Different stages

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Were you funny as a kid?

I remember being able to turn the adults on by making them laugh. I never really did understand what was going on, but I kept doing it, so I guess I was encouraged.

Did you decide then that you wanted to be a comedian?

I always wanted to do stand-up when I was a kid. But when I got to college, I started acting and I thought, "Maybe I'll act when I get out of school." Then I realized that before you act, people have to give you a job. Or, I could walk on stage in a comedy club, and that seemed like a lot more fun.

What did you study in college?

I studied communications, but when I got there I spent all my time in the theater, and quickly realized that's what I wanted to do. My senior year I went out on an interview in New York for an ad agency, and I was miserable. When I got back, I changed into my sneakers and ran down to the theater. I was so happy, I realized, "I don't think working's going to work for me."

Did you gravitate toward stand-up because it gave you more control?

Stand-up is the purest form of show business. It doesn't seem to me that there's anything more intimate and more direct and more results-oriented than stand-up. It has that control and that give-and-take with the audience. You can't beat it.

You still act, of course, but do you pursue roles?

I don't pursue them. It's kind of all part of the mix. I guess I feel that anything I do on TV or film kind of makes my stand-up a little nicer. More people come out to see me. I'm not just a guy rolling through town who happens to be there that night.

I also love doing it. I just shot a movie with Matt Damon called The Informant, which comes out next year, and it was a blast.

Were you asked to do Bee Movie, or did you just kind of come on board?

Kind of both. Jerry [Seinfeld] and I are real good friends, so if he hadn't put me in the movie we probably would have had an uncomfortable lunch or two.