Q&A: David Koechner Talks Favorite Roles, Standup, and Kicking Off His New Tour in Boston
You know him as Champ from Anchorman 2, Todd Packer from The Office, and many characters from his days on SNL.
Only a comedian would answer the phone singing, “Just another band out of Boston,” which is just why David Koechner’s greeting wasn’t surprising. Currently selling out box offices with his performance as Champ Kind in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, but equally known for his roles on The Office and Saturday Night Live, Koechner has had an impressive acting career, not to mention his YouTube comedy channel, “Full On Koechner.”
This Friday, Koechner will headline The Wilbur for the first stop on his stand-up tour, “Together Again.” To get you prepared the show, Koechner talked with us about Anchorman 2, his upcoming projects, and how much he admires Boston.
So you’re back again in Anchorman 2, in theaters now. Which of the two was your favorite?
Of the movies? Boy, that’s like picking kids. I can’t say one or the other. They were different in that the first time, it was this realization while we were making it—”uh oh, this is special, this feels amazing”—and then the second time, I just made the point of being very present every day and enjoying every second of it.
What was your favorite part about being Champ?
Well, he’s just so conflicted. He’s a messed-up guy, but he doesn’t know it. I guess that’s my favorite. And, you know, I never get to act like that in real life, so that’s a fun thing to have a completely different attitude about everybody else, and to be able to say things I would never be able to say in my personal life.
There were a lot of celebrity appearances in this one. Was it fun to get a new crop of faces this time around?
Yeah, that was thrilling. We have this picture that has almost everybody who did a cameo in that picture for one day, and that’s a remarkable thing, to have that little keepsake.
It seems like you’ve worked with a lot of these actors multiple times. You worked with Will Ferrell on Talladega Nights, among other things, and Steve Carell on The Office—what are those relationships like now?
Will and I were actually hired onto Saturday Night Live on the same day, and later that night we went to a Yankees game. Lorne [Michaels] sent a car and gave us tickets to a Yankees game. We both kind of looked at each other and went, “What just happened?” So I’ve known Will a long time, and Steve Carell’s wife, Nancy, and I were in the same company in Second City. So yeah, it’s been fun. I was at their wedding, I was at Will’s wedding, they were at my wedding. I’ve known these people a very long time, and it’s fun to be able to work with your friends.
You’re taking a little bit of a different turn with a thriller coming out in March.
Cheap Thrills. It’s a dynamic, sinister, dark thriller. It’s a really tough film to describe, because you don’t want to call it dark comedy, because it’s not. It’s very base. There are comic undertones in the picture, but it’s not a straight-out comedy. It really is intriguing and pulls people in. I’ve watched it with festival audiences and they go on a fun ride. You’ve got to see this movie. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done, and the audience reaction is just as much fun to watch as the film.
You are writing a pilot too for a show on NBC?
Yeah. I’m lucky enough to, hopefully, get to stay home for a little while. I have a deal with NBC to create a variety show, and we’re going to shoot a pilot in the spring.
Anything in particular we should be looking forward to with that?
Hopefully many seasons on the air! That’s what I’m looking forward to. It’s a tricky thing to repurpose the variety show. In the ’70s they were many in number, and they were very successful, and each one had their own flavor. So hopefully all the old ones will inform what we’re going to do going forward, and [we’ll] also be conscious of how people digest all their media these days. There are so many platforms that you have to really be conscious of. What will play where, and how are people going to digest this? But at the end of the day, entertainment, if it’s good, works everywhere. So the goal is to make them laugh and have fun.
You’ve had a pretty lengthy filmography. What’s been your favorite role you’ve done?
You know, I’d have to say Champ Kind, because it’s given me so much in return. I guess, beyond that, there’s a little movie I made with Mike Judge called Extract and there’s a character I had to play, Nathan, this really annoying neighbor, that was just eternal fun.
Tell me a little bit about your “Together Again” tour, which starts with the Boston show on Friday.
It’s me, myself, and I, and I’m bringing along my buddy, Matt Dwyer—he’s my open comic—and my buddy Andy Bailey—he plays music. I close the show with some music doing a character that I’ve done for years. I do a mix of observational humor and character work, and I always try to have every show be it’s own organic experience, so who know’s what we’re in for.
How did you come up with the line-up of cities for this tour?
My manager has a lot of comics that he works with, and so this was his suggestion of doing this run of cities right now, and it seemed perfect for me. This way I get to go one night in a bunch of different cities, and that way I can be home Sunday night. You know, I leave Friday and get to be home Sunday night; that’s not a bad business trip.
What’s your favorite city to do stand-up in? Is there one crowd that’s been particularly memorable?
I think it’s going to be Boston. You know what, honestly, I’ve had great success and a lot of fun in every city I’ve toured. If there was one bad town, I won’t mention it. Boston’s a great town. Look, it’s an important American city. How can you not love Boston? Boston is as American as the rest of the country. Boston’s roots have to be part and parcel to the rest of the country because of its unique importance and relationship with making the foundation of our country. So without Boston, guess what, there’d be no America.
Boston will be the first stop on your tour. What do you hope for with the first show?
That people come out, because it’s so G-D cold. No, we’re just going to have a blast. I want people to come out, have a great experience, have a great night, and let’s create a memory…Come out. Let me bake your beans.
$25+, Friday, January 10, 7:30 p.m., The Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., 617-248-9700, ticketmaster.com.