This is your first Sundance. Is it living up to your expectations?
I didn’t really know what to expect, you know? I did know that it was gonna be cold but it’s actually really nice out today. But yeah, it’s been awesome. It’s a good mix of low-key and a lot of energy too. It’s been cool.
Since you also write and produce is there anything you learned from Rick Famuyiwa, the writer and director of “Dope”?
Rick was just really good about keeping his cool. When you work with directors that are all over the place and frantic, that shakes through the rest of the crew and they don’t have confidence. When you have a director that really seems to know what he’s doing, things seem to go a lot smoother.
You are naturally funny and confident. Is there anything that makes you nervous?
I for sure get nervous. Anytime I do live shows or anything like that you get the butterflies but that’s a good thing. I think if you don’t get nervous then you don’t have that natural energy that comes out on stage. When the butterflies are gone, it’s time to retire I guess.
What is something that is really challenging for you that people might not know?
Shakespeare. I don’t know, I suppose I haven’t done too much of tackling a dramatic role but I imagine that could be pretty crazy. I’d like to play a serial killer. Really get in that mind state. Maybe never get out of it. Who knows.
How do you keep your creative ideas fresh for everything you’re doing from “Workaholics” to stand-up comedy?
I think it’s just being truthful to yourself or whatever you’re experiencing in the moment. As long as whatever you’re bringing to the table is coming from you and from a real place I think it will always feel pretty original.
What is something no one tells you about going into filmmaking or being an actor?
Just, you know, stay away from catering as much as you can. It’s tough. A lot of these sets have really good snacks and you want a cookie and you want a doughnut but resist the temptation. Otherwise it’s dope. It’s a different dope.
“Dope” seems like the perfect project for you. You’re from California and you like hip-hop.
Yeah, yeah. I think there are a lot of things in the script that appealed to me. I sat down with Rick after I read the script. I didn’t want it to come off as a corny movie or anything like that. I think you run into those dangers with movies like this, but he was a real person and it all seemed like it was coming from a good place. It was kind of a no-brainer and the script was pretty funny too.
Who is one hip-hop artist you’d want to have a drink with?
Probably just E-40. I’m from the Bay area so it would be nice to just rap with him for a little bit. Not actually rap, he could rap but I would just listen. I am sure he’s got a lot of wisdom and great stories about Vallejo in the glory days.
When was a time success came from falling and picking yourself up again?
I guess it was before I got the show “Workaholics”. I was delivering pizzas and you would have those moments where you just wanted to break the steering wheel and cry and be like “Will this ever happen?” I was lucky enough to be with a good team including Adam [DeVine], [Anders] Holm and Kyle [Newacheck]. We always pushed each other and never had quitting in our heads. We knew what our goal was and we didn’t see it not happening. It’s not going to happen when you decide to pack it up and go onto mom’s couch. You just have to stay in it as long as it takes. You never know when your time is going to come but it definitely won’t come if you don’t stick it out.
When did you first realize you could make people laugh?
I know that I was definitely trying as a little kid. I would go back and look at the home videos because I’m pretty sure I was very annoying and maybe they were laughing just to get me to shut up. Laughter through annoyance, that’s kind of my key.
Any advice you want to give those who are pursuing their dreams?
Just keep doing it. That’s what stuck with me.
How do you get in the creative zone?
I get a lot of ideas driving. I like to take long drives back home to Northern California or if we’re ever breaking an episode I just like to replay the scenarios over and over in my head. I’ll probably be laughing to myself looking like a crazy person. That’s usually when I do my best thinking, when I’m alone in the car.
If you could have a drink with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Anyone in the world? Wow. Can it just be Grave Digger, the monster truck? I would love to just have a drink with the monster truck and maybe get to drive it and run some cars over.
I don’t think we’ve ever had that answer before!
That is a dream of mine.
We’ll toast to Sundance. Do you mind doing the toast?
To just a wonderful, warm Sundance. So lovely to be drinking root beer with you.
KIRSTEN MICCOLI PHOTOGRAPHY / A DRINK WITH
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