Bill Hader

July 24, 2013

Hi, I'm Bill Hader. I'm a actor / comedian / writer and I also play birthday parties. AMA!

You might know me from SNL, I was in "Superbad", and I sometimes write at South Park. And I do voices for movies, such as "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." Check out my new movie "The To Do List" which opens July 26, hopefully in a city near you.

This photo was taken in direct sunlight but please accept it as proof.

Ask me anything.

Update: Alas, I must go attend to my screaming child. But thank you guys so much for your questions and it's been incredibly flattering and nice to know that I've made so many of you laugh. Thank you.

Hello! Congratulations on the Emmy nomination, SNL won't be the same without you. I fell off my chair crying with laughter at "MY NAME IS CLARK AND I LIKE BISCUITS AND WAFFLES" - where on earth did that character come from?!

(I'm posting this on behalf of my sister who is probably your biggest fan in England)

Anthony Coleman was created by John Solomon and Rob Klein. I showed up the morning of the table read and they said "OH WE GOT SOMETHIN' FOR YOU!" I love that character! Thanks so much from across the pond.

Mr. Hader or Stefan, what REALLY is the most exotic club you have been to??

From me, Bill, that would be a cellar-type place in Mexico City. I seriously thought I was going to die. From Stefon. BOOOOOOOOOF (with nine "o's")

Hey Bill. Big fan of SNL from UK! What sketch have you wrote that you are most proud of and is there a line from Stefon sketch that as soon as you read you just burst out laughing

The sketch I was the most proud of was probably one about your neck of the woods. It was called Do You Go Runnin Round Re Ro and it was a take on British Gangster movies and how we Americans can't understand what the actors are saying with those thick Yorkshire accents and all. And my favorite Stefan line was "Jewish vampire Sydney Applebaum."

Question 1: You mentioned on Conan the other night about the tumblr blog dedicated to you needing new clothes. Did someone point that out to you, or did you find it yourself? Are you aware of the huge fanbase on tumblr about you? Question 2: Over the years on SNL, you kissed many of your male co-stars(and a few hosts). Who would you say is the best kisser?

1) I was told about it from basically my entire family, including my wife who I honest think is running it. That's very flattering re: tumbler. 2) Franco. 100 percent.

I'm going to be really lame and ask- what's your favorite color?

Hey Bill, love your work on SNL and South Park. I admire the quality and commitment you bring to the table as a writer/team player when you all create content. As you have, I will be studying and aspiring for this high point in my own comedic writing career as I will be leaving St. Louis for UCLA in the fall. You are one of the reasons I enjoy this life style. Here are my questions:

The best thing you can do is write, write, write, and write. And read. A lot. And fail. The more you fail the better you'll get. At SNL you could have an amazing show and then just BOMB the following Wednesday at the table read. Stay tough. Don't compare yourself to other people. Just follow your path and have fun.



and now for the questions..

did you ever want to do weekend update on SNL?

are you working on anything new, if so WHEN?

do you like cats?

are you doing anything in florida soon?

you're my idol! keep doing whatcha do :3

How much does it cost for you to do a birthday party? I'D LOVE THAT!!!! thanks with love, emma martin and hunter berger

1) I never thought about doing update and was never asked. HAHA! I think I was better at the impressions and characters on update maybe...right? 2) My wife's movie THE TO DO LIST is coming out on July 26th. It's hilarious. And I'm in CLEAR HISTORY which is on HBO in August. 3) LOVE cats. Had cats in our house growing up. Boots and Boots 2.

Thank you! It cost a hot meal and cot to sleep on...

What was it like on the set of Hot Rod? seems like a great group to work with.

It was a blast. First movie I ever did. Major memories: Danny McBride and I watching the Tyra Banks Show at lunch everyday and the stuntman breaking his leg for real in the opening scene!

Hi Bill! Do you know about any other tumblr blogs besides the clothes one?

Cute Boys with Cats. Soooo cute.

How do you pick your projects? Oh, and who gave away Stefon at the wedding?

If I want to see the movie and it's an interesting part to play, then I'm in! Stefon was given away by Italian Club Promoter Gay Liotta.

What did you have for dinner last night?

