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Jonah Hill on Funny People

Published July 23, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
Funny People Funny People

Jonah Hill has one of the biggest laughs in Funny People. If not, it’s at least the most timely. When his character comes home after seeing the latest Harry Potter movie, he cracks a joke about the film that audiences will have seen only two weeks before.

Leslie Mann Talks Funny People

“We knew it would be coming out,” Hill said. “It was sort of an homage to the Spider-Man 3 reference in Knocked Up. We always want one joke at another big summer movie.”

Funny People casts Hill as a standup comedian, struggling still but more successful than his friend Ira (Seth Rogen). When Ira gets a job with famous movie star George Simmons, the mentorship propels Ira to the next level. In real life, Hill has the mentors.

“Judd [Apatow] and Sacha Baron Cohen, those are my two, and Seth and Evan [Goldberg],” Hill said. “Not in a mentor, like where I was like, ‘Man, I look up to these guys. I want to live my life like them.’ But Seth and Evan, when we made Superbad, were super-inclusive to every part of the process. They were like, ‘Hey, come look what we're doing. We're writing, do you want to come write with us?’ Just things like that that I had never been exposed to before definitely shaped what I wanted to do with my career. And then on Pineapple Express, which I had no involvement in, the same thing. They were like, ‘Come write with us’ or ‘Come watch the movie and give us your thoughts.’ Just things like that are very wonderful that they decided to let me do that.”

Funny People also shows how competitive friends can get for work. “Competitiveness is one of the biggest things that destroys anything. I can't tell you how much joy it legitimately brings me when one of my friends does well, even if it's something that I would be interested in doing as well. Seth and [Jason] Schwartzman and I have known each other for a long time, a really long time and Schwartzman and Seth were both successful way before I had ever had any success and I just was super-happy for them and know that if I worked hard, something good would come my way as well. If you want your friends to be destroyed, you probably won't succeeds. That's like dark and evil, talking about good things coming your way if you wish darkness upon everybody else.”

Hill’s character in Funny People ends up being more of an observation on other comedians than a reflection on himself. “I definitely saw a lot of my character in other people, specifically a couple people we knew before we were successful in any regard. An aspect of my character, which I thought was interesting and something that Seth and I would talk about, was how certain people we've met along the way have a joylessness to their comedy writing. For us, we laugh and have a good time while we're doing it, but to some people it's like solving a math equation and they're just joylessly. Some of the most joyless people I've met have been comedians.”

Funny People opens to theaters July 31st.

For the poster, trailers, stills and more movie info, go to the Funny People Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures

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