TJ Miller came to TCNJ this past Tuesday and Her Campus got the incredible opportunity to interview him after his Comedy Show. The show was full of hilarious anecdotes and standup, from his wife forbidding him to hiss at an audience, to a shirtless encounter with the police while holding a double-headed battle axe, to a reading of the Signal, the night was full of laughs. As Erlich Bachman on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and Weasel in the hit R rated Superhero movie “Deadpool”, Miller is working hard and coming more into the spotlight as a Comedian in Hollywood.
Throughout the interview, Miller kept protesting about how formal the questions were, and he continuously stopped mid-sentence to make the dog nose he was wearing bark…so it’s safe to say that we got a few comedy lessons while conversing with him.
Me: Given the broad range of work you’ve done from Silicon Valley, to Deadpool-
TJ: This is very formal…
Me: It is…and also your voice overs, How to Train Your Dragon, Big Hero 6, what motivates you to take on a new challenge and try something you’ve never explored before? My little brother loves Gravity Falls by the way.
TJ: Good, it’s a good show. What was the last part of the question?
Me: What motivates you to take on a new challenge and try something you haven’t explored before?
TJ (after making the dog nose bark): ‘Cause you have to try and be the most well-rounded and best comedian you can. I just did lip sync battle. A couple days before I did it I was just like, I don’t know, I don’t want to do this, I don’t really care about singing, I don’t want to be a rock star or any of that stuff. I made this fake like a pop, fusion, hip-hop, faux kind of pop music album with Comedy Central records, and then we mixed that, and the whole point was that I’m not a musician. So I was like I don’t want to do this, but I had this really good idea where I would sing off sync on purpose the entire time, and so that’s what I did, but I was like I don’t need to do that, who cares? You’re not getting paid to do it really, but then I said to myself, just do it because you don’t want to. Do it because you can and it’s going to make you a better comedian and it’s another performance to add to the many and so I did it and I actually ended up being pretty happy with how it turned out.
Me: Even though you couldn’t hiss at the audience?
TJ: I wasn’t able to hiss at the audience, I really wanted to hiss at the audience, I still stand by my thinking that that would have been very successful, the hissing, but you know I ended up not doing it, and it still was good, it was still fun. Like I did Chelsea Handler’s show yesterday also and that’s never necessarily easy, but it makes you better. It’s just to get better, so I can make more and more people laugh. And also, if 2 million people see lip sync battle and a couple thousand are like ‘that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, I can’t believe that’, that’s 1% of the audience, thousands of people, who will say wow that’s my favorite thing TJ’s ever done. Like I did this hot ones interview, where you eat Hot Sauce as they interview you. I didn’t even think about whether or not to do it, I just thought, you know, this sounds funny. People love that. People are like ‘that’s my favorite thing you’ve done’. It’s all about just trying to make as many people laugh as possible. Hopefully, each thing I do, is somebody’s favorite thing they’ve ever seen.
Me: As someone starring in a TV show about startups and the various trials, errors, and failures they go through, I have to ask-
TJ: Trials and tribulations
Me: -trials and tribulations, I have to ask, how do you cope with and come back from failure, and what would you do if you could not fail?
TJ: Failure would have to be a part of the equation, because that would be so weird, how would you know when you were doing something right? Also, it would stop feeling fun to succeed, especially in the face of adversity. Andy [Warhal] says this thing ‘I make art and then while people are trying to decide if it’s good or bad, I just make more art.’ So, that’s my thing, I just try and do comedy and if something doesn’t work, that’s okay, I’m already on the next thing. I just try and keep that forward movement, the best thing you can do is not to dwell on a failure, but just to learn from it and be on to the next thing. On to the next failure, just fail your way up to the top like I am.
Me: If it works it works.
TJ: Good way into Hollywood.
Me: So…I’ve read that you’re a proponent for the legalization of marijuana-
TJ: This interview is over!
Me: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s very formal.
TJ: No, it’s fine, keep going.
Me: You also believe Silicon Valley can be a reflection to society of the lack of women in tech, I’ve also ready that you’re a student of philosophy, more specifically, a nihilist, given everything going on in today’s world, and today’s political climate-
TJ: You’ve so wonderfully prepared all these.
Me: -what is your advice to college student’s when it comes to shaping their own views and opinions about serious issues?
TJ: You know I would read philosophy over going to philosophy classes, which you’re welcome too. As far as college students go, just start reading philosophy and think about different schools of thought. Nihilism is my favorite, it’s really funny, because it means that nothing means anything so you can make it be whatever you want, it’s actually a really positive thing. But I think reading, read Alain de Botton, everybody should read a couple of his books, and then see what direction that takes you. Does that make sense?
TJ: Any other questions?
Me: We’re only supposed to ask 3 so…
TJ: You can ask one more.
Me: Okay so bonus question?
TJ: Lightning round!
Me: I’ve been really curious, so I feel like Sausage Party is coming out, voice over is your style, the movie seems to be your humor style…how come you’re not in on that?
TJ: Hahaha, Seth and I are on very good terms. We’re on super friendly terms, but I’m not in the Apatow clique, I never was. I respect what he does, but I never did any of that. I didn’t do SNL, so I’ve sort of tried to forge my own path because that way I don’t really have to listen to anyone, as you can tell I don’t do too well with authority figures. You know I think he’s got his clique and those are all his friends, but I’m more friends with Jay Baruchel, and it’s weird you know I end up working with the Ryan Reynolds’, and the Mike Judges, and the Jason Batemans, but we’re just a different clique. The Silicon Valley guys, none of us are really like friends with Seth, like Martin Star knows him, but I’m friends with Martin Star and Jay Baruchel more than I am Seth and Jason Segel and Jonah Hill and that whole clique. Especially that douchebag James Franco. Fuck him.
Catch him next in Office Christmas Party coming this December!