Interview: H. Jon Benjamin

MAR 2003.
KP Issue XXV: Klaus from Germany, Billy from America


kp: Your first name ("H.") is the same as Jesus's middle name. What does the "H" stand for?
hjb: Happy birthday to you...Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Kittenpants, Happy Birthday!

kp: You know, when I tried to research you online I didn't find a lot. If you search "Jon Benjamin interview" on google, my site comes up fourth and I haven't even interviewed you yet.
hjb: Maybe try other search engines?

kp: Do you think that because your most popular work is in voiceover/animation it keeps you hidden from the public eye?
hjb: That and the fact I don't get hired to do much.

Voiceover work for cartoons and stuff really comes from this one company in Cambridge and they keep hiring me and they are great to work for because they're my friends and it's fun to do. So, in that sense, it's great, because the work is enjoyable. That's better than being on TV in some show with Jim Belushi or Ashton Kutcher, etc., who I most likely wouldn't hang out with.

Alright, maybe I'd hang with Jim Belushi or Ashton Kutcher but not that other "I" asshole I mentioned.

kp: Do you prefer voiceover work to other acting jobs or stand up?
hjb: Nah... I like 'em all. I like generating my own material and bringing my own ideas to life, so whatever medium facilitates that...I use the three dots a lot I realize...

kp: How did your role in WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER come about? 
hjb: I was asked to the voice of a can of vegetables by David Wain and Michael Showalter( the filmmakers) and the rest is movie history. And yes, I do get free canned vegetables forever now. How many times to I have to answer that fake question that I just asked myself?!

kp: I loved Ben Katz. LOVED. Is it wrong to have a crush on a cartoon character?
Don't make my cartoon character break your heart.

kp: Too late. What was the first record you ever bought?
Allman Brothers, Eat a Peach and Steve Miller Band, the one before the famous one that was just as bad as the famous ones.

kp: The first concert you ever attended?
 Steppenwolf in Worcester, MA. I love that the first concert I ever attended was a shitty reunion show of a band way past their time. But John Kay proved me wrong with the most harrowingly beautiful version of "The Pusher."

kp: Who's better: Supertramp or Superchunk?
Well, I'm really good friends with the guys in SuperTramp so I'm gonna say Superchunk. But, I have to also say that I really did like 'Breakfast in America'.

kp: When did you start doing Midnight Pajama Jam, and why?
Umm, about a year ago, my girlfriend came up with the idea of doing a late-night talk show for children, but more for TV, like a show on Nickelodeon or something that would run at like nine right before younger kids go to bed. So I wrote a show and put it up live, but it was structured just for kids and of course no kids came, just friends of mine, etc. So it was the most awkward 90 minute show ever. Maybe not ever, but you know.

Anyway, I made it more for my friends and now it is only slightly less awkward.

kp: Does it keep you inspired, or whatever, having a weekly show?

kp: Do you videotape all the shows and watch them Tuesday morning, like post-game analysis?
I'm still out celebrating on Tuesday morning.

kp: Who are comedy's funniest ladies?
Cathy, Betty and the mom from For Better or For Worse.

kp: How tall are you?
5'6"...I know, I'll try and do better, I promise.

kp: Do you have any strong opinions on pie?
Use tapioca instead of flour for the's a better binder...and then leave the rest up to Jesus and his chorus of angels.

kp: You just had a baby. Is that scary or exciting?
Hey, one more kid in this world ain't gonna kill us.

kp: Do you have any questions for kittenpants?
Is Bruce Willis finally getting his Oscar this year or what? Is he even nominated? Does he still do movies? What's with him and Demi? It's like on-again, off-again, on-again...hey, Bruce, Demi...pick one already!!!!

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