Wednesday, March 9, 2011

THEY'VE GOT EVERYTHING THERE: Even though he's been in 16 movies since 2007, Bill Hader has never had a leading role. That's apparently about to change, as he's set up two projects for him to star in. Of particular interest is the first--a Vaughn Meader biopic, which I can actually kind of see Hader knocking out of the park, given his talent for impressions.

And since we're on the subject of Hader--is Stefan funny because it almost invariably makes Hader break, or does Hader breaking detract from the funny? Discuss.


  1. Stefan is funny for one third of one appearance; everything else is a reiteration of that first joke. So the breaking is about the only amusing thing about the more recent appearances.

    I like Hader, but I'm not sure that this isn't an example of the Peter Principle.

  2. J. Bowman10:05 AM

    The breaking is funny, but it makes me wonder why I find it (and the occasional break on the "scared straight" sketches) amusing when Hader does it, and so very very annoying when Fallon and/or Sanz did.

  3. For me, Stefon is just inherently funny (I did say recently, on this very blog, that he may be my favorite SNL recurring character since 1990).  He's enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but also clueless and inappropriate... a nice combination.  He'd be funny if Hader didn't break, but I also think it's one of those rare SNL characters worthy of making the actor break.  (And that's the difference between Stefon and most of the Fallon/Sanz characters, if you ask me.)

  4. lisased10:28 AM

    I wonder sometimes if the writers (i.e., Seth) just hand him a script at the last minute or have him read new material off the Teleprompter, just to see if he can make it through the sketch. I know that's not probable, but Seth seems so delighted watching Hader break.

    For me, the funniest parts is the hands, followed by the desperate torrent of details.

  5. Eric J.10:31 AM

    Stephon is funny; the breaking is also funny because a) it's relatively rare these days, b) it's become expected <span>for this bit</span>, so the audience is primed for it, 3) breaking through Seth Meyers' bemused smirk seems like an accomplishment.

  6. Joseph J. Finn10:37 AM

    Hey, if it means less Nicholas Fehn that's fine by me.

  7. DonBoy10:39 AM

    I can't remember where I saw it, but there was a talk show clip of Hader saying yes, they put stuff up on the cue cards at the last minute just to make him break.

  8. Meghan10:52 AM

    The breaking adds to the funny. It's all in the details: fat Urkels, Jewpids, kittens who won't sign autographs. I love knowing that they try to surprise him during the telecast.

  9. Heather K10:56 AM

    Hader confines 99% of his breaking to stefon. Fallon broke all over the place. He could hardly get through a sketch without breaking. That is my theory of why hader breaks are more forgivable-we A's an audience trust him more. Even knowing this bit will break him.

    I actually love it when performers break. It is exciting and a little dangerous and so wonderful when done by a performer who almost never breaks-then it is a kind of present. Now when someone breaks at everything, then it is just annoying, it gets in the way of the sketch and frustrates rather than nurtures audience enjoyment.

    But stefon is hilarious! I came around slowly in part because of the breaks and because it is so fun.

  10. The only time Nicholas Fehn has been funny is Timberlake's 5 second version of him.  And they need to either find a way to make Armisen more funny more consistently or stop overrelying on him.  (Though "Put A Bird On It" is really funny.)

  11. I don't watch SNL as often as I used to, but the funniest part of the Russell Brand night was Stefan's bit. Watching everyone break during that skit cracked me up.

  12. Paul Tabachneck11:09 AM

    What I love about Hader's breaking in Stefan is that I think he could make a convincing case that it's part of Stefan's character.  The dude is so close to a nervous breakdown at all times, it makes total sense. 

    Also, I wonder if maybe he's not reading the segments off cue cards on first run.

  13. MidwestAndrew11:26 AM

    Stefan's great in his current role. My favorite part is the inflection he uses throughout the skit. But I don't think if you made, say, a whole skit on Stefan, that it would be as effective. I dearly hope they don't keep pushing it until a movie is made, because that'd be too much. Stefan is a delightful dose of imaginative zaniness that is perfect how it is. Knowing that they change things up to mess with Hader is the cherry on top.

  14. isaac_spaceman12:22 PM

    I don't love Stefan like some people do, but I do appreciate the ridiculous details.  And I think Hader is a great impressionist and sometimes really funny, but the writers rely on him so much that it waters down his effectiveness. 

    Minor nit:  Hader voiced the leading role in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

  15. DonBoy12:33 PM

    I don't think we've seen Nicholas Fehn in at least a year, which just goes to show that once something's overdone it's hard to get it un-overdone.

  16. Dan Suitor1:53 PM

    You're right that he was the lead in CWACOM, but the bar is set much lower for stardom in an animated feature (see: Zachary Levi in Tangled).

  17. Dan Suitor1:56 PM

    <span>I've already been accused of etymological crimes against Bill Hader, but I really can't wait to see Vaughn Meader. I know a bit about the actual story, and I think the coupling of '60s kitsch (serious, presidential impersonators as celebrity) and super-dark subject matter could be incredible.</span>

    Also, I can't wait for him to sign to Vinnie Veddecci's European Adventure after neither of those movies grosses anything. 

  18. isaac_spaceman2:24 PM

    That's why I said it was a minor nit.  Bill Simmons made the same mistake when he interviewed Hader right after CWACOM came out -- he couldn't believe Hader (who I think is a friend of his) had the leading role.  To his credit, Hader did not seem offended.

  19. Watts3:23 PM

    I think Bill Hader's pretty, so I'll watch him just to watch.

  20. The Pathetic Earthling5:52 PM

    First Family is a terrific record, by the way.

    "Mr President, when will we send a man to the moon?"

    "When-a, when-a, whenever Senator Goldwater wants to go!"

  21. Becca8:19 PM

    I just saw Paul on Monday, and he's fun in that. I thought it was funny, but I've heard people say they really didn't like it. Lots of scifi in-jokes.

  22. I want to hit the dislike button for efforts to make Bill Hader break. But Stefan makes me laugh anyway?

  23. Michelle12:50 PM

    I think this is the clip you're talking about -- it was from Letterman.