Jamie G is usually our stand up comedy correspondent. But, with her off in Iraq, it fell to me to talk to Peaks Mill native Hal Sparks, the entertainment multi-tasker who is bringing his stand-up routine to Comedy Off Broadway this weekend.
I was expecting to enjoy talking to Hal. He writes about Kentucky a bunch on his website, so I knew he'd probably enjoy talking to a home-state reporter. And his career has been interesting enough -- Talk Soup host, star of Queer as Folk, comedian, frontman for a rock band -- that I had a bunch of questions I wanted to ask.
So yeah, it looked like fun. What I wasn't expecting, what I don't think anyone expects when talking to a star of Dude, Where's My Car, was to be inspired. That came through when I asked him how he cultivated such a wide range of talents and interests and became really good at them:
"A lot of people give up talents and other skills they have out of shame. They're afraid they aren't good at it, they're afraid of what other people will say, and they think if they had natural talent, they'd be able to do it right away. Well, almost nothing I've been able to do have I done right away. I just kept at it through the parts where people were making fun of me, and then all of a sudden, people say, 'Wow, you're naturally talented.' That's absurd.
"The nice thing about growing up in Kentucky was I spent a lot of time by myself in the woods, making a lot of mistakes, and nobody saw them. And I got injured so bad, so many times fooling around in the woods with my friends. And I would have to limp home with them laughing at me because I almost drowned or fell out of a tree, and I just kind of got over it.
"So when people laugh and point, which seems to be what everyone is afraid of these days, I don't care. I really don't care. So I keep getting better at stuff, and I know everybody else could too, if they just didn't give a crap what the naysayers say."
Dude, he's absolutely right. It's the kind of comment I want to share with my kids, it's even the kind of comment that makes me reflect, 'What have I sort of let people talk me out of doing or not even tried for no better reason than fear of what other people might say?"
Overall, the interview went well enough we published an extended transcript at LexGo. Give it a look. You may be surprised how thought-provoking Hal is.