Bill and Kristen’s Excellent Adventure

Photo: Sara de Boer/Retna

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, featured players on Saturday Night Live, are together on the big screen as supporting players in Greg Mottola’s Superbad follow-up, Adventureland, opening April 3. A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, it centers on a college graduate (The Squid and the Whale’s Jesse Eisenberg) who is stuck working at the local amusement park for the summer. Hader and Wiig play his bosses, an eccentric, co-dependent couple—which is kind of how they come off during this interview (minus the couple part). Hader is relaxed and talkative and protective of Wiig, who, despite her propensity for playing loud, confident characters in unflattering costumes (see her SNL sketch “Baby Arms”), is strikingly attractive and reserved in person. They spoke with Emma Rosenblum.

New York: I expected you both to be more out-there, based on your SNL characters. Yours can be pretty bizarre, Kristen.
Kristen Wiig:
I guess I have a weird sense of humor. Weird to me is a compliment … Comedy is so subjective. You could have an Ace Ventura movie, where someone like Jim Carrey is really big. And then you can have an Annie Hall comedy that’s more subtle. I think comedians are the same way.
Bill Hader: Will Ferrell’s that way. You meet him, and he’s not crazy. He’s just an incredibly nice dad—a really sweet guy. Steve Carell’s the same way.
K.W.: Most interviews I do, they’re like, “Oh, are you … ”
B.H.: “Are you mad at us?”

Is an interview easier when you’re together?
We have a lot of fun together. It’s way less … yeah, when I’m by myself I ramble a lot, because I’m trying to fill dead air.
K.W.: Or I answer things more seriously when I’m alone—I’m afraid interviewers don’t know that I’m joking. When Bill and I are together, they can tell more.

K.W.: You know, he laughs.

You’re both pretty recognizable at this point. Is that a good thing?
B.H.: I actually like when people come up and yell shit at me. My wife and I were on our honeymoon in Turks and Caicos, in the middle of nowhere, and I’m sitting on this deserted beach and I see one lone person walking along the shore. He walks right up to me and says, “I love ‘Laser Cats,’ ” and then just walks away.

It’s interesting that Greg Mottola envisioned you as a pair in Adventureland, since you don’t do many skits together on SNL.
B.H.: Greg’s a huge fan of Kristen. When we were doing Superbad, he would watch SNL and be like, “Kristen Wiig, she is so good!” So it didn’t surprise me—she is kind of a go-to.
K.W.: I don’t know if that’s true, but thank you for saying that.

You’ve certainly become the go-to woman on SNL since Amy Poehler left. You’re in almost every skit. That must be a lot of pressure.
I don’t … I don’t feel like … I don’t know, I guess I don’t really notice that I’m in a lot. I don’t read what people write, so I don’t know what people are saying about that. I mean as far as like … as far as, you know, blogs and stuff like that.
B.H.: I can say it. I think she’s awesome. The thing about Kristen that always blows my mind—and other writers feel the same way—is that every week, she has a new move that no one has seen before.
K.W.: Well, that’s how I feel about you, and that’s how a lot of people feel about you. I’m throwing it back at you.
B.H.: Awkward pause. [Followed by actual awkward pause.]

There’s a tight-knit comedy community that you’re both part of. Do you ever feel competitive?
K.W.: The comedy world’s in a good place right now.
B.H.: It’s not competitive. Like, [Superbad’s] Jonah Hill will e-mail me, “Oh, I watched the show last night and, God, it was so funny. Tell [SNL’s Will] Forte that thing was the funniest thing, I’ve seen.” It’s this big group—everybody on The Office, Parks and Recreation, the 30 Rock people, the Apatow crew …
K.W.: It’s one big family.

See Also
Review: Adventureland
The Ten Best One Crazy Summer Movies
Martin Starr on the Plight of the Motion-Sick Extra

Directed by Greg Mottola.
Miramax Films. R.

Bill and Kristen’s Excellent Adventure