I was at the To Do List premiere last night and there was nothing to eat! I ended up have two mini cheeseburgers. My stomach still hurts.

I'm a huge fan from Australia - thank you so much for this AMA!

Just a couple of questions:

  1. What has been your favourite moment in your career so far?

  2. What do you have planned for the future?

  3. What is your favourite food?

  4. What song can you not stop listening to right now?

1) probably the first time I said LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT, and watching my wife introduce her movie last night. 2) Hopefully sleep. Writing and reading. I have a movie with Wiig called THE SKELETON TWINS that I'm excited to see. It's a drama! 3) I love fish tacos at the moment. Wahoo's in LA! The best! 4) "Freak Scene" by Dinosaur Jr.

Hi Mr. Bill! How much fun was working with Aubrey Plaza? Please tell me she's really awkward in real life.

Aubrey is awkward. She doesn't care if she makes people feel uncomfortable. But she's always been that way, even when she was shooting the Jeanie Tate Show with Maggie (my wife) back in 2006. She's awesome. And really funny. And actually incredibly gracious and sweet.

Bill, I'm headed to New York in a couple weeks. I was hoping you could direct me to a few of the best hot spots for myself my wife and toddler.

HAHA! Me, Bill, I'm a geek, so I love The Strand Bookstore. Central Park (esp Sheeps Meadow) is a great spot to hang with the fam. The Natural History Museum has a great water park-type thing in the back for hot days. And, of course, BOOOOOOOOOF!

Hey Bill! Huge fan!

When did you first discover you had a talent for impressions?

THANKS! When I was in middle school, before my voice broke, I could do Bart Simpson. Then I'd do my teachers and friends in high school (one of them, Eric Singleton, is the basis of my character in Hot Rod).

Hi Mr. Bill Hader, this may be my only opportunity ever to say thank you. My baby sister wasn't sure "what she wanted to be when she grew up." Thankfully, you came on SNL around the time that we started showing it to her. She's 13.5 now and she has the want to work on SNL someday and the drive. When I ask her who inspires her most, she says its you. So thank you, so very much for being a positive inspiration in her life and I cannot wait to see The To Do List!

You rock! Keep doing what you're doing Mr. Hader!

Man that means a lot to me. Seriously. I remember seeing Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman growing up and having the same feeling. Tell her thank you and to get out there and fail! It's the only way you'll learn. Stay tough and have fun.

People that don't like you, do you call them Haders? that was a terrible pun

HAHA. No. I guess not. It works though, I guess...

Bill, how long have you been playing drums? As a drummer, that little flourish in Hot Rod, while waiting for Andy to pick you up to go to the hospital, was too fluid to be something that someone just showed you for effect. You hand-muted the crash, people don't just pretend to do that!

Dude, I wish I could play the drums. I'm pretty good at air drums. I've been doing that hand-muting move since 7th grade!

Thanks for doing this! What was it like working with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost? And how was the whole experience of filming Paul?

Fantastic. I'm a huge fan of there's and I was thrilled that they asked me to be apart of that one. They are just the sweetest guys and damned talented writers. We'd mostly sitting around geeking out over movies and Nick would cook us dinner on Sundays.

Ok so the little kid in me is slipping out, Bill you are my all time favorite actor of all time, it's my dream to be on a sketch based comedy show like snl. Your my hero

Anyway I guess my question is, how many of Stephan's lines from weekend update are improv?

Thank you buddy! Not a lot of them, except for the times John Mulaney throws me under the bus and changes stuff on me. Sometime the asides to Seth are improvized. But not a whole lot. Thanks again for the nice comment!

I was watching the outtakes for "the Californians" on SNL, how hard was it to keep a straight face during that skit among others?? By the way you are absolutely hilarious and keep up the good work!

The first time we did it, Fred just starting doing that voice ("Whaaaaaat are you doing here?!") and Kristen and I were like "What?" It was so funny. I hadn't heard him do it before. Man o man it made me laugh. Then it became a game of who could stretch out the vowels in their sentences the most. It got crazy. THANKS!

If you could have collaborated on a sketch with any past SNL alum, who would it be? BONUS: What would be the premise of the sketch?

I would've loved to work with Phil Hartman. Something with us as two political radio personalities or something.

