By Nathalie Weinstein
David Koechner’s face should be familiar to you by now. After a breakout performance as sports reporter Champ Kind in Anchorman, he has gone on to have supporting roles in over 20 films in addition to a recurring role on NBC’s The Office.
But that’s not enough for a man who is always on the lookout for the odd and the strange in comedy. For the last couple years, he has been testing the waters of stand-up comedy and also has a new variety show with comic Dana Gould called Carnyville, which he describes as his way of ‘embracing the odd’.
He’ll be here in Portland this week at Helium Comedy Club Thursday September 8 through Saturday, September 10. We were fortunate enough to get a few minutes with David before he heads north to Stumptown from Los Angeles.
PDX Pipeline: How is doing stand-up different performance-wise than working on a film or TV show?
David Koechner: Stand up is a personal take on comedy, whether you are being vulnerable or not. It's your take on life and what you think is funny. The way it's different is usually you're generating your own material. In a movie you're not directing, you're servicing someone else's purpose. When you act, you're acting out something someone has written. In stand-up, you act out your own thoughts.
David Koechner Show & Ticket info…
PDX: As a character actor, are you always scanning the streets for your next ¬Ëœact'?
DK: I don't purposefully make that my goal every day, but like anyone else I am struck by special or abnormal personalities. I love outsiders and people who are not the norm. I observe but I don't sit down and say I'm going to study people. I might be more eager than others to remember dialogue or physicality that strikes me. There are real people in my life that I have spun into full blown characters.
PDX: Is there anything special you do to prepare before a live performance?
DK: You have to have your material ready. I leave room for improvisation. I don't necessarily have something carved out for every moment. It's fun to organically interact with the audience.
PDX: Have you performed in or visited Portland before?
DK: Twice. I performed there for Bridgetown Comedy Fest two years ago and last year I shot an ad there for Nike. The whole place is cool. I love the bridges, the hipsters, the bars, the taps. Powell's was very cool. It reminds me of Chicago in a way. It's like if Silverlake (in Los Angeles) exploded into a full city.
PDX: Who makes you laugh?
DK: My friends make me laugh very hard: Pat Flynn, Mike Coleman, Neil Flynn, Matt Walsh. Matt is one of those guys I can't do a scene with because I laugh so hard. I'm always trying to be professional, but whatever he does just tears me apart.
I do a monthly show in Los Angeles with Dana Gould called Carnyville. Nobody makes me laugh more than Dana. The show is entirely scripted but it leans toward the oddities of what's available comedy-wise presently. We both have a love of carnies, circus freaks, back alley outsiders, and fringe elements. We all harbor those outsider elements in ourselves and some let those out and others cloak them. There's a bit of strange in everyone.
David Koechner @ Helium Comedy Club
Thursday, September 8 @ 8 p.m.
Friday, September 9 @ 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 10 @ 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Tickets are $15-20
For tickets and more information, please visit www.heliumcomedy.com/portland or call 888-64-FUNNY.