If you weren’t previously excited about T.J. Miller’s comedy show at The College tonight, you’re about to be. Interviewing a comedian felt similar to getting whiplash. T.J. was definitely a couple paces ahead of me throughout the duration of our phone call, consistently jerking me around and I was just trying to keep up. Check out this outrageous interview from an even more outrageous dude.
Courtney Eker: Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized, “Wait. I’m really funny.”?
T.J. Miller: Yeah, I mean, I remember it specifically. I was at a family dinner and I made some joke and everyone laughed and laughed and my father turned to me and said ‘T.J., you’ll never be anything but funny.” And you know, just implying, “You’ll never work anywhere and you’ll never have a real job,” and that was it. As soon as he said that, I just pushed my face into the mashed potatoes.
CE: I know you’ve been on Chelsea Lately a couple times, how do you think she would describe you?
T.J.: Well actually I’ve been on the show over 100 times and I think from that, how would she describe me? Well I’m actually just gonna describe her. Loyal, effective, good at what you do, and a real bitch when you wanna be.
CE: I know that you were recently engaged, and I was wondering how your fiance would describe you?
T.J.: Same way I would describe her. Loyal, effective at what you do, and uh… pretty good in bed.
T.J.: Thank you. I forget if we are talking about Chelsea or my fiancee, but either way, she’s down to get the friction on. By that I mean she’s good at lighting fires, without a match. She uses tinder and flint. You know you’re so much younger than me, but when I was growing up, the people were growing up generations before me used to light fires using tinder and flint, whereas, Tinder, now, is a way to ignite sex with strangers in a public bathroom.
CE: Say something funny.
T.J.: I’m off duty, but I am about to do a show, so I’m going to warm up. I’ll say something funny: It is ridiculous to me that anyone takes me seriously.
CE: Why’s that?
T.J.: What do you mean, “why is that?” It is what it sounds like. Darling you gotta understand, this is what I think was almost a perfect interview and then, I mean, explaining something funny is like dissecting a frog. You may learn something, but the frog dies in the process. That’s what comedians say about trying to dissect a joke.
CE: What character that you’ve played is most similar to yourself in real life?
T.J.: I think Erlich from Silicon Valley. You know, I just feel like it’s not a stretch for me to play an arrogant blowhard who’s totally unaware of his own abrasiveness and smokes weed all day but continues to lead the charge. He helps me to essentially represent the American Dream.
CE: So if you could pick one rap lyric to describe your life, what would it be?
T.J.: “If you take away the periods from Notorious B.I.G., it’s Notorious BIG. And that’s from Notorious B.I.G.’s early rap song “Take Away the Periods.”
CE: What’s your best Knock-Knock joke?
T.J.: Oh that’s a really good question, not a lot of people have asked me that. Knock Knock.
CE: Who’s there?
T.J.: I’m sorry what’d you say.
CE: Who’s there?
T.J.: Oh okay let me start from the beginning, knock knock.
CE: Who’s there?
CE: Bamb who?
T.J.: Bamboo was used to mercilessly whip and torture thousands of chinese prisoners during World War Two.
CE: (Laughing) Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s uh. That’s a great one.
T.J.: I know it’s also weird that that’s the only thing you’ve really laughed at, which makes me feel that you’re the kind of racist that I would buy a beer for.
CE: (Sarcastic) I’m so honored, thank you.
T.J.: Don’t be, I just told you you’re a racist.
CE: Note taken. When you were little, who did you aspire to be like when you grew up?
T.J.: I always wanted to be more like me. You know, I had sort of a concept of myself and I didn’t really know what that was and then I think I really realized that, “TJ, hey, you can become yourself but it’s going to take a lot of work, it’s gonna take a lot of moxy.” (You’re gonna have to figure out what the word moxy is.) And from then on out it was just really me going into dictionaries and encyclopedias and going on the interweb.
CE: Uh-huh. At what age was this?
T.J.: Oh god, I mean I must have been about 2 and a half years old.
CE: Oh wow, good for you, got an early start on that.
T.J.: It wasn’t great because I was a black woman who was a lesbian in the early nineties and that was really tough at that time. I know you weren’t alive, but if you were I would have lunged at you and tried to kill you.
CE: So you’ve made some big transformations then?
T.J.: You know, I call them transgressions because none of them have transformed into any sort of transition, that make sense?
CE: Yeah definitely, got it. What happens when people don’t laugh at your jokes?
T.J.: I think you can answer that better than me, I’ve told over 70…no, no, 63 jokes in this interview alone. And I think people mostly ask me to repeat myself and it’s difficult, a lot of people (you know, I’m mysterious) a lot of people sort of say “you know, does a fish need a bicycle?” And I always say, “Build a bridge and people will cross it.” You know what I mean?
CE: Sure. So I saw the most recent Transformers film. If you were any transformer, which one would you be?
T.J.: Nemesis (haven’t I been that the entire interview?) from Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction. That’s because I’m adversarial to everything that is the optimal, prime version of a hero.
CE: What kind of hair products do you use to maintain your voluminous mane?
T.J.: (Laughs.) I use something called “Lionel.”
CE: What’s that? Something I could buy at the drug store?
T.J.: No, that’s just made for me. It’s made from the blood of children.
CE: Does anybody still call you Todd?
CE: Do you have any big plans for the near future?
T.J.: I was hoping we could do this interview again but there’s no way to because I swore and I’ve joined a monastery in upper New Jersey (which is Canada) to never speak again starting tomorrow.
CE: Oh. Well should I contact my school and tell them you won’t be able to do the show then?
T.J.: Oh, no no no. It’ll just all be mimed.
CE: Looking forward to that. How do you portray a punch line through mime?
T.J.: I mime a lot of comedies from mime and I usually bring a canary with me and when that canary dies in the mime, that’s when everyone knows it’s really funny.
CE: Do you have any questions for me?
T.J.: Yeah, where you from?
CE: Albuquerque, New Mexico.
T.J.: Wow, the meth capital of New Mexico.
CE: That’s the one.
T.J.: And how long have you been interviewing people?
CE: Since I was in the 8th grade.
T.J.: Wow. And what is the strangest interview you’ve ever had?
CE: Hmmm. I’d have to think about that.
T.J.: I think it’s this one.
T.J. Miller will be be performing at 9 PM TONIGHT, at the Sottile Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students.