Hi Bill, I loved you in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

If you could bring one historical figure back to life for a fight to the death, who would it be?

It would of course have to be FDR. I'd have an obvious advantage.

Your Al Pacino impression. The first time it appeared on SNL, I immediately thought it would be a regular character, maybe even developed into something like the Joe Pesci Show. Was a conscious decision made to not exploit that impression? I thought it was brilliant.

Also, nice job on Andy Warhol in MIB III. Keep up the good work

THANK YOU Re: MIB3 Yes, I tried hard to exploit it and it didn't really take. I wrote some pretty subpar stuff for that one. So I decided he was best kept in small doses.

I saw you in that criterion dvd room and you recommended house (awesome movie by the way), what are some of your other favorite obscure classics in cinema?

Man o man. How much time do you have? I love all the greats: Kurosawa, Bergman, Fellini, Kubrick Some movies that I've liked lately: Port of Shadows, Ikiru, Shame (Bergman), The Prowler, and Ugetsu

Hey I have few questions but first I just want to say I'm a big fan and your performances in Superbad, Hot Rod and the Snl clips that I've seen(it's like impossible to watch in the UK) had me in stitches and I just wanted to say thanks. Right questions. 1)What is your favorite Snl sketch that you've been in and what is your favorite that you aren't in? 2) I read somewhere that you're writing for South Park now. is this true and are you just writing or are you also providing voice work? 3) Which actor and Director would you most like to work with?

1) In: Tough one, too many, lately I liked the Puppet sketch where I'm the war veteran, Anthony Coleman. Not in: LOVED the sketch this year when Wiig hosted with the two women on a date with two young boys (Bobby and Tim).

2) I am writing for them! Just did our retreat last week, gear up for new season in September! Very excited.

3) Love to work with the Coen Bros or Woody Allen.

THANKS FOR WATCHING. Gotta get SNL over the pond to you guys!

Bill, huge fan! When I was listening to your interview with Howard Stern, you mention how anxious you get during performances. Having never been able to guess you have anxiety, can you talk about any things you do to rid of the obvious physical signs of anxiety before performing?

I purposely do something on air that I haven't planned to get me out of my head. It's like tricking your brain. It makes me feel like I screwed up so I can except that I screwed up and relax.

How weird was it shooting that scene with Rachel Bilson and having Connie Briton and Clark Gregg walk in? And how much of the stuff in "The To Do List" was improvised?

It could've been insanely weird bc my wife was directing it, but it was a lot of fun. Not a lot of improvising in that movie bc the script was so good and the jokes were so clear. That moment though, me standing up to shake Clark's hand, was improvised though...

You. Are. Awesome. That is all.


What was your favorite cartoon as a child?

and thanks for all the laughter! your impressions are ridiculously good!!

Bugs Bunny. All the way.

Also, sorry to bombard you with questions (two), but what music do you like? Any certain musicians/bands? Thank you for all the lovely work you have done.

1) I like a lot of stuff. In high school I LOVED punk. Gang of Four. The Ramones, The Clash. AND - I also loved the opposite of that which were bands like Pink Floyd, Rush, and Frank Zappa. New bands: The National, Vampire Weekend, Savages, Elenor Friedberger, Radiohead, Flaming Lips

What's a good club to go to this weekend?

Best club at the moment: ...Kevin?


Aw thanks! that scene was not awkward at all. (my wife directed it). not at all...yeah...

Bill! Big fan. You're hilarious in the best way.

You wrote a slasher film?!? Whats up with this project? Sounds very interesting.

It's on the shelf at the moment. Wrote it for Judd Apatow. We can't really crack it. Hard to make it funny with all the killing and whatnot. So much easier when they're zombies!

Hi Bill! I hear that you're a known attendant of some of the most exclusive California orgies. How much do you participate ? What motivates you to continue attending them? Anybody famous ever crash one of these orgies that you'd be willing to let us know about?

It's really those guys. I mostly sit in the room and laugh and suggest stuff. I'd love to bring back Kanye West fish...

Australian Fan here: I just wanted to thank you for being one of the only Americans that can properly do an Australian accent! (such as when you played Julian Assange)

Most people just do a cockney english accent haha

That made my day. So hard to do that properly. Kate McKinnon does a good one too.


