David Koechner is a bit like the Detroit Pistons’ Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson in the late ’80s. He shows up and instantly things get more interesting. You’ve seen him in everything from The Office (as the awesomely inappropriate Todd Packer) to Thank You for Smoking (as the awesomely inappropriate firearm lobbyist Bobby Jay Bliss). But his most memorable character is Champ Kind, Anchorman’s cowboy hat-wearing, Ron Burgundy-loving, Whammy!-spewing sportscaster. With Anchorman 2 opening this week, we asked about the new flick, deleted scenes and the key to success in Hollywood. Or anywhere, really.
“Champ is a survivor. I don’t know what you could throw at him to put him down or damper his resolve… to be near Ron!”
Anchorman 2 is almost here. Finally. This must be exciting.
It really is. At first, it’s a job, but it’s not really a job. It’s just great fun. And then you wait and you’re anticipating. But the energy is certainly surging now in every aspect. We just got back from Australia. We’re going to Dublin, London and New York. There’s just so much going on, and there’s so much love for this film. It’s a joy to be a part of.
In this one, the gang heads to New York. How does Champ handle the move to the big city?
Fine. He’s a survivor. I don’t know what you could throw at Champ to put him down or damper his resolve… to be near Ron!
Speaking of that, I just saw a deleted scene from the first Anchorman, in which Champ expresses his love for Ron again and again. It’s painful to watch, yet hilarious.
Yeah. “I love you, Ron.” That was part of the original script, in which Veronica Corningstone gets kidnapped by this radical group called The Alarm Clock. But that subplot didn’t work, so it got excised from the original picture, and it lives on in this other movie called Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, which is not widely known nor distributed.
Were you bummed that scene didn’t make it?
Yes, really bummed out. Because I think people, when they see that, they’re a little bit like, “Oh my God, this thing goes deeper than I thought.” But, you know, you gotta serve the movie first.
Does “Whammy!” play as well in New York as it did in San Diego?
Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s an extended whammy scene. It’s a lot of fun. You’ll get your whammys out.
With the first one, did you have any idea it was going to become this enduring pop culture phenomenon?
That’s a great way to put it. Because everyone keeps calling it a cult film—and it’s not. Everyone that loves it feels like it’s a cult film, but you’ve nailed it better by saying it’s a pop culture phenomenon. I had no idea. I know that when we were working on it, we all felt that it was something very special and rare. But then, when the movie came out, it only—only—made 84 million dollars. As if that’s a low number. But the expectation is, if it’s not a hundred million dollars, then it’s not a hit. Which may be why it took so long to get the second one made.
New weapons! Because tridents are so 1975.
You have a big nine-city comedy tour starting in January. What can people expect?
It’s always a challenge to describe your own act. So I say, “Do you like church?” And then I follow up by saying, “It’s better than church.” Ha ha. I have found in traveling around doing stand-up, people expect me to do some lines from the movie. And I don’t want to disappoint the fans. So if the audience starts yelling, “Whammy!” then I know that’s my cue to do a few things from the movies that people came to see. But I do a lot of characters. I do traditional stand-up as well. It’s a mixed bag of stuff, but it’s all me.
You’ve got 125 credits on IMDB—and a wife and five kids. How do you find the time and the motivation to do all this stuff?
The motivation is the bank. Ha ha ha! Uh, no, I love to work. And I think people don’t quite realize, a lot of these projects don’t take an extraordinary amount of time. A lot of times you’ll be in a movie and it seems like you’re in the whole film, but maybe you shot for a week and a half. A sitcom you shoot in a week. So there’s all those different things that probably are less time-consuming than you might imagine. But I’ve been very fortunate that I consistently work.
I loved you on SNL. Was that an enjoyable experience?
Oh right on, man! Outstanding. Oh yeah, I had a blast. It gave me my start in larger media. I was already doing Second City and had been doing theater and comedy in Chicago for a number of years, but that was my first big break. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Your wife is pretty hot. Any tips for locking up a hot wife?
Be a good person… How about that for a backwards compliment to myself?
What’s your advice for someone who wants to be a comedic actor like you?
Stage time. That’s it. Read every day. Write every day. Get onstage every day.
Improv, sketch comedy…?
Whatever it takes. Whatever your desire is, go do it. Read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The other thing I would say is, prepare like Mayweather. You ever watch 24/7? Who outworks Mayweather? Who outworks Kobe? Who outworks Jordan? Why are they who they are? Bill Bradley used to stick around for how many hours after practice and take shots? You know, champions aren’t guys on the couch. That’s not to disparage guys on the couch. That might be their goal! But my advice for anybody wanting to do it is just, you gotta go do it. And do it as often as you can.