Bill Hader can't remember when he decided to be funny for a living.
"It was never a conscious thing,” he said in a phone interview from Hollywood this week. "It was just something I kind of did, with voices. Like, my parents are really funny. Comedy was just, like, always around our house.”
Growing up in Tulsa, Hader was more into sports, comic books and filmmaking, not necessarily in that order.
"I was just nerdy,” he said. "I would hang out at Sound Warehouse in their video section and keep asking the clerk, ‘When are you gonna get "Aguirre, Wrath of God” in here?' You know what I mean? ‘Hey, I swear to God I saw "8½” over here yesterday, and it's not here anymore.' And they're like, ‘Bill, I don't know.' I was a big movie nerd, and I would just ride my bike to Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and rent movies and then just go back and watch them in my room above the garage, and just sit there and watch movies all day, pretty much.”
Now he's 29, making millions laugh on "Saturday Night Live” with his dead-on impressions of movie icons such as Al Pacino and Vincent Price (hosting macabre holiday specials), and fast becoming a movie star himself with meaty comedic roles in "Knocked Up,” "Hot Rod” and the new Judd Apatow-produced laugh riot, "Superbad.”
"I initially got invited to the party through Seth Rogen,” he said. "He and I were in a movie called ‘You, Me and Dupree,' and we just got to talking and became good friends. And I remember after 10 minutes of meeting with him and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, they said, ‘You'd be really funny as Officer Slater in "Superbad.”'”
So, Hader plays a hapless, incompetent cop in the Greg Motolla-directed coming-of-age comedy about two socially clumsy, codependent teenage boys (Michael Cera, Jonah Hill) who plot to score with the girls of their dreams by getting them drunk. Hader says making "Superbad” was the best time he's had yet on a movie set.
"I just lucked out, because it was a great part and a hilarious movie,” he said. "I just went through it the entire time, going, ‘I can't believe this movie's getting made. So dirty
Hader first started testing the waters of acting at Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa, acting in drama class productions of such serious fare as "Our Town” and "The Glass Menagerie” before moving on to the Arts Institute of Phoenix and then Scottsdale (Ariz.