Hell yes. I hope she appreciates the frankness of it. It's not a romantic comedy. It's a movie about a girl trying to get laid. I wouldn't lie to you - it's hilarious. Matt Stone from South Park was there last night and he hates everything and he loved it. And it's not just bc he's my friend: he hates most of the movies I'm in.

Which older generation SNL skit do you think is under appreciated?

Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer is amazing. Probably my favorite sketch. There's another Jack Handy one called "Deerheads" with Harvey Keitel that's sublime.

Hey Bill, what do you hope to accomplish working on South Park full time now?

To play cartman!

People at work call me Bill Hader because I look like you. I must ask...are you my dad?

Hmmmmmmm. If you're three-years old and at my house, then maybe...


THANK YOU!!! That scene with the baseball bat was one of my faves!

Hi, I love your work. Can you advise on how i can get my neighbor to stop blasting his television to such a volume that, were I to have kidney stones, the vibrations from the walls and floor would disintegrate them? Without having to knock and ask him to turn it down, of course. Love your work.

You calmly knock on the door and say "Please shut the fuck up"

Dearest William,

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is one of my FAVORITE animated films of all time. I'm SO STOKED for the sequel. You're the best supporting character in all the films you're in. You've been the most consistently funny actor on SNL since Will Ferrell left. So when do we get to see you as a leading man in a live-action film?

Also, I saw the panel you did with Stiller, Carrey, and Rock at the film festival and LOVE the story about you and Stiller and how you've bonded over the years. I can only hope to have a similar relationship with a comedian like yourself as I pursue my career at Second City.

Also also, what was your training like? Did you do Second City, UCB, Groundlings, or IO? Would you recommend it to other aspiring comedic actors?

Eternally yours,

1) I have my biggest role in a movie to date in THE SKELETON TWINS with Wiig. It's an indie drama and it'll hopefully play some festivals next year. 2) That's cool. Yeah, Ben has been nothing but good to me since I was 17 (half my life!) 3) I was a Second City LA. It was alright, but I'd probably do UCB now. I couldn't get into Groundlings! Two-year waiting list!

I like the plaid shirt you wear all the time. Y'know the one. That's it. Have a good day.

Aw thanks. It's mysteriously vanished from our house...I'm looking in my wife's direction...

What were the logistics to getting Kim Gordon, Aimee Mann, Steve Jones, J. Mascis, and Carrie Brownstein together for the "It's a lovely day"

How close are you to any of them?

Fred worked that whole thing out. They all live in our around NYC I guess. I was so nervous to play the bass in front of them. S. Jones said: "You sound like Syd" "I do?" "Yeah, he couldn't play worth shit."

I know Carrie pretty well. She's amazing.

Favorite sweet?

All of them. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.


Fill in with your favorite food/snack/beverage: "Cloudy with a Chance of ______."

(Mine would be Cloudy with a Chance of Chocolate. Delicious weather!)

"Cloudy with a Chance of Two-Fish-Tacos-With-A-Side-Of-White-Beans-and-Brown-Rice-with-a-Club-Soda"

What's your favorite pair of shoes?

If you've ever seen a photo of me you'll know it's a pair of grey New Balances.

Hey Bill, I just saw Turbo with my son. You were awesome.

THANKS! Hope your son doesn't hate me!

Hi Bill. Do you believe in ancient aliens?

No. I feel like there'd be more proof, like the dinosaurs.

I'm sorry about the clothes blog I feel so bad/embarrassed I hope you weren't offended I was a dumb 19 year old when I made it I'm sorry

You're really wonderful okay bye

HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! You're blog was on National TV! Good Job! I'm still gonna think it was my wife. And don't feel bad. It forced me to take a long hard look in the mirror...and buy a suit...

How awesome was it working with Aubrey Plaza?

On a scale of 1-10, how funny is The To Do List?

Super excited to watch it opening day.

1) Plaza is amazing. High octane funny... and yet so quiet. 2) 10,000,000.


Did I just see you in a t-mobile commercial?

YES. Those were a lot of fun. There will be 10 more...I think...

