Harland Williams is a man who can pretty much do it all judging from his roster that includes actor, writer, voiceovers, podcaster, illustrator, children's author, painter, and band member in The Cousins. And while that list is impressive, the thing we are most impressed with when it comes to Williams is his comedy–of the stand-up variety. You'll get a chance to see this master of entertaining yourself when he headlines the Irvine Improv this weekend but before that goes down (and so you can get familiar with this jack-of-all-trades), we talked to him about his amazing podcast "The Harland Highway," his plans to change a few thing's in 2014, and found out why he thinks the people of Orange County are so much more fun than Canada as a whole. OK, that's kind of a stretch but we tried to get him to say that.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): What came first for you: the drawing, the music, the voices, or the comedy?
Harland Williams: The stand-up comedy came first. I figured if I did stand-up and I did a good job, all kinds of other fun things would sprout out of that. So the stand-up was the seed and the movies, the voices, and all of the other things were just like the branches coming off.
That's cool too because it seems like when you started back in the day, it was harder to make a career out of comedy.
Yeah it was! When I started, it wasn't quite a common thing to do. I was in it for about a year or two when this big stand-up comedy wave hit and I was kind of able to ride on that wave and get my footing. It was really fortunate timing.
Your podcast "The Harland Highway" has a lot of you doing characters with very few guests. Do you have any "bucket list" guests that you'd like to have on here and there?
You know oddly enough, the reason I don't have a lot guests is because I create my own guests with all of the characters that I do. So I'm really my own guests with a bunch of voices and crazy characters. I do have some interviews but I don't go out of my way to do them because I feel like that is what every podcast is doing. I'm like, I just want to do my own thing plus getting guests can be hard sometimes with scheduling and yadda, yadda, yadda. I just realized it was a lot easier if the guests are just living in my head. [Laughs.]
Well just so you know, I've tried to get an interview with you for a while but it never worked out. So you were on my bucket list.
Oh, well that is wonderful! Thank you! What a sweet Nelly Furtado treat! I mean, I would loved to hang out with Jim Morrison or Marlon Brando when they were alive. I always found those guys pretty fascinating. Orson Wells was another guy but as far as interviews go, I just find that there are so many of them on podcasts now that they've almost become redundant. It feels like everybody is interviewing everybody. It's fun to do but I want to offer something different. My podcast is as much about entertaining me as it is the audience. I think I can have more fun just creating fictional guests and crazy maniac personalities so they can live on my podcast.
I agree with you. You can hear the same interviews on tons of podcasts these days. When it comes to your music, do you ever think about creating a parody album?
I did put one little album out a few years ago called "The Cousins: Love Song Years" and people can order it on my website. It's actually a serious stab at cheesy love songs by me and my cousin. My cousin Kevin is the keyboard player for the Barenaked Ladies so he's got a lot of musical talent and then I sing and write the lyrics. So yeah, we have kind of a "hobby band" called The Cousins.
I'll have to check it out because I love a great funny song.
You know the sad thing is, they're really funny but they're like real attempts at love songs. [Laughs.] We do funny songs but with this album, we took it kind of seriously which might be what makes it funny. [Laughs.] You be the judge!
Well that's what made it sound funny to me, cheesy love songs…for someone who isn't in love.
It would be funny if you aren't crying! [Laughs.]
Ha. I love it. So I know you are from Canada originally but, how much more fun do you think the lovely people of Orange County are over everybody else in the whole world?
[Laughs.] Oh wow! That's a good question! You know, it's more fun in a "weathery" way. In Canada you can have lots of fun but you're freezing your ass off. In Orange County you can have your fun and take it outdoors. It's all about good natured people coming out and wanting to have a laugh and funny enough, I've had a good amount of Canadians come out to my shows in Orange County. So if you're a Canadian, you live in Irvine, and you're feeling a little homesick, come see the chinless wonder and he'll make you laugh! Also, there's nothing like starting the New Year off with the smell of citrus and the 405 in the air right?
Indeed! OK last thing, did you make a New Year's resolutions for 2014?
Yeah my resolution this year is to stop drinking Coke and Pepsi. I just love drinking pop so I'm trying to stop drinking it. I'm also trying to stop going to the Arby's drive-through naked. I gotta put a lid on that. One time I spilled my curly fries on my lap and it looked like modern art! So those two things are on the top of my list!
Harland Williams performs at the Irvine Improv on January 9th- 12th, 71 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618., (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more info, check out his website www.HarlandWilliams.com for details on his new movie (coming out this month) called "Back In The Day," watch some hysterical videos, grab some merch, listen to his podcast "The Harland Highway," and follow him on Twitter @HarlandWilliams.