In the Name of Gob: Will Arnett

Photo: Steve Granitz/Wire Image

To his fans, Will Arnett will always be Gob, the heedlessly idiotic brother on the dearly departed sitcom Arrested Development. A movie is planned, but in the meantime, Arnett keeps busy with TV (including 30 Rock guest appearances), films (the just-released Monsters vs. Aliens), and raising his 5-month-old son, Archie, with wife Amy Poehler, another one who makes us laugh. Arnett spoke with Alison Prato.

What do you play in Monsters vs. Aliens?
The missing link. I found out later he’s considered really dumb. I thought he was supersmart. I guess my supersmart is their really dumb. The movie is very funny, and I think there’s something in it for everybody.

Did you really just say that?
You read people saying that and you’re like, Oh, shut the fuck up, but it’s true, oddly. The 3-D experience on this movie is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. You’re not just watching the movie, you’re in the movie.

You and Amy recently moved to L.A. (where Poehler’s NBC show, Parks and Recreation, is shot). Are you enjoying life there, the endless Hollywood events? Look, try and keep us off the red carpet. We go red carpet hunting! There is a bit of a worry about raising a child in L.A., especially when both the parents are show folk. I don’t know, is it a real universe? I’d love for Archie to grow up back in New York.

So the Arrested Development movie—the fans are clamoring for it!
We don’t want to take ourselves too seriously, like, We owe the fans. Who gives a shit, really? But it would be fun to get back together and make fun of ourselves. They’ve made a deal to make it happen and Mitch [Hurwitz] is working hard on the script.

Any hints on what might happen to Gob?
Oh, gosh, who knows. I’m just a talking meat stick who shows up and they tell me, Be more stupid or Be less stupid.

You’ve got another project with Hurwitz, the animated show Sit Down, Shut Up (April 19 on Fox), which co-stars Jason Bateman.
It’s about teachers as students in a way—the whole patients-running-the-asylum idea. I play Ennis Hofftard, a self-involved English teacher who loves the ladies. It’s made me realize how patient teachers were with me, because I would have hit me.

You got kicked out of boarding school, right?
We prefer the term “Asked not to return.”

You moved to New York in 1990 to study dramatic acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Will we see more serious work in the future?
I think the world deserves it, don’t you? [Laughs.] You know, I wish I had a better plan, because I currently have none. I have a lot of balls in the air and I’m hoping some of those balls land. My goal is to land balls.

Monsters vs. Aliens

In the Name of Gob: Will Arnett