15 Trivia Tidbits About Bill Hader
William Thomas Hader Jr. has come a long way from once working on the set of Playboy’s call-in sex series Night Calls. The actor, comedian and chameleon voice artist became famous for myriad characters — from Saturday Night Live’s adorkable Stefon to Amy Schumer’s love interest in Trainwreck to his now Emmy-award-winning character in Barry. You might know about his struggles with anxiety while working on SNL or that he never even intended to become an actor, but there are many more layers to the Bill Hader onion, like…
He Was Once the Voice of Mr. Peanut (Even Though He’s Allergic to Peanuts)
Hader replaced Robert Downey Jr. as the voice of the nut with a monocle back in 2013, which is a bit odd as he is deathly allergic to peanuts. Hader told Conan that while working on the movie The Skeleton Twins, he was rushed to the hospital after someone gave him chocolates containing peanut butter. Apparently, the person who gave it to him didn’t know that peanut butter is made from peanuts.
He Was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Personal Assistant on ‘Collateral Damage’
Hader told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that Schwarzenegger only ate schnitzels on set, had his meals flown in and that the muscle man really didn’t like it when anyone interrupted him during a game of chess.
He Doesn’t Sign Merchandise After a Terrible Experience With a Fan
Even though Hader did half of the voice for BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the actor told Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that he no longer signs any merchandise after a terrible experience with a fan. “I used to sign stuff, and then one time I saw somebody, and they had their kid come up to me to sign a BB-8 thing, and it was three in the morning,” Hader explained. “I was leaving the Inside Out premiere, and then we went to an after-party thing. It was super late, and this guy kept his kid up all night, and he was like, ‘Go over there so he’ll sign it so I can sell it online.’”
The ‘ SNL’ Sketch He’s Most Proud Of
Hader told redditors during an AMA that he was most proud of writing “Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro,” the spoof about British gangster movies and “how we Americans can’t understand what the actors are saying with those thick Yorkshire accents and all.”
He’s Friends With Guillermo del Toro (Who Gave Him Shit on ‘Barry’)
In the third episode of the final season of Barry, del Toro makes a cameo appearance. Hader told Deadline that the two of them are friends and that the famed horror director gave him some flak about his scene. “He was fucking with me a little bit,” Hader revealed. “He was like, ‘Are you really going to block it like this?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I am.’ And he’s like, ‘Really? That’s it? Okay…’ No, he was really funny, and we’re all friends. I’m friends with him, and I’m friends with Alfonso Cuarón, and Alfonso was texting me, ‘Guillermo says you don’t know how to direct.’”
The Inspiration Behind Stefon
Arguably his most famous SNL character, Stefon, was co-written with John Mulaney, with Hader saying that the entire idea spawned from an email Mulaney received inviting him to the hottest new gay club called Push. Hader himself found inspiration in a barista at Joe’s Coffee who had a lot of mannerisms he ended up applying to Stefon.
Barry Has a Lot in Common With Another Old ‘SNL’ Character
As we’ve pointed out, Barry and Hader’s SNL character Anthony Peter Coleman have a couple of things in common: They’re both haunted by their military pasts, hide behind their theater alter-egos and are the kind of romantic partners you should be scared of. They both also crave the approval of their mentors, if you can call Seth MacFarlane that.
He Has a List of ‘200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See’
The top five on Hader’s recommended comedies list are 9 to 5, 1941, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Ace in the Hole and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Some underrated gems include Drag Me to Hell (he seems to be a huge Sam Raimi fan), Four Lions and The Player.
He Has Written and Done a Lot of Voices for ‘South Park’
Hader has done numerous voice acting gigs (think Toy Story 4, Bob’s Burgers and Inside Out), including voicing an impressive amount of South Park characters. He was initially part of the show’s writing team from 2008 to 2009, and since then, he’s done the voices for Alec Baldwin, Steve the customer service representative, as well as Ike Broflovski in the 2014 game South Park: The Stick of Truth. He also helped create the “Kanye Fish-Sticks” joke.
He Was Fired From His Theater Usher Job for Spoiling ‘Titanic’
Hader told Howard Stern that he got fired from working as a movie theater usher after spoiling the ending of Titanic in front of a group of sorority girls. He explained that they were being “assholes” to him as he was introducing the movie, so he stood there and told the entire theater the whole ending where Jack dies.
His Third Child Was a Product of a Deal Made During ‘Trainwreck’
According to Hader, he and his former wife Maggie Carey made a deal during the production of Trainwreck that they’d have sex after every shoot where he and Amy Schumer had to simulate a boink fest. He credits it with Carey becoming pregnant with their third child.
He Joined Second City to Have a Creative Outlet
During an interview with Danny McBride, Hader said that he was working in post-production when a friend told him about the sketch comedy troupe’s branch in Los Angeles. “I started taking classes there, not thinking that I would get anywhere,” Hader remembered. “I didn’t get a headshot. I wasn’t trying to be an actor. I just needed the creative outlet — you’re just going up every week and doing something.” Megan Mullally happened to see him during one of his shows and recommended him to Lorne Michaels at SNL.
He Pitched ‘Barry’ as ‘Unforgiven’ Meets ‘Waiting for Guffman’
This Is How He and Fred Armisen Came Up with ‘SNL’s ‘Californians’ Sketch
Hader explained that the “Californians” sketch came from a bit that he and Armisen would do while waiting for Lorne Michaels, who was always late for table reads. The bit would follow them just returning from L.A. and then doing the whole “navigating through L.A.” joke that would go on forever. Hader said they were doing it for years, leading to other cast members joining in until it was turned into an actual sketch.
Dan Aykroyd Gave Him Some Good Advice at ‘SNL’
Hader revealed that when he first started at SNL, Aykroyd sat him down and (correctly) told him how his career at the sketch comedy show would go.
“He said, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen: Your first couple years, you’re going to be on unsteady ground, you’re going to think you’re gonna be fired at any moment and the audience will not know you. It’s your job to get the audience to know you and like you. Then the audience will know you, you’ll go out to your mark and get a little applause break because they know you, then you can start doing weird things, and they’ll go with you. You’ll do that for a couple years and get to a place where you’re just clocking in. You’ll get to a place where you come in, do your impression, do your character, play a game show host, do whatever’s needed of you, do it really well… and then you clock out and go home. Once you know you’re just clocking in, though, it’s time to leave.’”