Tell us something you've never told anyone.

When I was 22, I saw Michael Showalter at LAX and said I was a fan and he said "Oh thanks" and then I cursed myself all the way home...

What are your favorite pizza toppings? You should put cashews as a topping sometime, seriously. It is seriously the best thing since pepperoni. Seriously

I like cheese. Again, crazy boring guy. I did have pizza with lamb on it once and that was a interesting.

Who was in the robot horse?

John Lutz of 30 Rock fame!! One of the best guys in the world!

Stefan, what is a human fruit basket?

It's that thing of when you take a midget to a grocery store and stuff a bunch of produce into there shirt Animal House-style and carry them to the car.

Hey Bill!

I used to work on a show called "Livin' Large" with you back in the day. You were an overnight tape vault something or other, and we had to share a computer. I put up a picture of myself and my friends holding beers and screaming at the camera. A picture you said you loved. I'm currently at work, so I don't have access to this picture, but when I get home do you want me to send it to you? I'm sure it'll cheer you up to see it. :)

HAHA. That's crazy. I never got paid for that show!! I worked there for like a month!!

Good to hear from you!

Is it bad that I keep confusing you with Sudeikis?

I confuse me with Sudeikis

How do you find the voices for impressions? Are you one of those people who just hear it and get it instantly or do you sit in front of the mirror and endlessly practice?

I practice practice practice.

Hi! You're wonderful. I'm really going to miss seeing Stefon.

I was wondering what your favorite snack food is.

Trying to make it apples!

Dude you're amazing. You're best was when you did an impression of Donald duck having a nightmare on SNL. We love ya Stefon!!

That was one of my faves. Thanks!

How was being on Russell's Brand's radio show? Did you guys go out after?

It was a blast. And we did go out for a very healthy lunch, if I remember correctly...

What do you have against Jorma dancing??

He's so so little

How much of Hotrod was improvised?! The whole banana board scene gets me every time.

HAHA. Not a lot. That scene was actually based on something that happened to my friend, eric. He was on acid and a piece of metal went into his eye...

You know I'm reading all your replies with your voice in my head.

Oh gooooooooooodddasdfas;ldfjkha;skldjfha;skdjfha;sdljkfasl;kdjfaslkdfj

Jokes aside, just wanted to say that you have made me smile and laugh countless times over the past few years, so thank you. And while I have no doubts that you'll go down in SNL history as one of the greats, I can't wait to see what you'll do beyond that, too.

There are a lot of people I love to watch on TV but would never want to grab a beer with, and vice versa. But you're definitely at the top of my list for either. You seem to transcend all of the crazy pageantry of the celebrity world while functioning so perfectly within it, which is pretty cool in itself.

I'm going to stop now, but basically, you're the man. Cheers!

What a nice thing to say! Thanks man. I want to copy this down and keep it in my wallet and open it if I ever feel like I'm disappearing up my own ass! All kidding aside, very touched. Thanks.

I heard you ruined the ending of Titanic to a movie theater full of annoying sorority girls that had rented it out when you used to work at a movie theater in Broken Arrow, OK.

Yes I did. But it was in Tempe, AZ. And I was immediately fired. But it was worth it.

Greetings Mr. Hader. What was/is your main goal in life? Also, I love you.

To not worry about things I can't control. I love YOU!

Why are you making shitty cell phone commercials?

They aren't THAT shitty...

Hey Bill! Teddy grahams were my favorite snack growing up. Do you know any actual teddy graham people in real life?

Yes and they are soooo cute and delicious.

I'm glad you came here Devin. Did you take Beverly over to Santa Monica, North on to San Vicente before getting on the 10?

Actually I took the sunset to crescent heights, then hooked a louie on olympic and took it all the downtown to the JW Marriot...

You are part of one of the most successful "incoming classes" on SNL of all time, with yourself, Samberg, Wiig, and Sudeikis all starting in the same year and all of you going on to have fantastic careers on and off SNL. What was it like coming in with these guys? Do you guys think of yourself as a "class"? Was the chemistry and energy apparent right off the bat, or did it take time to develop? Do you guys have any fun bonding moments or memories that you guys like to reminisce about?

