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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

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Bill Hader impresses small crowd

By Brenna Eagan, News Correspondent

King of impressions and comedic mastermind Bill Hader shared stories about his experiences and personal history with audience members Dec. 2.

Between Andy Samberg’s visit to campus during Homecoming week and Hader’s stint in Blackman Auditorium last Thursday, “Saturday Night Live” fans at Northeastern have had a lot to be excited about. The Hader event was presented by the Council for University Programs (CUP) and Colleges Against Cancer to promote Northeastern’s Relay for Life in March.

An Evening with Bill Hader began when interviewer Rachel Chevalier, the executive vice president of CUP, took the stage. Hader, has been a regular on “SNL” since 2005 and has starred in comedies such as “Superbad,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Tropic Thunder.”

Attendance may have been lower than anticipated because of the fallout from An Evening with Andy Samberg on Nov. 19, which left some audience members unsatisfied. The Samberg event was not heavily advertised as a Q&A and many ticket buyers expected a stand-up routine, similar to John Oliver’s performance last year. But Hader managed to pull in a few hundred students, who patchily filled the floor of Blackman.

Hader spoke about growing up in Tulsa, Okla., and avoiding speaking with the dreaded mid-western accent. He took the audience through his career, beginning as a production assistant in Los Angeles on films like “Spider-Man” and TV shows like “Iron Chef America.” He was discovered while performing with LA’s Second City improv group by “Will and Grace” star Megan Mullally, who referred him to “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels.

“[If SNL didn’t happen] I’d probably be in LA with Bobby Flay still. I’m so happy that this happened. Laughing, being funny, I didn’t think of that as a career,” he said.

He received big laughs when talking about his work with director Judd Apatow’s gang, which includes actors Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. His spot-on impression of pal Rogen was hilarious, as was the story of his first meeting with Apatow. Hader revealed he didn’t see Apatow’s first directorial hit “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” before taking a meeting with the comedy maven.

He also spoke on his close relationship with Andy Samberg, starting when the two met in an elevator on the way up to audition for “SNL.” Samberg had a backpack of props, Hader had none. Both thought that they “were screwed,” he said. Hader brought his audition tape to show the audience, which demonstrated that even before “SNL” he was a stellar impressionist. The tape began with Hader in character as fictional Italian television host Vinny Vedecci, who is now regularly featured in skits, and ends with an impression of Al Pacino that got a laugh out of veteran cast member Tina Fey.

Hader may be a professional, but he admitted that out of everyone on “SNL” he breaks character the easiest. He then played a clip of himself as Stefon, the flamboyant New York City club expert featured on Weekend Update. Hader revealed that behind the camera, Andy Samberg and others had changed his cue cards and consequently made him break down in a fit of giggles. But the pranks are all in good fun.

“We all hang out like 24 hours a day, six days a week, and you’d think you kind of wouldn’t want to hang out more, but we do anyway,” he said.

Hader gamely answered all of Chevalier’s and the audience’s questions. He was genuinely polite, thanking them for asking and engaging in short but personal conversations with those who took the microphone. He even answered one audience member’s query of where to go in New York City that weekend as Stefon, who suggested the fictional “Club Gush,” where he could find “furkles” (fat Urkels) and a rabbi that looks like Joaquin Phoenix.

Hader was well suited to the intimate atmosphere of Blackman. He alternated between being showy with his impressions and reserved while answering questions about life in the comedy industry.

“[The show] was really fun, he was really natural,” said undeclared freshman Kelly Coughlin. “It was a lot smaller crowd than Andy Samberg, but it was really good.”

Organizers from both CUP and Colleges Against Cancer did not respond to multiple requestes for comment.

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