The Canadian-born comic had what was probably the funniest show in Denver radio last year on 103.5 The Fox. But you probably know him better for a slew of character roles in comedies ranging from There’s Something About Mary to the timeless classic, Freddy Got Fingered—and let’s not forget his side-splitting appearance as the urine-drinking motorcycle cop in Dumb and Dumber. We caught up with Harland en route to his gig at Comedy Works in Denver later this month and learned about his past as a forest ranger, his kanuck-ian upbringing and his belief in witchcraft on the Internet…
French Davis: Why do so many great comics come from Canada? Is it the water?
Harland Williams: Yes, it is the water. Most Canadian babies are water-boarded directly after birth and are tortured until they make the delivery room laugh. Once doctors feel a baby is sufficiently funny they are released and allowed to breastfeed.
FD: You had a short-lived show in the afternoons here on 103.5 The Fox. When that ended, the general sense among your fans here was that you were simply too hip for the room, so to speak. Was that the case? Or was it something else?
HW: I don’t think I was too hip for the room, I was just trying to bring something fresh and funny and different to the folks. We were actually doing quite well and climbing steadily in the ratings. What ended it was some new hotshot exec who came to town and didn’t know the radio landscape. He axed my show because it was the lowest rated next to the DJs that had already been in town for over 18 years. We went from 12th place to third place in a year, does that sound bad to you? And how many other DJs were out there plugging Denver and The Fox on Leno, Conan, Kimmel, Letterman and every where else I appeared? I was good PR for Denver and The Fox. The guys I worked for were top notch and amazing…the new guy who killed the Harland Highway…well, I’ll let you ask him where he got his degree.
FD: How does one make the leap from forest ranger to comic/actor?
HW: You find an old mattress, rip out the springs, attach them all to the bottom of your feet and just leap!
FD: Which skills from your ranger days could you bring into being a comic?
HW: Loon calls, baby bear noises and log rolling. All three are a deadly comedic trio. Wanna hear one of my funny baby bear noises? mmmmgggrraaawwwwwwwww.
FD: When you look around at the comedy landscape today, what’s right about it?
HW: Some of the rock formations are nice as are several clusters of red pines, but what really makes me laugh about the comedy landscape is that clown silhouetted on the horizon. He looks so funny juggling in the sunset.
FD: What’s wrong with it?
HW: What’s wrong with “it” is that it’s too short of a word, it needs an extra letter or something. From now on it should be spelled i-t-t-t. There, that’s much better.
FD: Tell me a bit about your current tour.
HW: I don’t really tour I just hit some of my favorite clubs and cities throughout the year. It’s pretty random. Denver is a place that once I found it I always wanted to come back.
FD: If you could rewrite the Wikipedia entry of any person, who would it be and what would you change it to?
HW: I would rewrite the entry of the guy who came up with the word Wikipedia and expose him as a Wiccan (a white witch) and let the world know he is trying to put an Internet/info spell on all us villagers, and we need to burn him at the stake and stone him with laptop
FD: You’re throwing a dinner party. Pick three famous people (living or dead) to invite. Who and why?
HW: Jim Morrison, Homer Simpson and Houdini. Jim could read poetry and Homer could laugh at all the deepness. While Jim got angry, Houdini could make the corn on the cob hover around the table. What a treat.
FD: What TV shows interest you today?
HW: LOST seems to be one of the only shows with any magic. Compelling characters and story lines, great acting and great directing. I admit things get a
little skewed at times, but the great production values and interesting scenarios make it worth the watch. I also like to watch Viagra commercials. They remind me of how much loving I’m going to be able to have when I hit the senior’s home in 50 years.
FD: What’s the worst movie you’ve seen in the last year or so? Why?
HW: There’s so many I can’t think straight. Note to filmmakers: Smarten up jackasses!
FD: What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the last year or so? Why?
HW: I liked the Bucket List. It helps remind people how short life is, and we should all try to do good and reach for our dreams while we can.
FD: What kind of stuff is on your iPod right now?
HW: Old Canadian rock tunes from the ’70s and ’80s.
FD: In 50 words or less: Write your own singles ad:
Harland Williams, May 16-17 at Comedy Works, Denver, 303-595-3637