You’ll remember T.J. Miller from pretty much every list of great comedians Crave Online has put out in the past year. The highly improvisational master of stand-up recently sat down with us to talk about his upcoming album. Well, mostly he talked about almost everything else. So, we’ll do the promotion for him:
Anyway let’s dig into the interview… and I promise to run a little clip of the action at the end.
Crave Online: Just for posterity please give us the “TJ Miller in a nut shell thing”. How did you get started in comedy? What drove you to do Stand-Up?
T.J. Miller: I had a cabbie drive me to stand-up, and he smelled like incense and opportunity! Ha! That’s how. By coming up with hum dingy dinga dinger-dongs like that one! Hooray! And also I am related to Will Smith.
Crave Online: You have a shockingly unique style. How did you develop your stage performance? What comedians or performers influenced you? How long did it take to have the confidence to do comedy the way you do it?
T.J. Miller: Shockingly unique? I like that idea. When you see my stand-up you say, "that is so different that I just went into shock." A mild Anaphylactic shock and I don’t even know what that is. GOODNESS, that’s a funny face and noise he just made!
Crave Online: What IS comedy? Or rather what is funny? What makes you laugh?
T.J. Miller: Funny is as funny does, and funny puts on a walrus mask and slowly gyrates in a mall food court. I laugh at absurdity hardest, then stories, then observations, then bearded men on roller skates.
Crave Online: What do you want people to come away with after this special? Does it have a message or a theme?
T.J. Miller:The message is: “There IS a theme. Stop saying there isn’t a theme. Get. The. Message.
Crave Online: This special/dvd comes out shortly after your Extended Play EP. Why so much TJ Miller right now?
T.J. Miller: I think because there was so little T.J. Miller for so long. For literally two decades of my life there was very little T.J. Miller. Especially in the beginning, I was extremely little… I mean pocket sized. Fit in the palm of your hand size in the very beginning. Teeny Tiny. So yeah, I thought, “Well you better release a ridiculous music satire 41-track E.P. and an Hour Comedy Central Special, Big Man— put your money where your mouth is.”
Crave Online: What’s next for T.J.? What do you want to achieve in the next few years?
T.J. Miller: “Our Idiot Brother is now on DVD, I’m in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” and “Rock of Ages.” I don’t have any specific goals, I’d like more people to come and see me perform live, start building towards another special, sell out even further by offering very silly merchandise for sale on my website, make more digital content [and] learn to fly a kite so well that I have to wear gloves. That’s sort of stuff. But I’m just excited I’m finally in a relationship with someone whose dog pukes on my hair.
Crave Online:What about directing or writing or something out from in-front of the camera? Is that for you?
T.J. Miller: I wrote Successful Alcoholics and I’m Having A Difficult Time Killing My Parents both of which went to Sundance among other festivals. I’d like to finish a feature script I’m working on, tentatively titled Criminal Apathyor Pimp My Life Suckaor That’s Not MY Car… and I’m working with a juice company to market Real Juice (drink it up). So yeah, I love writing but not crazy meticulous/prepared enough to be a director. I’d work as a gaffer on something. You can be very high all day (not recommended).
Crave Online:How’s the tour? Where are you going next?
T.J. Miller: The tour is good, I’m always somewhere, and I’m trying to keep that moving. I’m in Canada right now, in a themed hotel. I’m in a Giant Jacuzzi theme room…solo. It’s pretty weird. I’ll have a bit about it on my next special… if America wants me to do another one. Say it’s so America, say it can be so!!!!
Crave Online: Can we talk about the medical issues you had recently? Plus let’s talk about the effect if any it had on your career and you’re choices?
T.J. Miller: Well, it’s not really comedy yet, but I had an AVM (Note: Arteriovenous malformation or AVM is an abnormal connection between veins and arteries.) and it was removed and that saved my life and I almost died. So all those things together make me take pause in front ice cream parlors and say “I better see if they have any special flavors in there… I could be dead tomorrow and then NO one will think I’m sexy, regardless of whether or not I have ice cream….” I also do what I think people will like and what I think is very ridiculous and makes me giggle…bubble yum flava ya ’all!”
Crave Online: To take a little tangent here. I had a chance to see T.J. perform days after recovery from his illness. He had been hospitalized for some time, and then on bed rest. Shortly thereafter he hit the stage at Unknown Theater in Los Angles. I still remember that show, and how midway through T.J.’s set I realized I was laughing so hard I wasn’t breathing enough. He did nearly ten minutes about a lone chair he could see in the wings of the stage. It’s still the best show I’ve ever seen.
Ok, one last question…
Crave Online: Anything else you want to say? Any lessons you need to impart?
T.J. Miller: “Always remember: My general theme is: There is no message. There never has been. Stop trying to find the message or the meaning in everything. That’s. My. Theme.”
Well that’s the last of it. As you can imagine it was a pretty amazing interview. Tomorrow on CraveOnline.com you can find our review of the DVD from front to back. It’s part of Crave Online’s dedication to force you to spend some of your holiday money on comedy albums. Expect a plethora of reviews.
Now as promised here is a clip from the DVD we previously featured here on Crave Online…