Because he’s standing there with a dummy who thinks it’s cool to make jokes about people dying in a natural disaster.
But, let’s back it up a bit.
I used to do a lot more celebrity interviews than I do now. Now it’s a once in a while thing, and usually they are over the phone or in a quiet office somewhere. Last July 2013 I went old school and made a return to the “press lines” and red carpet world during San Diego Comic-Con.
Among those I spoke to was Bill Hader. Nice chap, very funny, and promoting his then forthcoming picture “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2.”
What you get at these things are a few minutes to give a comedian like Hader a set-up for him to make a funny retort that’ll cut well. This interview was going fine, except for the fact that the room we were in (stashed in the back of an enormous Hilton hotel) was very loud.
So, we’re talking about the Foodimals in the “Cloudy” films, and how giant cheeseburger monsters are chasing children around. Hader and I are zipping back and forth about the threats posed by scientifically modified foods and I say “wow – looks like this movie is worse than Monsanto!”
That’s funny if you get it, admittedly baffling if you don’t. But it comes off as very poor taste if, due to the chaos of the very loud room, you hear the word “Monsanto” as “Monsoon.”
You see, just a few days earlier, there had been massive, deadly flooding in China.
The image you see above, which a certain friend of mine likes to put on Twitter (and who has a big Hawkeye Pierce-style retaliatory practical joke coming his way when he least expects it,) is Hader trying to understand why I would joke about something like this.
Hader did the right thing, by basically saying, “too soon,” and following it up with “that’s not funny, people died.”
I kinda panicked, worried that, I dunno, maybe some new crop of Monsanto-produced tomatoes killed a guy and I didn’t hear about it.
Anyway, the interview ended on a professional note (and this was all cut out of the finished video piece), Hader shook my hand and split, and then one of his handlers came over and asked “what the hell was that all about?”
He and I quickly figured out the misunderstanding (Hader was “down the line” with other interviewers) and the air was cleared in about five minutes.
But we still have this moment of pure (albeit misinterpreted) disgust aimed at me to preserve for all eternity. And now whenever you see me you can say “that’s not funny, people died.”