They were very cerebral, very smart comedy. I think I’m more of a prat falling, fart joke kind of guy. Getting to do those, say those words and be in that world for that limited time made me feel funnier than than I am. It’s nice.
G: Is the notion that Americans don’t ‘get’ British humour a myth or are you the exception?
AT: I think we get it. It is its own taste, but I grew up in Dallas and that’s where Monty Python was first shown on television late at night… in Dallas off a Dallas station. I remember it coming on and thinking ‘what the hell is this?’ I think that they are pioneers in comedy and they opened up a lot of minds. Their influence is everywhere. Look at The Office…we did change it and make the American The Office and that seems to be the thing that most people know…but I don’t know, we love Ricky Gervais and that’s British.
G: At the beginning of your career you did a bit of stand-up comedy. Is that something that you want to go back to? (AT starts laughing) I did see on Wikipedia that there was an audience member incident – can you tell us what happened?
AT: I wonder what that guy…that guy has no idea the way he influenced my life. Ray was his name. Ray or Roy. It was Roy. Some drunk. I was doing it at the Holiday Inn in Jacksonville, Texas, which no longer exists. I went to see if it’s still there but it isn’t there anymore, it’s now a family restaurant. There was a club and you’d do thirty minute sets which is really a long set. I got fifty bucks for thirty minutes which was huuuuge money. I kept coming back to this guy – I wasn’t even making fun of him. If a joke didn’t land I’d say ‘Roy gets it! Yeah, see? You can explain it to them Roy!’ At some point he got tired of being called out. He stood up with both middle fingers (laughing) to the sky and said ‘F you motherf’er…I gonna kill you’, something along those lines. I couldn’t do anything because there’s no bouncer and if I said anything he was going to kill me. He was going to attack me and it’s in Texas and people were happy to watch that more than my act. Watching him kick the shit out of me would’ve been funnier for them. So, yeah…I left. I don’t know – I panicked and went ‘Ok then’ and started telling some other jokes. I went back to some stronger material and stopped doing my new stuff. Oh God, it’s so embarrassing…
G: So you’re never going back to stand-up?
AT: No, God, no not now! I mean now…fuck Roy, who cares where that guy is. Stand-up comedians are…that’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. That is one of the hardest jobs in the world. No matter how funny you think you are, to get up in front of them…it’s such a talent and a skill level to pull that off. I don’t pretend to know or think I know how to do that.
Before we wrapped up our chat Alan was kind enough to record a personal greeting for my son Funk Jr., whose favourite movie is Wreck-It Ralph, in character as King Candy. Quite remarkably Alan could drop straight into the King Candy voice, complete with demented giggling, at a moments notice. It’s a rare treat to meet such a great talent and see them work, and 3-year old Funk Jr. had his mind completely blown! A huge thanks to Alan for taking to time to chat with us!