Wednesday, February 10, 2010
HAL SPARKS – JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF YOUR SOUL!
Lately I got a chance to interview Hal Sparks. He’s hilarious, creative, and I am pretty sure has one of the longest tongues in recorded history. With so much going on in his life, it was really an honor to get a chance to ask him a few questions, much less the large number that he took the time to answer. The best part is the fact that I got to squee like a blushing fan girl when he answered the questions. With that said, here’s my interview with Hal.
NH: So, most people recognize you from Talk Soup or the VH1 shows that you have been on (my personal favorites are the I Love... series, but you kicked major butt in Celebracadabra) but I personally loved you in Dude, Where's My Car. What do you think Zoltan would have to say about all this Mayan Calendar hoo-ha? (And yes, I *did* just say hoo-ha.)
HS: Well being that I’ve spent more time as Zoltan than any other person
in history I know him well enough to say that he’d say It’s scientific enough to think of it as the Mayan Y2K but nerdy enough to still be upset about Y2K to not bring it up – and personally, I share his view.
NH: You seem to have your hands in a lot of pots right now... Comedy, acting, voice acting (as Tak in the video game) AND leading the band Zero 1. Is there anything you CAN'T do?
HS: More won’t than can’t. Believe it or not, I am somewhat selective about how I use my energy and where. I’m a big believer in do everything in your life that brings you joy until it either stops bringing you joy or you find something else that brings you more joy. I think people are too focused in some ways in thinking about what they can’t do or shouldn’t do instead of what they really want. I would venture to say that most of the people that focus heavily on the volume of things I do would be better suited focusing on the things they stop themselves from doing, and asking themselves “Why?”
NH: When it comes to tongues, I hear that yours is pretty darned impressive. What is the strangest thing you have ever licked (Besides the obvious "nose gold")?
HS: I’d tell you but that would be fair to her – I mean, it – I mean – nevermind.
NH: You have a stand-up special coming up called Charmageddon (great name by the way), is this going to be a tour or just a special on cable?
HS: There has been a tour that lead up to the special. I tend to name my tours so that I can more easily define what material I’ve been working on, what I’ve done and when. Charmageddon comes from a social tool I use that gives me the ability to talk about the most difficult of subjects while using charm to get away with it. All the tour information, people can find at halsparks.com of course. (How do you like that plug?)
NH: Most people know I have a HUGE issue with people using the term "That's so gay", as an actor from the series Queer as Folk do you take a stance on the subject at all?
HS: Of course – unless you’re using it as a compliment, I suppose. I wouldn’t object to people going “Wow, donating a kidney to a friend. That’s so gay!” or “Doctors without borders. That’s so gay!” I guess it’s all about what you say right before you say it. All kidding aside, I do think it’s dumb that people use it as a derogatory phrase. It does interest me that teenagers and middle school kids are now spelling gay “g-e-i-y” in some cases to delineate the difference between the homosexual term “gay” and the stupid/weird/weak associations the term has gotten otherwise, so there is a difference.
NH: What is your biggest pet peeve? Mine, for example, is when people are walking really slowly in front of me when I am in a hurry.
HS: Ah so your pet peeve is with yourself. Cause you’re the one in the hurry, they’re just walking. Now I know something about you. I don’t really have pet peeves or minor annoyances. Either something enrages me or it can completely be ignored. As a matter of fact, most
of the time I encounter things that other people would consider peevy – I either write material based on them or just laugh to myself, because it’s absurd.
NH: Your band, Zero 1 has another album coming out called "The Sacred Nothing". When can we expect to see this in stores and when do I get my free, signed copy?!
HS: Do they still have stores that sell CDs? I wasn’t aware. In answer to your second question, whenever you come see me do a live show, either doing standup or music.
(As an aside; Umm… SWEEEEET!)
NH: You are an avid non-drinker (of alcohol), and you have said on Twitter that you have never touched the stuff. Is there some reason for this or do you just mainline instead? (Said with the obvious humor it intended.)
HS: There’s too many reasons to list. Mainly because it’s not based on any one element but on personal principle. The truth is at a very young age I saw what it seemed like was an experiment that everybody seemed to be conducted on themselves with no control to the experiment.
Normally when you test a drug on a lab rat you have one rat that isn’t taking it. It seemed like everyone I knew took it without ever seeing if their life would be better or different or the same, normal or abnormal, if they just didn’t. So I figured I’d just be the control. Then along the way, I had a lot of other reinforcements and reasons that came along. From the KISS song “Detroit Rock City” to the untimely death of Steve Clark from Def Leppard to horrible stories of people doing things while drunk they wouldn’t have done otherwise, and having lost some friends at a very young age to the effects of alcohol seems like plenty of reason to me. The odd thing is, more people ask me why I don’t drink without ever asking themselves why they do in the first place. Considering they’re making the decision to participate in an activity, logic would follow that they would have to explain why they do it instead of those who don’t having to explain to them.
NH: You not-so-recently cut off your hair and donated it. Any other worthy causes you might like to see get a boost? (My college fund could use paying for... just saying...)
HS: There’s a charity page going up at halsparks.com that includes a lot of the organizations I work with, not the least of which is the Lili Claire Foundation, Doctors without Borders, and Farm Sanctuary. If you think my schedule as an entertainer is busy, you should see the amount
of work that I would like to do with the charities in my life. It’s a whole career in and of itself.
NH: There's a little debate around your actual height and I would like to clear it all up. Some people are saying 5'5" while others are giving you a “generous” 5'8". How tall are you?!
HS: Since when is the national average generous? But for the record, I’m taller than 5’8” by a smidge. Oft times when I play a character who needs to be perceived as weak, or a follower or the like, I’m often cast against people who are significantly taller than I am which gives
the illusion that I am shorter than I am, which is very depressing for people who have friends that they think look like me. I meet that person, and they are 5’2” and the look on their face is priceless.
NH: What is the strangest request you have received from a fan?
HS: There is by no means any metric to judge the strangeness of the things I have been asked to do, be, or give to fans over the years. And if I came up with one, someone would top it on Twitter in 10 minutes. Obviously if you’re in the public eye at all, people are going to proposition you constantly to do all kinds of things. Some of which, quite frankly, are doable. Most of which, however, are insane. Call me crazy, but I find it amusing. And I appreciate the engagement
and creativity. As long as they don’t get too pushy.
NH: You are listed everywhere as single... I find this to be totally unacceptable! When shall we marry and what should be the theme? (Note the timing of that question following the previous one.)
HS: Clearly you haven’t seen my opinions on marriage. Personally I think that the minute you assume you’re going to get married, you discount the person you are in a relationship with and start interviewing them for a job. If marriage happens, it should never be a given or an expected outcome to any relationship. One of the things people miss when I crap on marriage in my act is that I actually take it more seriously than most people. I just don’t believe that it’s automatically going to happen to me, so that when I’m dating someone, I’m not just sizing them up whether they’ll be a good wife or mother, which people do all the time to each other. As for the theme?
Traditional Native American wedding.
NH: Thank you so very much, Hal. You are truly amazing!
Written with Love By Naomi Houser