TR Interview: David Koechner Talks Cheap Thrills, Hell & Back and the New(er) Anchorman 2 Cut

By Luke Y. Thompson in Movies
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm

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LYT: What can you tell me about Hell & Back? That's the Robot Chicken guys?

DK: Right. Tom Gianas is a friend of mine. I've known him for a long time. He's directing, and I think had some script responsibilities, too. It looks like a fun movie. I've been in several - a bunch of times, doing my animated voice stuff, and it looks like a dark, hilarious movie.

LYT: Have you seen any visuals? Are they doing it like toys, or is it a different animation?

DK: I don't want to say the exact animation, because it looks more like Claymation to me - those elements - but I'm sure there's a specific name for the type of animation they're using. But no - it's not like - it doesn't look like Robot Chicken. Well, I think it's probably the motion - the way things are manipulated - but they're not taking pre-existing - what do you call it? - mannequins or parts. As far as I know.

LYT: You came on to Saturday Night Live back when it was kind of a clean slate, when they hired everybody, but then you only stayed on it a year. What happened? Were you like the one guy Lorne didn't like?

DK: No, no. I decided to leave on my own...That's not true. Politics. West coast politics. Lorne wanted to keep me, but the west coast had a little bit of power that year. The first time in years that they had had any ability to say anything, and the first time in years that they had also had competition in late night. First year of MadTV, and Howard Stern had a late night show, so ratings took a little bit of a dip, as they're naturally going to. They're going to check out what else is on television, and I was just a sacrificial lamb. There's no real reason. I was told that there are a couple of guys on the west coast that I should be a big fan of. But, whatever. The good news is, six months later, I met my wife, so that's the way it was supposed to go.

LYT: Yeah, well, obviously they're probably regretting the choice now.

DK: I don't know if those guys are all human enough to know what regret is.

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LYT: If they did a Ben and Jerry flavor based on your character, what would it be?

DK: On Champ?

LYT: Yeah. To complement the Scotchy-scotch.

DK: What would it be? [chuckles] If you took the first movie and the second movie? Umm, there'd have to be seafood and bat parts in it. So Scotchy-scotch-scotch - that's a good question. What would Champ's ice cream flavor - do you have an answer?

LYT: I don't.

DK: Eggs. Ha ha ha!! Hard-boiled eggs with the shell still on them.

LYT: I half expect some boutique in LA to actually come up with that and make it a trending gourmet thing.

DK: That's funny.

LYT: Some of the ice cream flavors I hear about like brown bread...

DK: Brown bread? Wow.

LYT: ...or avocado.

DK: Wow. That'd be an interesting flavor for an ice cream.

LYT: There's a place around here that does garlic ice cream.

DK: Eww. That's remarkable.

LYT: I think someone's done bacon and eggs.

DK: That's pretty good. Yeah.

LYT: So back to Cheap Thrills - how did you hook up with the project?

DK: Well, Evan sent me the script. Then I met up with Evan and Travis [Stevens, producer], and that was it.

LYT: So they had you in mind for this?

DK: I guess. You'd have to ask Evan if they had gone through a list of No's first. I'm not aware of that, but I know that they approached me, and I loved it.

LYT: Do you want to do more sort of dramatic roles, even further from this now?

DK: I'd be open to anything. Yeah. Bleak is fine with me. My preference is to stay in Los Angeles and shoot, so anything that shoots here, would more than likely be a 'yes.'

LYT: Is your background just in comedy, or is there a background in more serious acting as well?

DK: Well, ever since I first started acting back in Chicago back in the late 80's, I always took - concurrently I took classes at Second City, Improv Olympic, and also acting classes in town. I've studied in New York as well, so to me, they go hand in glove.

LYT: Was approaching a role like this no different than any other role?

DK: Well, yeah - no, no, there certainly is a different approach. In comedy, you've got to know why you're doing a joke and how you're going to hit the joke, so there's that. But the preparation, by and large, is the same. You've got to know what the scene is about, and what your responsibility in the scene is.

LYT: Any talk of sequels for this?

DK: For Cheap Thrills?

LYT: Yeah.

DK: No, it's not even out yet. I liken that to asking a woman who's in her first trimester, "So you gonna have more kids?" I'd love to work with all of these people again. I don't know if there's a Cheap Thrills sequel, but this cast was remarkable, and I'd love to work with all of them.

LYT: What do you have coming up after this?

DK: After this, there is No Clue, which opens in Canada with Brent Butt very soon. And then Hits, a David Cross movie. And then, like you said, Hell & Back. And I'm also doing a stand-up tour, so you can go to my website and check out dates on that. I'm writing a pilot for NBC, so hopefully you'll see me on your television screen in the fall.

LYT: Nice! Is it tough doing stand-up after all of this?

DK: No, no. I just started doing it four years ago. I love it. The audience engagement is a lot of fun. Plus it forces you to always be creative and create new content. And in the business we're in, new content is always king.

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Cheap Thrills is currently available on VOD, opening theatrically March 21st. Anchorman 2's new R-rated cut opens in theaters today.


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