I feel so insanely lucky that I came in with those guys. I learned a lot from them. We for sure think of ourselves as a class...we took this great pic on wiig/andy's last show that I have framed in our house. those guys are very special to me...

Why does everyone have to read from cue cards on SNL?

Because material is being rewritten at such a fast rate that we have to have them. The entire show changes about 30 min before we go live. It's freaky. I have nightmares that the cards are wrong.

Love your work man - I feel you could even do "serious" stuff if it was right for you. Ever been offered or wanted to do do? I have food poisoning. Keep up the great work!

Sorry about the food poisoning. I had something like that two weeks ago and it SUUUCCKS. Wiig and I did a film called THE SKELETON TWINS that is a drama that I'm excited about. I'd love to do more of that stuff.

How did you get to be a voice in the latest Star Trek? Are you a Trekkie?

JJ Abrams emailed me...actually I emailed HIM, ha, and said I'd love to be a voice in the movie and a year later he put me in. I'm a latent Trekkie, but one nonetheless.

As a fellow Midwesterner, I look up to guys like you, Sudeikis, Riggle, Rudd, Hamm, etc. I have spontaneous bouts of delusions of grandeur, and I'd love to know how you managed to go from Tulsa to LA. I'm not oblivious to the fact that the industry essentially requires one to move to LA or New York, but that is just scary as hell to me.

Any advice?

Move to LA. We all did it. LA is cheaper than NYC. But it's really about getting connections. I was a PA, a delivery guy at a Post house, an assistant editor, anything to meet people. And you make friends, and those friends have friends. It's great. Just be patient and don't get caught up n the BS.

How much to rent you for a private party?

As much as any T-mobile commercial pays....

My dad works for T-Mobile, but I just wanted to say I really enjoy your Jump commercials. Like, a lot.

Additionally, my girlfriend always says your name rather affectionately whenever you appear on the tv or in a movie.

Don't worry. It's just the way girls say "Hader" You got nothing to worry about... I love those commercials too. Hope your dad likes them!

Hey Bill! Just saw the The To Do List at the premier last night! Awesome job! seriously thought you were one of the funniest your wife did amazing. I just wanted to know how it was working with that great cast and especially working with your wife?

Glad you liked it. I thought that screening went great. I'm so proud of my lady, I must say. She did a lot for very, very little. It was great. Not a lot of improvising. It was a very short shoot 24 days so we were all sprinting. It was a blast.

I saw you on Drunk History last night - so good :) Will you do any more? It looked like you had fun with it.

I hope so. That show is genius. I love Derek Waters. He was in the first improv show I saw in LA back in 2001 that made me go "I should do that!"

You did the best Tauntaun impression I had ever heard when you were on Conan a few years back. I just want to say you're the best and I can't wait to see you in stuff in the future.

Man thank you. That was a huge swing and it paid off. I still get people on the street that will ask me to do it!

If you are met by a fan in the street or any public place, how do you prefer to be approached?

I've always wondered this of people at your level of fame. Obviously, one should not be an asshole and interrupt a meal or conversation but- shaking hands? Asking for autographs? Can I buy you a beer? That sort of thing. I never approach celebrities because I don't real feel they owe me a personal interaction like that and I feel it would be an imposition.

It's best to say "How would I like to be approached by someone?" If you're eating dinner with a gf/bf or in the middle of something, it can be awkward to get interrupted. But if your standing alone in a bookstore or waiting in line for a coffee, totally fine. Pics can be weird bc if people see you do one, then they all ask for them. Sometimes the weirdos ruin it for the others.

Bill, I doubt you'll see this but my girlfriend and I are huge fans of SNL and I got her into the show after years of "mehness" from you playing Stefan.

We technically only watched the show for you and are worried it may not be as good with you not around. A question and a possible request:

  1. What was your favourite "club" Stefan talked about?

  2. Could you possibly describe a club called KD, a fun place in Queens where the music is only as hot as the lava that is repeatedly poured on the floor...?

1) BOOOOOOOOOF with nine "o's" 2) KD has everything: Hewy. Dewy. Louie. An old Native American Woman that looks like Robbie Robertson.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Bill Hader conducted on Reddit on 2013-07-24. The Reddit AMA can be found here.