Reaching for the Stars

Thursday night was the first time I ever sat down and talked with someone who was actually famous. I was a little bit nervous going into the interviews, but Seth Meyers and Charlie Murphy both turned out to be really polite and down to earth. We talked about Amsterdam, cagefighting and walking tightropes over pits of fire.

A lot of big acts come through the Sun Dome, so we hope these interviews will be the first of many to come. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Keith McGee: So you’re branching out into science fiction and horror now?

Charlie Murphy: Yeah, you’re talking about Unearthed. I actually filmed that movie about two years ago and it’s coming out in film festivals this week. It should be in theaters pretty soon here.

KM: Do you play a villain?

CM: Not a villain really, but my character definitely doesn’t want to be where he is.

KM: Are you getting bored with


CM: Oh, not at all, but I’m an actor so I want to branch out and do other things.

KM: When you and Samuel L. Jackson do Boondocks are you together or are you in sound studios on different sides of the country?

CM: Yeah, we’re in different studios, but people like our voices together. It sounds really funny.

KM Are your characters going to be in the next season?

CM: I recorded some voiceover for Boondocks a few weeks ago. Yeah, there’s another season coming out soon and we’ll be in a few episodes.

KM: For those who aren’t familiar with it, We Got to Do Better is a show you host on BET where you play home videos of people getting into fights and basically acting crazy. How did you guys come up with that premise?

CM: BET actually app-

roached me with the idea – I didn’t come up with it. I liked the idea though. You see so much crazy stuff on the Internet, so why not bring the best of it all together and have a


KM: For sure. You show some pretty wild videos. Where do you find them?

CM: People actually send those videos in to us.

KM: So do you ever get stage fright when you do standup comedy?

CM: Every night. It’s like walking a tightrope over a pit of flames. You get a rush when it’s over because it’s like you faced that tightrope and made it through. Tonight the audience was great and I felt the love of about 3,000 people, but there’s the other side of it. You never want to feel the hate of about 3,000 people – it’s really bad. But that’s what keeps you going as a comedian, it keeps you looking for that next great joke and always trying to take it further and do better.

KM: “True Hollywood Stories,” your skit on The Chapelle Show, was hilarious. What was it like moving to L.A. and all of a sudden hanging out with people who were really famous?

CM: It affected me just like it would anybody. You’re sitting there with a really famous person having a conversation about racquetball or whatever, something completely ordinary. So you get used to it and you realize they’re like everyone else – they can just sing and dance or act.

KM: I know you tour sometimes with Joe Rogan (the host of Fear Factor and Ultimate Fighting Championship). Do you go out to the fights a lot?

CM: I don’t get to make it out to the fights a whole lot because they’re on the weekends and I’m booked every weekend doing standup, but I TiVo all of them.

KM: So what do you have coming up?

CM: Right now I’m putting together my DVD, and that’s pretty much what I’m working on. It’s going to be my standup, but a lot more than what you saw tonight. So I’m focused on improving my act. I don’t want it to be just another DVD that someone put out. I want it to say


KM: Great. Thanks a lot for

talking to us.

CM: Thank you.

Next I sat down with Seth Meyers:

KM: Do you prefer doing standup or sketch comedy?

Seth Meyers: I like sketch comedy for the ensemble feel of it. It’s more of a team effort and I’ve always like working with other comedians. I came up doing a lot of improv as well, and that has sort of an ensemble feel. I prefer sketch comedy, but I like standup for the whole feel of being out there in front of people.

KM: On Saturday Night Live do you and the other cast members inspire each other?

SM: Yeah, we’ve got a pretty lean cast and a lot of the best stuff we just come up with at dinner.

KM: Does your improv act ever just go horribly wrong?

SM: I’ve had some pretty bad nights on improv. Now I improvise on Sunday nights with some of the Chicago people from SNL and those shows tend to have sort of a net because they’re all such good performers. But sometimes the audience is just silent, and that’s really bad.

KM: How did you start doing comedy?

SM: I was going to Northwestern and I got cast in an improv troupe there. Then after I graduated I started doing improv in Chicago, and it just sort of took off from there. Then I was overseas in Amsterdam doing standup and improv for a few years.

KM: Nice. Does Amsterdam live up to its reputation?

SM: Oh yeah, I was there earlier this summer for about four days.

KM: So what’s on your plate right now?

SM: A new season (of SNL) is starting, so that’s mainly what I’ve got on my plate right now. LeBron James is going to be our first host, so I’m super-psyched about that.

KM: Yeah, the Peyton Manning skits were really great.

SM: Hey, thanks. I wrote that with another guy. Peyton Manning wanted to do something like that so it was really easy.

KM: Great. So do you think you have more fun at colleges or at comedy clubs?

SM: Colleges, definitely. Yeah, you kids are a great audience. With comedy clubs it’s like people are there to see you, but with colleges you’re here to see the audience too.

KM: Thanks a lot for coming out and talking with us.

SM: Thank you, good luck to you.