Catching Up With Jeff Garlin

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Jeff Garlin has quite the interesting career, which has involved everything from writing and directing in his own films, co-starring on Curb Your Enthusiasm, providing voices for some of Pixar’s greatest films and writing a book based on his weight-loss goals.

This year alone, Garlin has toured with Guster and played fathers in Safety Not Guaranteed and ParaNorman but Garlin has much more on the horizon. We talked to Garlin about his second tour this year, and exclusively talked about his upcoming project with Pixar, his part in the upcoming season of Arrested Development and announced the cast for his second film, Dealing With Idiots.

Paste : So a few years ago you stated that you might consider retiring from doing stand up, but now with the “Built for Comfort” tour, this is your second tour this year. What drew you to tour again and how will “Built for Comfort” differ from your Guster tour?
Jeff Garlin: This tour will be different because it’s me doing, with Guster I did like a half an hour, thirty-five minutes, here I’ll be doing over an hour, so that’s different. Second of all, I stopped doing the grind of comedy clubs, week in and week out. That’s what I was stopping and I have still stopped that for the most part. I’ll do comedy clubs maybe two or three times a year and it’s just to work out stuff, not like what I’m doing on the road. No, I’m doing a lot of theatres on this tour.

Paste : What type of topics do you plan on covering in the show? Do you have a theme?
Garlin: I don’t know yet. I don’t know until that night, I improvise, I’m writing material now, I’m really…I don’t know yet. I always surprise myself. All I know is that I’ll be funny.

Paste : So do you go out that night with any specific plan or do you go out and wing it?
Garlin: I used to go out with a very loose outline and then sort of played off that. Now, I notice that I got no bonus points when I would kill and the audience wouldn’t know that I improvised the last hour and ten minutes, you know? So I’m putting an act together for the first time in 30 years.

Paste : You’ve been working on your second film, Dealing With Idiots. What can you tell us about the film?
Garlin: The movie is about the parents of a team of children’s little league baseball. So, it’s all about the parents, not about the kids. It’s an improvised movie, it’s kind of like, it’s my own style, but if you were to compare it, I’d compare it to Curb Your Enthusiasm or a Christopher Guest movie.

Paste : Will you be starring in that as well as writing and directing it?
Garlin: Yeah, I star in it and I wrote and directed it. I finished shooting it, I’m just putting it through the post-production now and it’ll be out in April or so.

Paste : Have you announced who is in the cast yet?
Garlin: We haven’t announced anything, and I don’t want to leave anybody out, but it’s all great people before that you’ve seen on Curb, you know, Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Bob Odenkirk, J.B. Smoove, Gina Gershon, Kerri Kenney, Jami Gertz, Timothy Olyphant, Richard Kind, Steve Agee, Jim Sheridan, Nia Vardalos…I know I’m missing people. Someone is going to read this article and say “why didn’t you mention me?”

Paste : What did you learn from writing and directing your first film I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With that helped you with Dealing with Idiots?
Garlin: I learned how to shoot movies cheap and independently. And I learned to surround myself with good actors and good production people. I learned my lesson and did the same thing with this movie.

Paste : As far as Curb Your Enthusiasm, have you and Larry David discussed a ninth season?
Garlin: Yes we have, but nothing is for sure.

Paste : You’ve been tweeting hints about the new season of Arrested Development and hinting that you might be in the season. Have you been working with that team?
Garlin: I can’t give you any details, but I can tell you I have been filming. I don’t even know if I’ll make the final cut. I’ve got a few more days of filming. Am I filming? That’s the only true thing I can say. Now am I in it? I don’t know if I’ll end up being in it, they might cut everything with me. But I am filming some episodes.

Paste : You’ve also been one of the handful of actors that’s been chosen to do voices in many different Pixar films, do you have any future plans to work with them again?
Garlin: I just recorded some more, I believe they’re going to do a short film. I recorded as my character Buttercup the unicorn from Toy Story 3. I just recorded that like two weeks ago.

Paste : I’ll admit, your part in Wall-E makes me cry every time I see it.
Garlin: I cry too! I can’t believe I was ever involved that’s as wonderful as Wall-E. That movie just rips me apart every time, it’s magical, it really is.

Paste : Between the Pixar films and ParaNorman, what has drawn you lately to vocal acting, what are the pros and cons apart from regular acting for you?
Garlin: There are no cons, except if the movie is bad. But for me, that was a rare occurrence for me working outside of Pixar, but Laika makes good movies and I believe in the ParaNorman project, so I was interested. But I’ve been offered other movies that I said no to because they’re stupid.

Paste : Have there been any discussions of continuing the story of ParaNorman?
Garlin: Well if they are, they’ll be discussing it amongst themselves, and then call me and say “Can you come record?” and the answer would be yes.

Paste : You’ve been doing a conversations series at Largo and you’ve had some great guests on there [Michael Moore, Jeff Tweedy and Gary Shandling, amongst others] and you’ve been a favorite guest on Doug Loves Movies. Would you ever consider hosting your own podcast?
Garlin: Well, I’m figuring that out now. We’ve recorded every one of the interviews I’ve done. So I’m deciding whether it’s going to be a podcast or maybe something else, I’m figuring that out now.

Paste : Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
Garlin: Check out for tour dates. There’s only about ten or twelve dates there, but we’ll be adding more soon.

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